*I received a free ARC of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: A dead Bridge player. A determined mother. A new case…
Beth Haldane is on the verge of having everything she’s ever wanted. Her son is starting secondary school, her personal life seems to have settled – even her pets are getting on. Then the phone rings.
It’s Beth’s high-maintenance mother, Wendy, with terrible news. Her bridge partner, Alfie Pole, has died suddenly. While Beth, and most of Dulwich, is convinced that Alfie has pegged out from exhaustion, thanks to playing with Wendy for years, Beth’s mother is certain that foul play is afoot. Before she knows it, Beth is plunged into her most complicated mystery yet, involving the Dulwich Bridge Club, allotment holders, the Dulwich Open Garden set and, of course, her long-suffering boyfriend, Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Harry York. The case stirs up old wounds which are much closer to home than Beth would like.
Can she come up trumps in time to stop the culprit striking again? Or does the murderer hold the winning hand this time?
Beth (and Ben, Harry, Katie and Colin) is back, and still doing her bit to make Dulwich safer, although she should really be doing her Wyatt project instead!
With things a bit more settled in her personal life, it looks like Beth might finally get a bit of an easier ride for a while: her relationship with Harry York is chugging along undemandingly; Ben has fulfilled her parental dreams by getting into Wyatts; and work continues to demand little of her time or attention, whilst still paying her.
Of course, such serenity cannot continue in a cosy mystery and this time it is Beth’s mother who breezes in to ruin Beth’s peace and throw a corpse among the cards (not literally!). Beth’s mother, who may be one of the most exasperating women in the world. How Beth manages to keep her cool I will never know… practice I guess! Wendy believes her bridge partner has been murdered and demands Beth solve the ‘case’, whilst being as obstructive and obstreperous as possible.
This is the sixth book in this series of Dulwich-based cosy mysteries, but the story does stand alone. I would recommend reading the whole series, not just for the backstory and character development, but because they are very enjoyable reads: quick, fun, murder mysteries with some interesting sidelines into parenting issues, work dilemmas and financial struggles.
I really enjoyed this instalment of Beth’s sleuthing adventures and the direction that the series is taking, despite knowing nothing at all about bridge (the setting for the murder this time). I did find myself slightly confused towards the end of the story as Beth had an epiphany about the identity of the murder but then managed to withhold it from the reader for a good few chapters (I thought I had missed a bit!), but this just added to the surprise of the reveal, which led to some very interesting revelations about Beth’s family history!
Anyone looking for a quick, humorous UK cosy mystery series will enjoy the London Murder Mysteries series, and this is another great addition to the Dulwich files.
For a moment, she imagined a Dulwich in which everyone was colour-coded according to their income or ambitions. Belinda MacKenzie would be in gold, with go-faster stripes; Katie in sunny yellow. What would she be in? Probably the same dingy grey she was wearing now, she thought, looking down at her uniform of sweater, jeans, and boots. Time to turn her thoughts back to crime.
– Alice Castle, The Body in Belair Park
The Body in Belair Park is available on Amazon right now!
Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the blog tour (see poster below) for more great reviews and content, and go check out my reviews of Death in Dulwich, The Girl in the Gallery, Calamity in Camberwell, Homicide in Herne Hill and Revenge on the Rye too!