Death in Dulwich/The Girl in the Gallery (The London Murder Mysteries Books 1&2) @DDsDiary @rararesources #FridayReads @crookedcatbooks

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The London Murder Mysteries, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources, and today it’s two for the price of one….plus a giveaway!

Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane is forced to become Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple when she stumbles over a murder victim on her first day at work. 

To clear her name, Beth is plunged into a cozy mystery that’s a contemporary twist on Golden Age crime classics. But can she pull it off? She already has a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of SE21.

Join Beth in #1 of the London Murder Mystery series, as she discovers the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places.

It was Beth Haldane’s first day in a new job as assistant archivist at Wyatt’s, the highly regarded, impressive and most sought after school in the area. Beth is very grateful, even though it’s a temporary position, for the chance to allay some of her money worries. Since being widowed several years earlier, her son Ben is her number one priority and it’s been a struggle for her to make ends meet. But she’s determined and optimistic, despite some sleepless nights.

Beth’s day doesn’t exactly go according to plan when she’s left to her own devices in a portable office well away from the main building.  After several hours she decided to go and find some lunch and stumbles across the body of her new boss, the lascivious Dr Jenkins. Fearing she will be seen as the prime suspect in his murder, especially as she found the body, Beth decides to do a little digging of her own. She can’t resist puzzle solving even if her persistence is tested at times.

‘What? What are they going to think? That you took that job on purpose just to attack a complete stranger? No-one can really think that, particularly once they’ve met you,’ said Katie, looking her friend over affectionately.

Beth, from her mop of shiny dark hair and worried grey eyes, to her tatty ‘day off’ jeans and little pixie boots, was the last person anyone would suspect of murder most foul.

In true cosy mystery fashion DI Harry York, the lead investigator, is (mostly) more tolerant of Beth’s help in the investigations than would normally be acceptable and there are some amusing responses to the results of her amateur sleuthing. The investigation is credible with enough red herrings so the story moves along and keeps the reader guessing. 

Told mainly from Beth’s perspective, she is portrayed realistically with the dilemmas she faces because of her new job, juggling working with raising her son and finding herself in the midst of a murder enquiry. 

A fluently written and engaging cosy mystery with descriptive prose, likeable protagonists and a good selection of characters. I haven’t been to Dulwich but Alice Castle sold the village, it sounds lovely and a place I’d like to visit. 

Buy the book here  

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery. 

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation. 

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich. 

Despite her inauspicious start at Wyatt’s, Beth Haldane has been promoted. Her initial job had been a part time archive assistant, but her role has changed dramatically. Now she is curating old documents and developing a permanent exhibition about how the founder of Wyatt had been involved in the slave trade. She doesn’t have to be in work until later that morning, so she takes the opportunity to visit her favourite place – Wyatt’s Picture Gallery. 

For Beth, finally getting to use her history degree was a dream come true. She had pootled along since her son Ben was born, doing whatever freelance journalism work came up, as long as it fitted in with all the pick-ups and drop-offs that today’s maximum-security parenthood required.

It’s not long before Beth is unintentionally drawn into another horrifying case when she discovers a girl’s body draped over a sarcophagus, part of the mausoleum built in the heart of the Gallery. Enter DI Harry York who, despite his misgivings, needs the information Beth can provide due her involvement with the school and her natural inclination to ferret out information.  

I’m enjoying Alice Castle’s humorous and entertaining observations of life in Dulwich, the well to do residents of the area and their privileged offspring. Although Dulwich is part of London it has a village feel, most people know each other and gossip spreads like wildfire. There is a serious side to the stories, particularly in The Girl in the Gallery, when the consequences of, among other things, teenage issues, bullying and social media are explored realistically. The author does an excellent job of getting into the quite scary mindset of the students.

Beth and Harry are learning to trust each other more as their characters develop. There’s a definite spark and sense of will they/won’t they about the relationship. They make a great team. Alice Castle writes extremely well and the story flows smoothly with plenty of misleading clues. Looking forward to book three!

Buy the book here

I chose to read and review Death In Dulwich and The Girl In The Gallery based on ecopies supplied by Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel, Alice Castle and Crooked Cat Books.

Giveaway

To enter for a chance to win signed copies of Death In Dulwich and The Girl In The Gallery (UK only) please click the Rafflecopter link.

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks. 

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019.  Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website: https://www.alicecastleauthor.com You can also connect with Alice on Facebook and Twitter

6 thoughts on “Death in Dulwich/The Girl in the Gallery (The London Murder Mysteries Books 1&2) @DDsDiary @rararesources #FridayReads @crookedcatbooks

  1. Hi Cathy, thank you so much for having me today on your blog and for the lovely thoughtful reviews, I’m so pleased you enjoyed the books and hope you’ll like the next one, Calamity in Camberwell coming out on 13th August 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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