A new day dawns in Sackwater, not that this sleepy backwater is taking much notice…
Inspector Betty Church – one of the few female officers on the force – has arrived from London to fill a vacancy at Sackwater police station. But Betty isn’t new here. This is the place she grew up. The place she thought she’d left behind for good.
Time ticks slowly in Sackwater, and crime is of a decidedly lighter shade. Having solved the case of the missing buttons, Betty’s called to the train station to investigate a missing bench. But though there’s no bench, there is a body. A smartly dressed man, murdered in broad daylight, with two distinctive puncture wounds in his throat.
While the locals gossip about the Suffolk Vampire, Betty Church readies herself to hunt a dangerous killer.
Cosy Mystery is a favourite genre, and this story fits neatly into it. By definition, these stories are quirky full of eccentric characters, a smart detective, often disguised as a bumbling fool and numerous gruesome, but not graphically described murders, or similarly heinous crimes.
To enjoy a cosy mystery the reader needs to connect with the detective and enjoy the cast of characters and setting. I instantly connected with ‘Betty Church’, and empathised with her, the discrimination she suffers is disturbing but historically correct. I enjoyed how she always came out on top despite working almost entirely with misogynous males. The cast of characters are undoubtedly eccentric, but they are too much. Their strangeness is returned to again and again until it becomes wearing and detracts from the sharpness of the detective’s character and the story’s pacing.
The plot is over the top but well-written and full of action and vivid description, unfortunately, it is hampered by the quirks of the supporting characters that make the story drag in parts.
So on balance, this one isn’t for me. With a different set of supporting characters, I would give this series another chance.
I received a copy of this book via Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.