*I received a free copy 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: At the end of the rainbow, a man lies dead.
The apparently motiveless murder of a man outside the home of controversial equalities activist Claud Blackwell and his neurotic wife, Natalie, is shocking enough for a peaceful local community. When it’s followed by another apparently random killing immediately outside Claud’s office, DCI Jude Satterthwaite has his work cut out. Is Claud the killer, or the intended victim?
To add to Jude’s problems, the arrival of a hostile new boss causes complications at work, and when a threatening note arrives at the police headquarters, he has real cause to fear for the safety of his friends and colleagues…
A traditional British detective novel set in Cumbria.
Within minutes of starting Death at Rainbow Cottage, I knew I was in good hands and could just relax and enjoy the read.
This is a well-written and cleverly plotted British detective story, with a cast of characters that are interesting, but not too intrusive to the main plotline. The balance between the personal lives of the investigating team and their professional lives is spot on and, while I am not familiar with the real-life workings of a police station, I certainly recognise office life and feel Jo Allen perfectly captures the unique blend of bureaucracy, collegial camaraderie, mundane duties, constant meetings and sudden pressurised deadlines!
The story is the fourth in Allen’s DCI Satterthwaite series, but while there is some reference to previous relationships, this book stands alone perfectly well. Everything you need to know is woven into the storyline as the case progresses, with no sense of missing out on anything important. That said, I would still go back and read books 1-3, or better still, read them first. Do you need to? No. But if you enjoy a good police procedural murder mystery, you will definitely want to!
DCI Satterthwaite here investigates a series of local murders with no clear motive, but that seem to have ties to homophobia in some way. At the same time, he has to deal with new romance, old romance, a bitter brother, and a prickly new boss who is hot on diversity in the workplace in theory, but not so great when it comes to anti-bullying initiatives or treating her employees fairly in practice. Or does she have a more personal grudge against some of her new staff? Either way, there is a definite underlying theme of representation, equality and where to draw the line between personal and professional in the workplace.
While the murders do keep coming as the plot unfolds, I liked the lack of graphic violence and gore in the descriptions. There is no attempt to shock with the gratuitous and unnecessary, but instead a gentle, persistent focus on following the leads, asking the questions, collating the evidence and completing the jigsaw of clues to reveal the identity of the murderer.
Fans of P.D. James’ Adam Dagliesh, Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley, and similar classic detective fiction will enjoy Death at Rainbow Cottage as much as I did. And I enjoyed it so much that I have immediately added Death by Dark Waters, Death at Eden’s End and Death on Coffin Lane to my TBR tower too!
From a distance of a dozen yards, outside the line of blue and white tape that marked the inner ring of a crime scene, Detective Chief Inspector Jude Satterthwaite stood with his hands plunged deep in the pockets of his Barbour jacket and a customary frown of deep thought upon his face. Around him the police swung into the action that always accompanied the discovery of a body – uniformed officers steering away the odd interested onlooker whose curiosity impelled them to approach although they knew they shouldn’t’ white-suited forensic investigators photographing the scene from every angle before beginning a fingertip search; a van bearing the white tent that would protect the scene from both the weather and the prying eyes of the public – but Jude, having issued his instructions, remained still at the edge of its frantic activity.– Jo Allen, Death at Rainbow Cottage
Death at Rainbow Cottage is available on Amazon right now.
Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs on this tour (see the poster below for details) for more great content and reviews!