Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A Dangerous Goodbye (A Fen Churche Mystery #1)


A Dangerous Goodbye is the debut novel in a new post-WW2 series by Fliss Chester. Released 20th Aug 2020 by Bookouture, it's 278 pages and available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is a very well written atmospheric historical murder mystery set in the immediate aftermath of WW2 in England and France. Protagonist Fen Church (yes, like the station). The characterizations are clearly delineated - it's a large(ish) cast, and I had no trouble keeping them straight in my head. The setting and narrative arc are well rendered and believable. I did find the pacing a little slow in the first half of the book, but the action soon speeds up. Certainly since it's the first book in the series, a certain amount of latitude must be given to build up backstory and setting (which the author manages quite well). 

There are a number of plot threads which wind together into a rather thrilling denouement. One of the side elements is that both Fen and her missing fiance Arthur were keen cruciverbalists (crossword fans) and a number of plot twists turn on that fact; figuring out where Arthur's gone and what's happened are left up to Fen to decipher from coded hints left in his letters. I don't think there will be enough crossword clues for keen solvers, and there might be a bit too much crossword-ish bits for non-crosswords fans, but overall the author strikes a good balance. I hope we get more crossword elements in future books in the series. Time will tell. 

Well written and engaging. Recommended for fans of WW2 mysteries. Strong, intelligent, and brave female protagonist. Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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