Friday, December 13, 2019

The Slayings in Sydenham (London Murder Mysteries #7), by Alice Castle

Crooked Cat Books, December 2019

Beth Haldane is more or less happily ensconced in the archivist's office at the Wyatt school, where her son Ben is a student despite the appallingly high fees. Her handsome boyfriend, Detective Inspector Harry York, is in the process of moving in with her--the heavy-lifting part being the moving in of all his books. Harry seems to have a collection I'd have considered adequate when I was able to collect print books, although his is almost entirely murder mysteries.

Beth's home on Pickwick Road is lovely, but small, and of very interesting geometry that makes it hard to use even the space that is there--and Beth is a neat freak. Harry's entirely reasonable cartons of books look to her like a disaster area.

So, at Harry's urging, she's looking for a house they can buy together.

Too bad the estate agent doesn't show for her appointment to see the place in Sydenham, and when another agent from the same office is persuaded to come out, they find the first agent dead in the kitchen pantry.

Murdered estate agents aren't the only problem Beth is coping with. The latest Wyatt's bill arrives, and she doesn't really have the money for it. Her friend Janice is worried that her beloved husband, Dr. Grover, the head of Wyatt's, might be having an affair, and wants Beth to find out. Beth doesn't really want to move out of Dulwich, and was not happy to be looking at possible houses even before finding the dead estate agent. Things are getting a little tense with Harry, as she both objects to his cartons of books taking up so much space, and resists the obvious necessity to find a place that will comfortably hold her, Harry, her growing son Ben, and their pets, Colin the Labrador and Magpie the cat.

Beth is a good person, a kind person, an honest person, but not an especially flexible person. Also, she's reluctantly recognizing that she's a bit of a snob, and that's a major reason she doesn't want to move out of Dulwich Village.

Beth and Harry, and some of Beth's friends, as well as Harry's police partner, are progressing and developing, and this is an enjoyable, interesting book. It probably helps to have read earlier entries in the series, but that's true of most mystery series, as the characters develop across multiple books. It shouldn't be a major obstacle.


I received a free electronic galley from the publisher, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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