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Monday 19 July 2021

‘Mystery at the Abbey Hotel’ by Clare Chase

Published by Bookouture,
12 April 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-80019-308-6 (PB)

Eve Mallow enjoys her job as an obituary writer and, since she left London, with its history of her marital breakdown and divorce, and moved to the delightful village of Saxford St. Peter, she is happy with her life and the friends she has made. Most of the people Eve writes about have died natural deaths but occasionally they are victims of foul play and Eve has discovered that she has an ability to investigate and discover the truth about murder. Unfortunately, this has gained her the enmity of Detective Inspector Palmer, an incompetent and mentally lazy officer who resents Eve’s success, especially when it has been reported by the media.

Eve is delighted to win a weekend at the luxurious Abbey Hotel. Although the hotel is situated quite near to Saxford St. Peter, she likes the idea of exploring the magnificent historical building and experiencing the first-class amenities, and above all, Eve wants to meet Debra Moran, the glamorous owner of the hotel. Debra has a reputation as a successful hotelier with a unique personal style of hospitality. When Eve meets Debra she finds her as delightful and charismatic as Eve had hoped, although Eve can see that she also has a mischievous side, which could upset people. Most of the other visitors to the Abbey Hotel are well-acquainted with Debra and Eve soon realises that many of the guests have secrets in their lives.

Eve likes Debra and is shocked and saddened when she is discovered dead in the woods near the hotel. Even after such a brief acquaintanceship, Eve is aware that several people have motives for killing Debra. This includes her bitter ex-husband and business rival; her estranged sister whose attempts at reconciliation have been rejected; and her ambitious young friend and protege who is the major beneficiary in Debra’s will. When DI Palmer arrives he is determined to exclude Eve from the investigation and tells her to go home to Saxford St. Peter. Eve knows that Palmer will opt for the most obvious suspect and discount all other evidence, so she manages to delay her departure for the rest of the weekend, and even when she has returned home, she is determined to continue investigating, alongside writing Debra’s obituary. However, Eve’s pursuit of this ruthless and increasingly desperate killer places her in imminent peril of becoming another victim.

Murder at the Abbey Hotel is the fifth novel in the series featuring Eve Mallow, but it works well as a stand-alone book. The plot is interesting, and the characterisation is good. Eve is an engaging protagonist, and she has a number of likeable friends in the village, some of whom assist Eve in her investigations. Murder at the Abbey Hotel is an enjoyable read, which I recommend.

Reviewer: Carol Westron

Clare Chase writes fast-paced romantic mysteries, using London and Cambridge as settings. Her influences include JD Robb, Janet Evanovich, Mary Stewart and Sue Grafton. Brought up in the Midlands, she went on to read English at London University, then worked in book and author promotion in venues as diverse as schools, pubs and prisons. More recently she’s exercised her creative writing muscles in the world of PR and worked for the University of Cambridge. Her current day job is at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Her writing is inspired by what makes people tick, and how strong emotions can occasionally turn everyday incidents into the stuff of crime novels. It would be impossible not to mix these topics with romance and relationships; they’re central to life and drive all forms of drama.

When she’s not reading or writing, Clare enjoys drawing, cooking and trips to the Lake District. Closer to home she loves wandering round the pubs, restaurants and galleries of Cambridge where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters.

Carol Westron is a successful author and a Creative Writing teacher.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  Her first book The Terminal Velocity of Cats was published in 2013. Since then, she has since written 5 further mysteries. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.
To read a review of Carol latest book This Game of Ghosts click on the title.

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