Book Review and Blog Tour: Murder at an English Pub by Alice Castle

Book: Murder at an English Pub
Author: Alice Castle
Pub Day: July 3, 2024 
Buy Link: Amazon

Book Description:

When retired doctor Sarah Vane moves to Merstairs, she has no idea that the quaint seaside town isn’t quite as friendly it seems, and something sinister is bubbling under the picturesque surface…

Recently widowed and looking for a fresh start away from city life, Sarah Vane moves into a lovely little cottage by the sea. The rustic charm is everything she hoped it would be, but her new home doesn’t quite have enough space for her things. Her old friend Daphne offers to store Sarah’s boxes in her messy beach hut, but while clearing it out, they are shocked to find a heavy trunk… containing a dead body.

They immediately recognise the poor man as pub landlord Gus Trubshaw. Sarah concludes that he was suffocated, but who could have wanted jolly Gus dead? Unimpressed by the police’s lack of interest, Sarah realises she will have to solve the case herself.

Soon, Sarah discovers that not everyone loved Gus as much as she’d thought. Could the killer be scoutmaster Bill, who was recently banned from the pub? Or perhaps it was antique store owner, Charles, who owned the beach hut before Daphne? Or was it brewery director Mr. Grimes, who was livid with Gus for squeezing him on the purchase price of his delicious ale?

Just when the clues are starting to fall into place, the prime suspect is found strangled on the beach. And when Sarah discovers a deadly secret that links the two murders, she’s certain that a dangerous killer is roaming the streets of Merstairs. With the town in a panic, time is ticking for Sarah. Will she solve the mystery before it’s last orders for another victim?

Set off for the breezy English seaside and join Sarah on her adventures in quirky Merstairs, where nothing is quite as it seems! Fans of Agatha Christie, Betty Rowlands and Katie Gaylewill be instantly hooked by this deliciously gripping cozy mystery.

After her husband Peter passes away, Sarah Vane, now retired from her medical practice, moves to the seaside town of Merstairs with her dog, Hamish. Daphne, her friend since school days, lives there, and Sarah is looking forward to making a fresh start. But she soon wonders if Merstairs is the quiet little town she expected when a body is found stuffed in a trunk in a beach hut that Daphne only recently bought. The police don’t seem to care much about how pub owner Gus Trubshaw might have actually died, so Sarah puts her observational skills to work trying to sort matters out herself. Every time Sarah thinks she’s close to pinning someone down as the prime suspect, new information comes out that throws it all into question and she’s back to square one.

I found Sarah to be a very likable character, pretty even-keeled in contrast to her friend Daphne. Daphne honestly kind of made my head hurt. She’s a lot, in dress, mannerisms, everything. I suppose that’s what makes her such an interesting foil for Sarah and proves that opposites do attract! Hamish steals the show on a couple of occasions. I’m a sucker for a story with a good dog in it, and Hamish is the bestest of good boys.

Castle gives us some pretty good twists and turns with the mystery, and while I suspected who the killer might be, I wasn’t completely sure. As any good English village should, Merstairs hosts a colorful cast of characters, some with more reason to wish Gus harm than others. As their stories are revealed, Sarah puts the pieces together (and shares her information with Daphne’s daughter, who seems to be the only member of the Merstairs police force who cares about solving the crime). Does she figure it out before the killer does her in as well? This is the first in a series – of course she does!

This is a good start to a new cozy series, and I’m looking forward to reading more of Sarah’s adventures in Merstairs!

About the author:

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her latest cozy mystery, set in fictional seaside town Merstairs, stars retired GP Sarah Vane. It will be published in July by Bookouture, who also publish Alice’s nine-book Beth Haldane Mysteries series set in south east London. Alice also writes psychological thrillers for HQDigital as A.M. Castle.

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One Response to Book Review and Blog Tour: Murder at an English Pub by Alice Castle

  1. Cindy Davis says:

    Great review! Glad you enjoyed it.

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