Cover Image: Murder on the Pier (A Flora Steele Mystery Book 2)

Murder on the Pier (A Flora Steele Mystery Book 2)

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Murder on the pier by Merryn Allingham.
A Flora steele mystery book 2.
Meet Flora Steele – bookshop owner, bicycle-rider, daydreamer and amateur detective! Sussex, 1956: When bookshop owner Flora Steele goes for a walk along the pier she isn’t expecting to spot a young woman’s body in the stormy waters below. And she’s shocked to discover the victim is someone she knows…
Convinced the death was not an accident, Flora persuades attractive local crime writer Jack Carrington to help her find out what really happened to poor Polly Dakers, a popular young woman with a complicated love life, who’d been at the heart of village life in Abbeymead. Jack is reluctant to get involved in another murder case at first but even he can’t deny that Polly’s fall seems fishy. An argument at a party, a missed hairdresser’s appointment and a red woollen bobble found on the wooden boards where Polly last stood provide a trail of clues…
As they grow closer to solving the puzzling mystery, the unlikely pair stumble upon several surprising secrets about those closest to Polly. A number of potential suspects begin to emerge. But who really disliked Polly enough to kill her? Was it Raymond, her jilted first love? Harry, her latest beau? Or Evelyn, Harry’s jealous estranged wife? As the investigation brings them closer to the truth, Flora is intent on unmasking the killer – but will her stealthy sleuthing lead her down a dangerous path?
A very good read with good characters.  I did like the story and plot.   I'm hoping that there is moretocome.  4*.
Was this review helpful?
To be honest, it was the cover of this book that caught my eye most of all, I don't live far from Southwold pier, and I was glad that the book wasn't set in Southwold. 

This is the first Book by Merryn Allingham that I have read, and I wasn't disappointed! What a real page-turner this book was, along with great characters and plenty happening to keep you guessing what would happen next.

Thank you to Netgalley for letting me read and review a copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
Flora Steele walking along the pier found a body in the cold water, it is young Polly. Police and family think that Polly's death was an accident, but Flora thinks otherwise and now she needs to look into this suspicious death.
Nice cozy mystery, thanks to Netgalley.
Was this review helpful?
Another wonderful read in the Flora Steele mystery series.  I didn't guess who the killer was as quickly as I did in the previous book so it made for addictive reading.  I can't wait to see where book three brings Flora and Jack.
Was this review helpful?
“Meet Flora Steele – bookshop owner, bicycle-rider, daydreamer and amateur detective!”


Whilst the technical definition of ‘Golden Age’ detective fiction, is predominantly recognised as the decades of the 1920s and 1930s, the scope of the genre can apparently also be extended to other periods and I personally think that “The Flora Steele Mysteries” whilst set in the mid 1950s, qualify for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that the village setting, with its fairly predictable mix of local characters and tradespeople, are very reminiscent of the format for the “Miss Marple” series, by best selling author Agatha Christie, despite the fact that our sleuthing duo of Jack and Flora, are considerably younger in years than the estimable Miss Marple.

The combination of bookshop owner Flora and crime writer Jack, sounds like an amateur detective partnership made in heaven, although at first glance they may not be an obvious fit, as Jack is as taciturn and considered in his approach to their unofficial investigations, as Flora is impulsive and garrulous, which often puts them somewhat at odds with each other. Having only recently solved the case of The Bookshop Murder though, it would appear that Jack and Flora are gradually coming to an understanding in their relationship which places them more on an even footing, although I suspect that Jack will always be worried about letting Flora out of his sight for too long when a new case is there to be worked, as her impetuous nature rather courts trouble and danger, which has a nasty habit of placing them both in life threatening peril, as Flora is prone to acting first and considering the consequences later.

Jack has an unofficial understanding with local police detective Alan Ridley, who is open to casting a professional eye over the more technical details behind the plots of Jack’s books, to ensure their authenticity and accuracy. However, this does nothing to endear Alan to Flora, as she considers him far too quick to try and close a case down with probable cause and with the minimum amount of inconvenience; rather than assuage any nagging suspicions of foul play, by digging around for actual cause and suspects. Somewhat reluctantly, Jack has to agree that Ridley may not always take the most thorough route to solving a crime, although he will always try to keep the officer appraised of any developments and impending sticky situations, so that he and his team can be on hand if Jack and Flora get out of their depth, as so often happens.

The couple has also come to rely more and more on the astute observation and forthright manner of Jack’s young protegee, twelve-year-old, Charlie Teague. Charlie more than has his wits about him when it comes to being in the right place at the right time to earn himself a few pennies and whilst he may be a little rough around the edges, he is big-hearted, honest and keen to please. Jack and Flora, to their utmost chagrin, have rather silenced Charlie on more than one occasion during the course of this investigation though, as his young mind, sharp as it is, is subjected to the sight of a dead body floating in the sea and a personal near death experience involving a sabotaged boat and a large expanse of fast-flowing water, when he is unable to swim. A bit of TLC and a good plateful of food, usually revives Charlie in an instant, however the couple are more than aware that his mother should be able to rely on them to take more care of her young son, when he is in their charge.

Whilst not strictly a crime of passion, this case has a complicated mix of emotions and motives and a rather large and sprawling list of suspects, which Flora and Jack are not particularly organised about eliminating and really don’t begin to narrow down too much until the very last minute, and then only when they are confronted by the real perpetrator, who wasn’t even on their list, but I have to say was on my own, although maybe not right up there at the top. To elaborate any further really would be to disclose ‘spoilers’ and give the game away, for any armchair detectives out there, so you really do need to follow in Jack and Flora’s footsteps and see where the journey leads you, or perhaps you too, will be one step ahead and egging them on towards the finish line. The only clue I’m willing to share – ‘Is blood really thicker than water?’

Murder On The Pier is my idea of a textbook story format. It has a beginning which hits the ground running and after just a few pages I knew that something bad was going to happen pretty soon. The storyline is well paced with the action almost non-stop and plenty of cleverly added twists and turns to keep me on my toes and guessing. The ending is pretty neatly tied up with no nasty loose ends left hanging, although there is a rumour that the action might be moving location in the coming episodes, unless that’s just another red herring. I also don’t like my protagonists to end up dead and thankfully Jack and Flora manage this final challenge, but only by the very skin of their teeth and after several soakings, much bruising and the physical drawing of blood. How much longer can their luck hold out before there is some serious damage done and one of them is badly, perhaps fatally hurt!

Whilst this traditional murder mystery series is fast becoming compellingly addictive and growing in depth, each episode works well as a stand alone story, with the backstory deftly woven into the narrative and dialogue without detracting from the detail of the current investigation, making for a fluid, multi-layered, well structured storyline, which is rich in atmosphere and beautifully textured. The fluent and assured writing is visually descriptive, adding a wonderful three dimensional sense of time and place, which came to life on the pages as I was reading, transporting me back in time, immersing me in the action and making me part of the village life. Author Merryn Allingham, did an excellent job of changing the pace of the action and lowering the tension, only to ramp it back up again at a moments notice, just as I started to get comfortable with my new surroundings. Perhaps my one tiny niggle would be that, whilst Brighton is a real and tangible location, the village of Abbeymead is fictional, which doesn’t sit so comfortably with my ‘nerdy’ wish to have real places so I can physically track the action.

Jack and Flora are growing in stature with each episode in this village saga, as their relationship is slowly nurtured and begins to flourish. They are however, both badly shaken up by this most recent of cases. Jack because he realises that much against his better judgement, his feelings for Flora are growing deeper by the day and he wants to protect her. He is concerned about the age difference between them and the fact that hitherto he has been quite reclusive, struggling to become part of the community, because of a past which he can’t shake off and which refuses to let him move on. He knows deep down that this is very much his own state of mind and is therefore even more confused and concerned when he realises that little by little, Flora is breaking down his self imposed wall of exile and he is being ever so subtly, forced out into the open gaze of a village which is more than willing to embrace him, if only he will unburden himself and allow them to.

Flora is genuinely rocked to her core and has had her confidence badly knocked by her recent ordeals, and she too recognises the strength of the connection which is growing between Jack and herself, although she is not quite ready to cede to his gentle ministrations, fiercely strives to maintain her independence and is confused by her feelings of jealousy, when an unwanted face from Jack’s past turns up out of the blue. Behind all her surface bravado and bubbly confidence, Flora is actually quite a fragile and vulnerable person, for whom moving to Abbeymead to live with her aunt, was an emotional salvation for the distressed child, with the bookshop affording her a real sense of belonging and purpose to her future.

Once Jack and Flora have had the closest thing they have ever had to a true heart to heart conversation, it remains to be seen if they can move on together, or will an impending shift in focus, tear them apart rather than bring them closer?

Merryn has created a multi-faceted, well drawn, developed and defined cast of supporting characters who, whether they are on the side of good or bad, are authentically realistic to the times and genuinely believable in the individual roles which have been created for them. She has then afforded them all a good strong voice, with which to tell their story and direct the course of the action, which is probably just as well, as in this rather insular small community, everyone has an opinion and a wish to be heard, but only once you can prove that you can carve a worthwhile place for yourself amongst their ranks. Not all of the characters are easy to connect with or relate to, although generally the individual dynamics and synergy between them, works quite well, so whilst they may be quite complex and emotional, sometimes unreliable and a little vulnerable; they are all compelling, addictive, vibrant and totally worth investing in.

Engaging, enjoyable, emotional, escapist entertainment! – What more can I ask from a book?
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book.  It is a good, old fashioned who done it with a great cast of characters.  It kept me guess to the end.
Was this review helpful?
Loved this this second entry in the Flora Steele Mystery series.  Well written, plenty of red herrings, likeable characters  in Flora and Jack, and water plays a big part in this story.  Flora just can't seem to help getting involved in the latest murder even at the risk of putting herself in danger.
Was this review helpful?
This is book two in the Flora Steele mysteries by Merryn Allingham and we rejoin the leading duo of Flora and Jack. Once again, they are in the midst of mystery before they realise it. A friend seemingly dies by suicide but Flora is unconvinced. As she begins digging, she befalls an “accident” and Jack is concerned she is putting herself at unnecessary risk.

Whilst I didn’t find the mystery especially tricky to work out, I enjoyed the village life and the time with familiar characters. If you enjoy a cosy, historical mystery, this is a series to read! I am looking forward to the next one! It’s a four out of five on the enJOYment scale.
Was this review helpful?
Merryn Allingham’s Murder on the Pier is a delightful 1950s cosy mystery I thoroughly enjoyed.

When bookshop owner Flora Steele went for a walk along the pier, she never imagined that she would spot a young woman’s body in the stormy waters below – or that the victim would be somebody known to her. Flora is convinced that this death was no accident and she is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery – even if it means persuading local crime writer Jack Carrington to help her uncover the truth about Polly Dakers’ death.

Polly was well known in the Sussex village of Abbeymead. Her notorious love life gave the gossips in the small town plenty of fodder to speculate over, but who could possibly want to kill her? As Flora and Jack begin to piece together all the clues, they are more convinced than ever that Polly wasn’t the victim of a tragic accident. When they start drawing up a list of suspects, it becomes clear that there were plenty of people in Abbeymead who wanted to see the back of Polly. Could her jilted former lover Raymond have been driven to murder? Or maybe her current beau Harry? Or Harry’s jealous first wife, Evelyn who wanted her husband back?

Flora and Jack will do whatever it takes to find Polly’s killer – even if it means putting themselves in jeopardy…

Merryn Allingham’s Murder on the Pier is a captivating cosy mystery full of period charm, red herrings, twists and turns and a sprinkling of romance that will keep readers gleefully turning the pages. Flora and Jack are a terrific double act and readers will be charmed and intrigued by them as they embark on another dangerous quest to catch a murderer.

A deftly plotted, highly intriguing and pacy cosy mystery that I did not want to put down, Merryn Allingham’s Murder on the Pier will have readers eagerly anticipating their next trip back to Abbeymead.
Was this review helpful?
This is the second in the Flora Steele series of novels, which features the aforementioned and crime writer Jack Carrington set in the 1950s in the South Downs.

Time has moved slightly on, since we last saw Flora. Determined to keep the bookshop going and concentrating more on than that than murders it seems that in Abbeymead, peace has resumed.

On a day trip to Brighton, Flora does not expect to find a body floating under the pier and even more she doesn’t expect it to be someone she knows; Polly Dakers.

Polly had her whole life in front of her and was determined to be a model and be noticed, but probably not in this way. Clearly looking like an accident to others, Flora is convinced there is some foul play at work and she is determined to find the truth.

However, with possible suspects and motives stacking up, Flora’s determination finds herself hanging on to life on more than one occasion. All the while at her side is crime writer Jack. A strong friendship developed in the first novel is progressing nicely in this one and it seems that both Flora and Jack are destined to be more than friends. That is if Flora stops getting both of them into scrapes!

This was a delightful sojourn to a cosy crime, and I was thoroughly delighted to have worked out the murderer which is a rare occurrence for me. Always great to have seen the clues and see how it all fits together in the end.

Great historical cosy crime to take you away from everything, even if someone people meet a grizzly end, there seems to be just a gentleness of Flora, Jack and the other residents of Abbeymead. I look forward to going back there.
Was this review helpful?
Oh this was such a wonderful read. Beautifully written, transporting. An engaging, wonderful mystery that I absolutely loved. Can't wait for the next!
Was this review helpful?
Jack and Flora are back in their second novel.

When they find their friend, Polly, floating in the sea everyone thinks that it's suicide or accidental, but it's Flora who suspects murder, and with the help of crime writer Jack they are out to prove it. 

Sadly, I was disappointed in this novel. Although it was a very easy read, similar to Agatha Rasin in the M.C. Beaton novels, this novel left nothing to the imagination. It was predictable, that I found myself knowing what was going to happen next; and because of this, it was boring. 

It's a shame because I really enjoyed the first novel and genuinely looked forward to the next installment. Maybe I will give the author the benefit of the doubt with this second novel and although I may pick up the third when it comes out, I won't be going out of my way to read it,
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyable cosy crime set in the 1950s. Second in the series.

The story developed well, though it struggled at times to hold my interest

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my review.
Was this review helpful?
This is the second novel in the Fiona Steele Series.

If you liked the first one then you will like this one.

The characters are likable and and fun to Read about.

The Mystery aspect of the novel had me gripped and I flew through the pages to the end to see what happened.

It was a quick murder mystery that I highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Back in the summer, I loved the first Flora Steele Mystery, The Bookshop Murder and so it was a real treat to visit the small Sussex village of Abbeymead again for Murder on the Pier. It's not necessary to have read the first book as each novel is a standalone mystery but with a number of returning characters, I'd say that it's definitely more rewarding to follow the series as it progresses - particularly to follow the relationship between Flora and Jack Carrington.
There's a tantalising will-they-won't-they aspect to their friendship; both have been hurt in the past and are determined to stay just friends - but the chemistry between them is undeniable and I'm sure I won't be the only reader totally invested in their relationship. Matters of the heart may have a darker role to play in proceedings too, after a fun day at the coast turns to tragedy when twelve-year-old Charlie Teague spots the body of a young woman under Brighton pier. Flora immediately realises the victim comes from Abbeymead too but while the police are quick to assume that aspiring model, Polly Dakers tragically slipped on ice or took her own life, Flora is convinced that Polly's tangled personal life means that somebody else was involved and that she was actually murdered. 
Flora is a delightful character; her enthusiasm for sleuthing is so infectious even though it's clear that she doesn't always consider the full implications of her discoveries until it's too late. Before long she has a list of suspects and has persuaded Jack to help her again. I'm convinced that Merryn Allingham wants us all to fall for Jack and his ever-changing grey eyes! He's a writer who has been rather reclusive until meeting Flora but is now a kind, attentive friend who worries desperately for her safety but always agrees to help her despite his sense of foreboding. It's 1955 and Flora wants to be a strong, independent woman at a time when married women who had played such an active role in the war effort were expected to go back into the kitchen so her reluctance to appear weak and to need a man's protection isn't unreasonable. 
However, it becomes increasingly evident that somebody wants to stop their investigation and although this may be a cosy mystery, it actually becomes quite tense as the pair try to figure out which person on their list of suspects is the guilty one. I must admit to figuring out who the murderer was before they did but that didn't bother me; the clues are all there and I enjoyed waiting to see if my suspicions were proved correct and how Flora and Jack would find out whodunnit. 
The warm-hearted humour and excellent characterisation throughout the novel are particular highlights ensuring that I have become completely invested in the lives of the Abbeymead villagers. Readers will inevitably keep their fingers crossed for Flora and Jack to admit their feelings for one another but they'll also hope Kate finds happiness again, that Ted will be okay and that Charlie Teague will continue to be so irrepressibly enthusiastic about life. 
I loved The Bookshop Mystery but I think I enjoyed Murder on the Pier even more - it's just so perfectly, comfortingly nostalgic but with a wry sense of humour which prevents it from feeling dated and with an intriguing mystery to solve, I was engrossed from start to finish and look forward to the next Flora Steele book with eager anticipation. Highly recommended!
Was this review helpful?
BLOG TOUR REVIEW 

Review for 'Murder On The Pier' by Merryn Allingham. 

Read and reviewed via NetGalley for Merryn Allingham, Bookouture publishers and Bookouture anonymous 

Publication date 10th November 2021.

This is the second book I have read by this author. It is also the second book in the 'Flora Steele Mystery' series. I have previously read 'The Bookshop Murder' which is the first book in the series and which I highly recommend, although this can be read as a standalone. 


I was originally drawn to this book by its beautiful eye catching cover and its intriguing synopsis and title. The synopsis stated that this book is 'Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Faith Martin and Joy Ellis!.' I am a huge fan of all three of those authors so am looking forward to seeing if this lives up to this statement. I am also a huge fan of Merryn and if this is half as good as 'The Bookshop Murder' it is sure to be a page turning read. I must admit I was also biased due to the publisher being Bookouture. I have yet to read a book published by Bookouture  that I haven't enjoyed. Hopefully this won't be the first... Watch this space! (Written before I started reading the book).

This novel consists of 33 chapters. The chapters are short to medium in length so possible to read 'just one more chapter' before bed...OK, I know yeah right, but still just in case!

This book is based in Gloucester and Brighton, England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿, UK 🇬🇧. I always enjoy when books are set in the UK as I'm from Wales and have sometimes visited areas mentioned in the book. This makes it easier to picture where the scenes are set at times. I have in fact visited and holidayed in Gloucester on many occasions including this year so am looking forward to possibly recognising name places. 

This book is written in third person perspective and the main protagonists are Flora Steele ad Jack Carrington. The benefits of third person perspective with multiple protagonists are that it let's you see the bigger picture of what's going on and you get to know more characters more, what they are thinking and what they are doing. It feels like you get to see the whole picture and not miss out in anything.

 This book was very well written and I do believe some research went into it as everything linked correctly in with the era it was set in which was 1955. It is a real bug bear for me when I read a historical novel and the author hasn't done their research and gets basic information mixed up so well done Merryn!! It was very well written and I found the synopsis and the cover fitted the storyline perfectly, The descriptions were great and it really felt as if I was in the story. 

Well I must say this is yet another explosive book in an absolutely addictive series!!! The storyline was very interesting and quite fast paced. I absolutely loved the fact that the main characters (Flora) owns a Bookshop and Jack is an author.   There is just something about a book where there is a lot of emphasis on books for me and this book was packed with them!! I really enjoyed that it was set in the past and the storyline really suited that. It really is a nice cozy mystery that will keep you guessing throughout. At no point did I suspect who was doing what or why so another huge well done there Merryn!!! I have read many a mystery and find that I am working out the killer/perp quicker every time and there's nothing worse than working out who did what when your need even half way through a book. I loved that this book is based in Gloucester and Brighton as the atmospheres suit the book perfectly. Not only is this quite a suspense and action filled mystery but there was just the right amount of quirkiness, laughter and attitude to give it a nice mix!!! A fun, addictive, unputdownable cozy crime mystery. 

Although this is the second book in the series I had absolutely no problems reading it without the others. Any details or events that have previously happened are mentioned in just the right amount of detail to let a new reader know what has happened and yet not too much to bore a previous reader.
 

I am really invested in the characters and really enjoyed meeting Flora and Jack again both with their fantastic and quirky personality!!! In fact all of the characters had their own individual personalities which worked really well with each other. I am definitely looking forward to meeting Flora and Jack again and some more of the villagers. The community was really close knit which is realistic in small communities and I enjoyed getting to know them. 

Congratulations Merryn on yet an absolutely fantastic book in an absolutely epic series!! I am really looking forward to see what Flora and Jack get up to next!!! Here's to your next success 🥂 

Overall an addictive perfect mix of mystery, crime,  suspense and quirkiness which kept me turning the pages late at night!! An explosive start to a new series!!! 

Genres covered in this novel include Suspense, Mystery, Thriller, Murder Mystery and Crime Fiction amongst others. 

 
I would recommend this book to the fans of the above as well as fans of Helena Dixon, Agatha Christie, Dee MacDonald, Fliss Chester and anyone looking for a historic cosy mystery!! 


270 pages.

This book is just £1.99 to purchase on kindle via Amazon or free on kindle unlimited which I think is an absolute bargain for this book!!! 

Rated 5 /5 (I LOVED it ) on Goodreads, Instagram, Amazon UK and Amazon US and on over 30 Facebook pages plus my blog on Facebook. 

Feel free to add me on Goodreads or follow me on my website or Facebook for more reviews 

#MurderOnThePier #Bookouture  #MerrynAllingham #NetGalley #BookReview #BlogTour #BooksOnTour
@MerrynAllingham @Bookouture @Bookworm1986 @bookworm86 

https://kcmw86.wixsite.com/bookworm86

https://m.facebook.com/Bookworm1986/?ref=bookmarks
  
https://m.facebook.com/Bookwork86/?__tn__=%2As-R
Was this review helpful?
Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.   Enjoyed this book and wish I had read the first one in the Flora Steele series.   Great storyline, great characters.   Well worth a read.
Was this review helpful?
Flora Steele owns a bookshop called "All’s Well" that she inherited from her Aunt Violet. All's Well is located in Abbeymead, a picturesque, quiet English village in Sussex. On a trip to Brighton with Jack Carrington, a crime writer, they are walking along the pier after seeing a show when youngster Charlie Teague demands their attention. A body is floating in the sea below them.

Set in the 1950s, this intriguing mystery had me guessing until the end. Flora and Jack make a great team and I'm keen to see where Merryn Allingham will go with their relationship. The secondary characters were good in their respective roles many of whom had things they were hiding. I really enjoyed spending time with Flora and Jack and I hope to be with them soon in book three. If you love a historical cozy mystery, I recommend giving this series a shot.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for a review copy of this book.

Murder at the Pier is the second in the Flora Steele series of cosy mysteries by Merryn Allingham set in 1950s England, the first of which I’d read and reviewed a few months ago.  Twenty-five-year-old Flora Steele lives in the small village of Abbeymead in Sussex, where she runs a bookshop, the All’s Well which she inherited from her aunt who’d brought her up. In the first book, The Bookshop Murder, the body of a young man was found in her bookshop by reclusive mystery writer, Jack Carrington who lives in the village, and had ventured out of his house on that occasion to pick up his order. The police dismissed it as a natural death but Flora was unconvinced and teamed up with a reluctant Jack to solve the case.

In Murder in the Pier, we pick up a little while after the events of the first book when Jack and Flora decide to take Charlie (the young boy from the village who does Jack’s errands and helps in his garden) out for a treat for it was he who had helped save Flora in the previous mystery. They have a reasonably fun day out in Brighton, though they must settle for a Harlequin show instead of the pantomime they had originally planned. When they are out walking on the pier, poor young Charlie makes a grisly discovery—the body of a young woman floating in the waters below. And this isn’t an unknown woman, but Polly Dakers from their own village who used to work in the manor-house-turned-hotel, The Priory, and had left to make her career as a model. The police in the form of detective Inspector Alan Ridley decides this was an accident, may be suicide (the medical evidence does not indicate otherwise), and is happy to leave things at that but once again, Flora doesn’t agree. Polly was a young woman with dreams and plans, thus unlikely to have jumped, and on the last occasion Flora saw her at the village, she had been afraid of someone she saw. 

Jack is as usual reluctant to become involved but Flora manages to drag him in all the same. Soon it emerges that there were many who may have wanted Polly dead—Frank Foster a menacing club owner from London who seemed to scare her though he claimed to be in love with her; Raymond Parsons who was her cousin Sylvia’s boyfriend but had been seeing rowing with her; her current beau/’sponsor’ Harry, or even Harry’s estranged wife, Evelyn who may have reached her limits bearing his indiscretions. Flora and Jack talk to Polly’s family and trail the suspects trying to figure out what actually did happen, and as always, there are attempts on their lives which suggest that they are on the right track.

Meanwhile we also follow developments in the village where The Priory had shut down after the events of the first book because of which some of Flora’s friends lost their jobs; the lives of other characters including Kate Mitchell who runs the Nook, a small café in the village and also Flora and Jack’s relationship which is under a bit of threat when his former love Helen appears unexpectedly in the village.

This was an enjoyable entry in the series which I ended up liking a little bit more than the first book. While the mystery in this book is complete in itself, because of the fact that we were introduced to and given the background of some of the characters including the victim Polly Dakers in the first book, I felt perhaps reading in order would make a little more sense.

The mystery in this book I liked better than the one in the first book, and while I did manage to guess whodunit someway in (confirmed by something that happens as well), I still enjoyed following the investigation to see how it tuns out. Even though the mystery was a fairly straightforward one, there were secrets aplenty which we learn as we go along and which made it interesting to read.

In this one the police once again wash their hands off the investigation attributing Polly’s death to an accident (or suicide), but don’t look into it much further. In the first book, this same attitude seemed hard to digest but here I somehow managed to look past it—perhaps because I had gotten used to it (as a device to enable Flora to investigate) but also may be since here, there weren’t additional suspicious circumstances which were there in the first (at least on the face of things).

Besides the mystery, I also enjoyed following the stories of the characters in the village, Flora’s friendship with Kate, and Alice who was cook at The Priory, and of course, Flora and Jack’s relationship. The characters seem almost like old friends now so it was fun seeing how things were going with them.

I am certainly looking forward to picking up the next one in the series, all the more so because Jack and Flora plan to travel to Cornwall where Jack’s next mystery book is to be set!

3.75 stars rounded off to 4.
Was this review helpful?
It still feels like this could be a great series. as Flora and Jack. make for an interesting leading couple.

This time there was just too much I found implausible and the behaviour, and at times, a little reckless, putting people in harms way unnecessarily. I worked out who the murderer was early on, the motivation behind the killing took a little longer.  

I'm looking forward to seeing if the series gets back on track in the next book, with this unlikely duo.

My thanks to #Netgalley, Bookouture and the author for my honest opinion in exchange for my Advance Reader Copy
Was this review helpful?