Monday, July 16, 2018

Death in Dulwich (The London Murder Mysteries #1), by Alice Castle

Crooked Cat Books, September 2017

Beth Haldane, single mom getting by on freelance work, has landed the job of assistant archivist at swank local school Wyatt's. With her training mostly in journalism, she's not sure she's really up to it, but she was honest in the application process, and they've hired her. In addition to stabilizing their financial situation, she hopes it will eventually mean her son, Ben, will have a better chance at getting into this excellent school when the time comes.

She's hoping for a really good first day of work.

Instead, her new boss proves to be as creepy as she had hoped he wasn't really, and, in a mixed blessing, escorts her to the archivist shed and leaves her to go, he says, to a meeting. He doesn't return. At lunchtime, she heads out to meet the school's admin, Janice, for lunch, and stumbles over her boss's dead body. There's a knife, and a lot of blood, and a handkerchief over his face.

It's a really awful first day of work.

We get introduced to the town of Dulwich, the major figures at Wyatt's, and Beth and her friends. It's an upscale town, and Beth's family has a long history there, but her own grip on the proper socioeconomic standing has been a bit tenuous since her husband, James, died. She's a little to practical, not quite focused enough on squeezing every possible educational advantage into her son, who is fairly bright, but a reluctant reader who needs some help.

This is the first of a series, and while the mystery here is important and compelling, especially when the burglaries make Beth feel more directly threatened, I think the main point here is to introduce the regulars.

Including, of course, the handsome Inspector York.

Oh, hadn't I mentioned him before?

It's an enjoyable story, and seems like a solid start to the series. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher.