Monday, February 13, 2023

The Murder Mystery - A Beth Haldane Mystery #1

The Murder Mystery is the first Beth Haldane cozy by Alice Castle. Originally published in 2017, this reformat and re-release from 22nd Aug 2022 is 236 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently available to borrow and read for free. The other books in the seriesare also currently available on KU. 

This is a competently written and engaging amateur sleuth mystery featuring an archivist who takes to sleuthing to prove that she didn't murder her new boss in order to take over his job. Much of the characterizations are somewhat trope-y and superficial, and to be honest the plotting is fairly linear, but it's nevertheless engaging and quite readable. I liked the setting, a tony school outside London, and the author does a good job with the settings and descriptions. 

There were some iffy scientific tests performed as a casual part of the investigation which are costly and would almost *never* be resorted to in real life and which are integral to the plot. The dialogue is a bit rough and uneven in places but overall, it's an entertaining and readable cozy mystery. There are 8 books extant in the series currently (and all are available as part of the kindle unlimited library service), so it would make a good choice for a binge read for fans of light cozies. 

Three and a half stars. Worth a look for fans of J.R. Ellis, Faith Martin, and Merryn Allingham. 

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

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