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Monday 29 July 2019

‘The Colours of Murder’ by Ali Carter

Published by Point Blank,
6 June 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-78607-560-4 (PB)

The Honourable Archibald Cooke Wellingham of Fontaburn Hall, Norfolk sends out invitations to ten guests to attend a weekend of cricket and dinner at the Hall. Susie Mahl, one of the invited guests is glad to have an excuse for a break from drawing six of trainer Adrian McCann's racehorses nearby and packs her bag with enthusiasm.
She is the last to arrive and when the cricket finishes, she is introduced to all the other guests. The drinks flow and everyone relaxes.

Dinner is served out on the terrace and as the evening proceeds Susie detects a slight change in the previously convivial atmosphere. She rather fancies herself as an amateur sleuth and decides to try and find out what has caused it. At one o'clock in the morning Susie makes for bed leaving some of the guests still drinking. She lays there for a while trying to put her finger on the reason for the frosty change in the air but decides to sleep on it.

At around 4 o'clock the burglar alarm goes off. Everyone is ushered downstairs but suddenly there is a scream and on rushing to the bedroom where it came from, they find one of the guests’ dead.

The police are called, and a Detective Chief Inspector Reynolds arrives and interviews everyone in the billiard room. They are all then allowed to go.

At first it is thought to be a natural death, but Susie has her suspicions and talks it over with her doctor boyfriend Toby. Together they wonder if the death was caused by poison as the person died from kidney failure. Could it have been the ceps gathered locally, that had been served as a starter at dinner? But then how come no one else was affected?

The police have just about wrapped the case up when Susie discovers something to make them change their minds. Is she right? Is there more to the death than first seems apparent? Or is she getting rather carried away with her interest in playing the amateur detective?

I really enjoyed this book with its charming description of how “the other half live”. The characters come alive and are very entertaining. I know it’s a story of an unexplained death, but it remains a “gentle” and sometimes amusing book. I loved it.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Ali Carter was born in Scotland in 1983. She read art history at St Andrews, followed by an eclectic career before settling in for the long run as a fine artist. She specializes in oil paintings from life with an emphasis on colour. Writing, walking and cooking all accompany her painting. In 2016 Ali was commissioned to write a trilogy of murder mystery novels for Point Blank, the crime imprint of independent publisher Oneworld. The first, A Brush with Death (2018), and the second of these, The Colours of Murder, featuring amateur sleuth Susie Mahl, is just out. Ali lives in East Sussex with her husband Sam.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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