Meet Dulwich Village’s most daring resident, Beth Haldane. Mother to a sweet little boy, owner of a sulky cat… and solver of mysteries?
It’s a crisp spring day in Dulwich Village when Beth arrives at the intricate iron gates of Wyatt’s School for her new job as the historian’s assistant. But on a lunchtime stroll admiring the pristine grounds of this five-hundred-year-old institution, Beth is shocked to stumble over the body of her new boss Alan Jenkins: spectacles askew, his mustard-yellow tweed jacket covered in blood.
Gossip about outsider Beth spreads like wildfire. The parents in the playground are all whispering: did she bump him off to get her hands on his job?
Desperate to clear her name and protect her own little boy, Beth turns her research skills to hunt for the true killer. She soon discovers Alan rubbed his fellow teachers up the wrong way… could the handsome headmaster be involved? Why did Beth see a flash of the school receptionist’s bright pink jumper at the murder scene? And what is the groundskeeper hiding?
When Beth returns from her sleuthing to find her office in disarray and documents missing from the archives, it’s clear this prestigious school hides a deadly secret. But with parents and teachers panicking that the long-protected reputation of Wyatt’s is under threat, will Beth herself be in the murderer’s sights before the school bell rings?
Wander down the cobbled streets of Dulwich, where nothing is as perfect as it seems! Fans of Agatha Christie, The Thursday Murder Club and Faith Martin won’t be able to put down this deliciously gripping mystery.
This book was previously published as Death in Dulwich.
Excited by her new job as assistant archivist, Beth Haldane, widow and mother to son Jake, finds herself in a strange predicament. She has just stumbled over the body of her new boss Alan Jenkins, and it is quickly assumed that she is responsible for his murder, all in attempts to take his job over. Not only has Beth clearly not killed Alan, she doesn’t feel that she can leave it to the police to sort this out. In fact, she takes her research skills to a new level in order to investigate Alan’s life and to see who could’ve been that wanted him dead.
During the course of her investigation she finds that her office has been ransacked, and this helps her to clearly see that there is more going on than she expected. Something else becomes clear to Beth. The school itself must be hiding a secret, and her knowledge of this fact just might place her in the murderer’s crosshairs.
While being an archivist might be Beth’s latest job, it is clear that she is also rather adept when it comes to amateur sleuthing. The Murder Mystery is the engaging first book in the Beth Haldane Mystery series. Beth is a delightful character who isn’t afraid to ask questions, is skilled at finding the right answers and never forgets her responsibilities.
The Murder Museum:
Caring mother, school historian, and amateur sleuth Beth Haldane loves to while away an afternoon in the Museum of Art. But will she be next in the frame… for murder?
Beth Haldane is gazing at enchanting paintings of the rolling English countryside when her daydream is rudely interrupted: by the discovery of a teenage girl unconscious on a marble bench.
Shocked, Beth realises this is no snoozing schoolchild. Someone dastardly has carefully crossed the girls’ hands across her white dress, as if she’s in a painting herself. And the girl’s discarded red backpack found in a corner of the museum is totally empty. Is someone suspicious hiding evidence? And who would want to harm this innocent soul?
With poor Sophia in hospital, and the parents of Dulwich Village in uproar that their little darlings might be next, Beth pesters police for updates. And with her keen eye for detail and research skills, Beth is perfectly placed to do some sleuthing of her own… but why are Sophia’s gaggle of friends so close-lipped? Has some typical teenage drama taken a dark turn?
But her questions are ruffling feathers at every turn. With Sophia’s life hanging by a thread, can Beth find her attacker before it’s too late – and before the finger points at Beth herself?
A deliciously gripping cozy mystery that’s perfect for fans of fans of Agatha Christie, The Thursday Murder Club and Faith Martin.
This book was previously published as The Girl in the Gallery.
Any mother would be beside herself to discover a child in distress. That definitely proves to be the case when Beth Haldane is visiting a museum and discovers a teenage girl who appears to be sleeping on a marble bench. She is not just sleeping. In fact she is unconscious. More than that, she is in a flowing white dress, with her hands posed just so. The girl is swiftly sent to the hospital while continuing to remain in her unconscious state.
Beth, who is raising her son Jake alone after his father passed away years before, and other parents of Dulwich are concerned. After not getting the answers she expects from the police, Beth does what comes naturally to her. She uses her innate eye for detail and her natural skills of research to find the answers she needs before any other children fall prey to whatever happened to the teenage girl.
After learning that the girl’s name is Sophia, Beth approaches her friends. However, they have nothing to say, and this makes Beth even more curious. Meanwhile, as Sophia makes absolutely no improvement, Beth is in a race against time. She just might get too close, even to the point of making Sophia‘s attacker look in her direction.
As Beth gets closer to discovering what happens to Sophia, she starts to annoy the Detective Inspector, Harry York, thus beginning quite possibly a new relationship for Beth, which if readers continue this series, will discover. The Murder Museum is the quite enjoyable second book in the Beth Haldane Mystery series. I have already fallen in love with Beth after reading book one, The Murder Mystery, and this second installment follows Beth and her exploits in a natural and effortless manner.
The Murder Question:
When her best friend goes missing, amateur sleuth Beth Haldane is determined to do some digging of her own… but can she crack the mystery before it becomes a murder?
Beth Haldane is worried. First her dear friend and fellow single mother Jen suddenly gets married to a new man who seems too perfect to be true, then she moves out of leafy Dulwich Village – and now seems to have disappeared without a trace.
Beth knows Jen would never leave her little daughter to handle playground predicaments or her sneaky stepmother alone. Heading to Jen’s new home for answers, Beth’s knocks on the periwinkle-blue front door go unanswered. Police are convinced the lovebirds are on an extended honeymoon: but Beth suspects Jen’s new husband is up to no good… why does no-one in Dulwich know where he came from? Are his looks hiding a dark past?
With Jen’s unpleasant ex popping up at every turn, and gruff but handsome policeman DI Harry York insisting Beth should leave things to the professionals, it’s going to take all her sleuthing skills to track Jen down. But searching Jen’s overgrown garden for clues, Beth hears a twig snap… and next thing she knows, she’s woken up in a hospital bed.
Someone in normally peaceful Dulwich Village will do anything to stop her reaching the truth. Can Beth get to the bottom of this mystery before she’s the next to disappear?
A totally addictive murder mystery that’s perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, The Thursday Murder Club and Elly Griffiths.
This book was previously published as Calamity in Camberwell.
Of course Beth Haldane is happy that her friend Jen got married. But when she disappears and leaves her daughter pretty much in the care of Beth, quite naturally Beth becomes concerned. Putting on her hat as a more than efficient amateur sleuth by now, Beth begins to ask questions. Where is Jen and why would she leave her young daughter right after getting married?
Perhaps it’s just a honeymoon? At least that’s what the police think. But since not much was known about Jen‘s new husband, Beth suspects otherwise. Not only does Beth not know anything about Jen‘s new husband, especially considering they are best friends, no one else seems to know anything about him. Not even where he came from.
DI Harry York does not want Beth to interfere. However, Beth does not listen. Not only does best continue to ask a lot of questions, she keeps running into Jen‘s ex. And he is not the most likable person. More than that, she faces dead ends at every turn. Yet she hopes against hope that Jen will be found safe and sound.
As this Beth Haldane Mystery series continues to unfold, readers are granted a deeper look at who Beth is.This book discusses more about Beth’s marriage to James, and how he passed away, and why she is reluctant to act on her attraction to Harry. We also learn a bit more about Harry actually, and why he is so drawn to Beth, and what he does to win her over.
Concern for her son Jake it’s only one thing on her mind. Discovering that her office has been ransacked is yet another concern. During previous situations, Beth has stuck her nose in to some precarious issues, but this time she may have gone too far and actually ends up in the hospital. It is quite obvious that someone does not want Beth finding out what happened to Jen.
What an excellent installment in a series that has become quite endearing to me in a very short period of time. I love how Beth never shies away from her responsibilities as mother to Jake. She never forgets how important his education is and always puts him first despite her more than curious nature to solve crimes that sometimes involve murder. I also enjoy the fact that her new relationship with Harry isn’t it always easy, but something that is slow burning.
This thorough enjoyable read kept my attention from beginning to end and had me more than eager to jump right into book four, The Murder Plot.
The Murder Plot:
As snow covers perfect little Dulwich Village, amateur sleuth Beth Haldane is certain something’s amiss. There’s a suspicious solicitor, poorly pooches and… a plot to murder?
Beth Haldane is getting ready for a quiet Christmas with her son and their beloved grumpy cat when fellow single mother Nina begs her for help. Something fishy is going on with Mr Potter, the solicitor she works for… business is slow, with the accounts empty. So why does his wife have such an impressive collection of designer dresses?
Unable to resist a puzzle, Beth agrees to cover Nina’s job as a receptionist to get a closer look. But just as she finds a mysterious key hidden away in the office, Mrs Potter arrives in floods of tears with terrible news for her husband. Their precious pet, Lancelot the Great Dane, has been found dead in his basket. Mrs Potter suspects a poisoning…
Beth is shocked anyone would harm a beloved family pet, but the Potters are definitely hiding something. When an elderly widow comes to Mr Potter’s office begging for help with her will, Beth starts to suspect foul play… is Mr Potter taking advantage of this sweet old lady? And why is he curiously cool, when his whole family are distraught about Lancelot?
Beth is determined to find what the mysterious key unlocks, discover Mr Potter’s secrets and get answers about the local pet-killer before they set their sights on an owner next time. But is Beth getting closer and closer to her own sticky end?
A totally addictive cozy mystery perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, The Thursday Murder Club and T.E. Kinsey.
This book was previously published as Homicide in Herne Hill.
Beth Haldane has acquired a bit of a reputation as an amateur sleuth. Meeting another school mom named Nina at the gate, afford her and unusual opportunity. She takes on a job as receptionist, something that she does not feel skilled at. However she agrees because Nina is concerned that something is going on at the solicitor’s office where she works. She asked Beth to dig into matters.
Beth does her best to see what she can find out concerning this environment that she finds of thrust into. Beth has ruffled feathers many a time in her searching for answers no matter the situation. That definitely is the case here, even to the point of upsetting her new boss. Can Beth smooth things out enough in order to find the answers that are facing her now?
While Beth‘s reputation has gotten her involved this time, it has further affected her relationship with Harry. While it is no doubt that the two make a fine couple, his losing his patience with Beth becomes abundantly clear.
While Beth is a proud mother to Jake, she tries to be different from other school moms, referring to them as yummy mummies. Besides being a great mom, she has been developing strong friendships along the way, even if some of these friendships place her in the line of danger on occasion.
Beth is a delightful protagonist, one with a smooth combination of wit and wisdom. This book is set in the Christmas season, thus adding another layer to an already enjoyable book in what is proving to be a wonderful series.
The Murder Walk:
A pleasant stroll in the park, catch ups over coffee and... a body among the spring bulbs?
Single mum and school historian Beth Haldane has promised her new beau, Detective Harry York, that her sleuthing days are behind her. But when she stumbles over the body of local artist Mark Smeaton while ambling in the park, it’s clear a dangerous killer is on the loose in peaceful Dulwich Village. Shocked, Beth can’t resist delving into the mystery.
Snooping around the nearby cozy cafes, Beth listens carefully to gossip and soon learns Mark's graffiti-style art was famously controversial. There are plenty who might want him gone. Was it the suspiciously charming gallery owner? A disgruntled resident offended by Mark’s art? Or an old school chum with a dark secret about Mark’s true inspiration?
A dinner party hosted by a dear friend soon gives Beth the chance to grill all her suspects over wine and nibbles. But following a lead back to the scene of the crime, Beth’s search of a hollow tree throws up a mysterious envelope that stops her in her tracks… will her sleuthing get her in hot water before she can find the villain, and before there’s another fatal plot in the park?
An absolutely gripping mystery that fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and The Thursday Murder Club won’t be able to put down!
This book was previously published as Revenge on the Rye.
Beth Haldane’s best friend Katie has gotten a new puppy for her son. As Beth and Katie are out walking the dog, he gets away from them. Before they find the puppy, Beth immediately begins to be concerned that her son is going to be jealous that his friend now has a puppy. Will she herself have to get a dog for Jake? Well the opportunity to do so presents itself in the most unusual of ways.
As Beth and Katie search for the mischievous puppy, they make a gruesome discovery. The puppy, Teddy, is found standing next to an older dog. A dog who is apparently standing guard over its owner. Sadly, the owner is deceased, dead of numerous stab wounds. When the police arrive, of course Beth’s boyfriend DI Harry York is there and in charge. Naturally, he cannot believe that Beth has stumbled on yet another body. As she is about to leave the scene, the police ask her if she will take charge of the dog so that they can deal with the body. She reluctantly agrees. She notices a collar on the dog and discovers that his name is Colin. Well, apparently Beth has a dog after all.
More than having a dog on or hands, something that completely excites her son Jake, However, her cat Magpie is none too pleased with their new houseguest. Of course the police are in charge, but that won’t stop her from learning what happened to Colin's owner. As far as she is concerned, she has a new case on her hands. With her skills at research asking the right questions, and unending patience, she begins to learn more about the murder victim. Beth also spends a bit of time with her mother and brother, all while still focusing on Jake and his education. Nary a moment to rest for Beth.
For another enjoyable story in the delightful Beth Haldane Mystery, definitely stop and read this installment. You will not be disappointed.
The Murder Club:
A club of card enthusiasts gather in a magnificent mansion. But someone has been dealt a deadly hand…
In peaceful Dulwich Village, a group of elderly residents meet every week for Bridge Club. Green cloths are laid over square tables, the deck is carefully dealt, and every beady eye is on the lookout for cheating.
Amateur sleuth Beth Haldane has never understood the rules, but she’s drawn into the drama when her mother’s bridge partner Alfie Poole is found dead. He was last seen heading out for a breath of fresh air after a particularly tricky hand.
Beth knows poor Alfie was a sweet old man, but when she learns he was poisoned it’s clear someone wanted him gone… Suspecting skulduggery, Beth questions each member of the club. Did the retired doctor slip Alfie a sedative? Is the ex-English teacher quite as clumsy as she seems? Or was it Alfie’s daughter, wanting her inheritance early?
Organising a re-enactment of the day Alfie was killed, and making sure exactly the same cards are dealt, Beth keeps a close eye on who comes up trumps… but then her own mother Wendy starts choking on her cup of tea. Thankfully Wendy is rushed to hospital just in time: but the poisoner is still on the loose. If Beth plays her cards right, can she catch the killer – or is the deck stacked against her?
An utterly gripping murder mystery, perfect for fans of T.E. Kinsey, Agatha Christie and The Thursday Murder Club.
This book was previously published as The Body in Belair Park.
Beth Haldane’s mother Wendy is beside herself. Her friend and fellow bridge partner, Alfie Pole, has suddenly died. Wendy thinks that foul play is responsible, Beth thinks it was simple old age. However, to assuage her overly demanding mother, Beth agrees to check things out. Even if it means becoming immersed in the game of bridge at the Dulwich Bridge Club, as well ad with a group of allotment owners and other groups that all seem to be connected. Much to the consternation of her boyfriend Harry York, the local DI, Beth becomes involved.
This is not what Beth had in mind. In fact, she’s trying to celebrate the fact that her son Jake just got accepted to an exclusive secondary school. This makes her very happy. Things with Harry seem to be going well and hopefully she can throw herself into her job as an archivist. Of course, her mother has other ideas so Beth becomes a reluctant bridge player. Her actions do end up with her mother being in the hospital this time, really making best concerned about what is truly going on.
Beth can easily be compared to met some other females sleuths, and she definitely holds her own. This delightful book has more than its share of humor, intrigue and has a few twists and turns. Interesting from beginning to end, with enjoyable characters, each story always up with an interesting investigation and just enough danger to keep the readers attention.
The Murder Hour:
A ticking clock, a grand Edwardian home… and a countdown to murder?
Beth Haldane stands on a quiet street outside an ornate front door, glances down at her watch and taps her foot impatiently. Since her partner Detective Harry York moved into her little house in Dulwich Village, things are a bit too snug. Now Beth whiles away the hours waiting for house viewings and searching for the perfect new home for them and her little boy.
When a flustered young woman finally arrives and introduces herself as the estate agent, Beth is looking forward to taking in the exposed red bricks and wooden floorboards of this charming Edwardian property. But when she peeks into a built-in wardrobe, a lifeless body is a greeting she wasn’t expecting.
Panicked, the estate agent soon identifies the man as her boss Richard Pettit.With police on the way, Beth takes charge of scouting for clues. Why is the house echoingly empty of furniture except for a carefully folded pile of clothes in one room? Was the estate agent late because she was bumping off her boss? And what are the nosy neighbours hiding?
With rumours spreading all over Dulwich that Beth herself was the intended victim, when she is sent an anonymous message warning her off the case she knows she’s on the right track. But can she catch a killer before her own time runs out?
A deliciously addictive cozy mystery read that fans of The Thursday Murder Club, Agatha Christie and T.E. Kinsey will adore!
This book was previously published as The Slayings in Sydenham.
From amateur sleuth to supper sleuth, Beth Haldane is not as involved in murder as has become usual for her. In fact, the biggest drama at this point is in her life at present is of a different nature altogether. She has agreed to move in together with her boyfriend, DI Harry York. Having been a single mother to check for several years, this new change in circumstances definitely comes with growing pains.
Moving in together is difficult enough, buying a new home with Harry no doubt would be even more challenging. More than adept with change, Beth is up to the task. However, on one of her first endeavors in househunting, she in the estate agent discover a dead body. Can she distract herself from her new domestic concerns to discovering what happened to the murder victim? Willing to face the danger that will undoubtedly follow Beth, she plows onward.
From the first book in this series, The Murder Mystery, And for all of these other books that have followed, including this seventh book, The Murder Hour, Beth’s introspection has been part of each story. Finding out how she thinks, what she feels, and what drives her has been a part of each story. I love how this story shows how she actually feels about Harry moving in and the difficulty and finding a new home that they both will be happy in. Of course, she’s also concerned with her son Jake and how he will feel about the change in their family life. Then there is the fact that she’s a wonderful pet owner with Magpie the cat and her accidental acquisition of Colin the dog.
Although this is book seven in a very enjoyable series, I personally would love to see it continue. The characters are real, with real problems, even if some of the murder scenarios might seemed contrived for every day life. However, since this reader truly loves cozy mysteries, I can accept the coincidental murders that happen, especially if you have a character that is very easy to connect with, and one that happens to be very ingenious at what she does.
Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for these ARCs for review. These are my honest opinions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Alice is an avid reader of crime fiction, her favourite stories are cozy crimes with a strong sense of place. When she couldn’t find a series about her beloved south London, she decided to write her own – and single mum amateur sleuth Beth Haldane was born. Alice also writes twisty psychological thrillers for HQ Digital under the name A.M. Castle. The Perfect Widow was a top selling audiobook in 2019 and The Invitation hit the top 50 on Amazon UK in 2021. Alice lives with her two children and two cats and, if she isn’t writing or reading a whodunit, she’ll be watching one on telly.