Death Comes to Marlow by Robert Thorogood
For those of us who live in the UK, and who don't go clubbing, Friday nights are often spent curled up watching Death in Paradise. A cosy, crime TV series set in the Caribbean, featuring beautiful clear waters, magical sunsets, and an eye-wateringly high crime rate. The crimes are often 'locked door' crimes, seemingly impossible to solve, But our intrepid DI Neville Parker, is a specialist in such matters and who solves the crime by appearing to have what can only be described as a seizure. The suspects are dutifully gathered, the means, motive and opportunity are revealed and the killer arrested. And all in an hour long episode.
A spin-off has just been launched called Beyond Paradise, set in a beautiful Cornish village with a host of quirky characters and one of the previous detectives from Death in Paradise. Now before you start wondering if you should remind me that this is a blog about books, I am sharing all of this because the author of this week's review is actually the creator of both series. This will give you an idea of the type of book this is. It is also perfect for those who love the Richard Osman Thursday Murder Club series. Let's dive in shall we?
It's been an enjoyable and murder-free time for Judith, Suzie and Becks - AKA the Marlow Murder Club - since the shocking events of last year. The most exciting thing on the horizon is the upcoming wedding of Marlow grandee, Sir Peter Bailey. Sir Peter is having a party at his grand mansion on the Thames the day before the wedding, and Judith and Co. are looking forward to a bit of free champagne . But during the soiree, the trio hear a crash from inside Sir Peter's house. When they rush to investigate, they find the groom-to-be crushed to death in his study!
The study was locked from the inside, so the police don't consider the death suspicious. But Judith disagrees. As far as she's concerned, Peter was murdered! And it's up to the Marlow Murder Club to find the killer before they strike again.
A quick note, this is the second book in the Marlow Murder Club series. You can read this as a standalone novel, but references are made to the previous novel, and I think it would be nice to read the series in order, but not necessary.
I'm very much enjoying this series, and this is a worthy follow up to The Marlow Murder Club where we first met Judith, Suzie and Becks. This group of unlikely friends are great reads. Judith is a slightly mysterious, crossword setter with a penchant for setting cryptic crosswords and is delighted when she stumbles across a crossword based mystery herself. Vicar's Wife Becks is very funny, and probably my favourite. She is married to Colin, a nice but slightly dull man, fiercely middle class who is able to spot the tread of a Hunter's Welly a mile off. And Suzie, a slightly mad dog-sitter and who drives around in a battered van.
These unlikely three stumble across a plot that could have come straight from an Agatha Christie novel. The extremely rich Sir Peter Bailey is found dead under a medical cabinet in his study the day before his wedding. The door and window are both locked from the inside. The suspects were all seen away from the study at the time of the crash. But why does Judith think there is more to this than meets the eye.
The suspects are glorious, a slightly unhinged, agressive son, an ex-wife who missed out in the divorce settlement, a daughter hiding a secret and an inconsolable Bride to Be. Along with wronged business partners, a lover who will do anything for their beau and odd clues, will the Marlow Murder Club solve the mystery?
This has been a very enjoyable, very British cosy crime read. It is perfect for fans of Death in Paradise, Richard Osman and/or Agatha Christie. I do hope Mr Thorogood writes another one very soon.