I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for The Body in Belair Park, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
About the Book
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 down – even her pets are getting on. But 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 there is foul play 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 Haldane’s dream of her son Ben attending Wyatt’s, the prestigious Dulwich secondary school, had come true. It had been her reason for staying in the expensive area after she had been widowed and now, here she was battling the crush of parents in the last minute rush to buy new shoes for their offspring. Nevertheless, her life seems to be working out nicely. She and DI Harry York have settled into a relationship and now her goal for Ben had been realised she supposed she should concentrate on her role as archivist, detailing her plan for the biography of Sir Thomas Wyatt, the founder of the school. But before Beth could even get her thoughts in order another mystery presents itself via a distraught phone call from her mother.
‘…And then I found the body,’ Wendy wailed in her ear. Wait, what? Had her mother really said that?
‘The body? Whose body? Don’t tell me someone’s …’
‘Yes, Beth. As I’ve been saying. It’s Alfie. He’s – dead.’
Alfie Pole had been Beth’s mother’s Bridge partner for years and she’s convinced his death was not through natural causes. Against her better judgement Beth finds herself investigating what she believes is probably a death from natural causes to placate her mother, while partnering her mother at the Bridge club. It was an eye opener. Who knew there was such stringent rules and rivalry in a genteel Bridge club. Beth is also distracted about Ben not being very communicative about his new school, friends and homework, and worries about how he’s coping. Then things become more personal for Beth and although Harry tells Beth to stay out of it and let him do the investigating, she can’t help herself.
Another fun cosy mystery with a definite satirical slant to the prose and humorous observations of Dulwich life and residents. A little slow to start, with the explanations of Bridge rules, but the pace picked up fairly quickly. Although Dulwich is an area of London, the village/small community feel comes across extremely well with all the accompanying tensions, eccentricities and conflicts. Beth is a very relatable character, her life is full on with single parenthood, her work at Wyatt’s, looking after a newly acquired rescue dog and the mysteries that she’s unintentionally drawn into. She hardly has time to draw a breath and may possibly be about to acquire something else besides a dog….we’ll have to wait and see!
I chose to read and review The Body in Belair Park based on a digital copy of the book kindly supplied by the author via Rachel’s Random Resources.
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