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  • Clever & Charming

    Kitt Hartley is back in this fourth instalment of the series by Helen Cox. In Death Awaits in Durham whilst visiting ex-colleague Grace, librarian and PI trained Kitt learns that murder was possibly committed a year ago but is still, as yet, unsolved. Grace started studying at the Venerable Bede's Vocational Academy and four months into a mechanics course, Jodie Perkins disappeared. Jodie had called a live radio show and was about to make an announcement on air when listeners heard her scream. Jodie has never been seen since, nor was her body ever found... Death Awaits in Durham kept me on my toes throughout as I devoured each chapter. I adored being in the company of Kitt again who is smart and funny. Kitt's boyfriend, DI Mal Halloran is on the periphery of Kitt's investigation but he has to work in York so Kitt and a very keen Grace are on their own with Kitt putting to good use the newly acquired skills she's learned on the private investigator course she has recently completed. With a handy supply of colourful supporting characters, the mystery itself was sound and there was always something going on to keep my attention focused. The clues, twists and red herrings were cleverly placed and with nothing as it seemed, the story was super exciting. This has left me wanting to read the first two books of the series, as well as eagerly anticipating the next instalment. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Quercus via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

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  • An engaging cosy mystery with a bit of grit

    Death Awaits in Durham is an entertaining read, and somewhat grittier than your average "cosy" mystery. Librarian-sleuth Kitt Hartley is called from York to Durham by her former student, Grace Edwards, who has just commenced her own postgraduate study at Kitt's alma mater, the prestigious Venerable Bede Vocational Academy. The enthusiastic Grace has become aware of an unsolved missing persons case involving a student, which she thinks would be perfect for Kitt's attention, what with her newly-acquired P.I. qualification. Kitt and Grace start looking into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of scholarship student Jodie Perkins a year earlier, ruffling the feathers of the powers-that-be at Vulnerable Bede. They're assisted by Jodie's boyfriend and fellow student, Patrick Howard, who's been devastated by Jodie's sudden vanishing, just as she was about to expose an important secret on Durham's student radio station. On their way to uncovering the truth, Kitt and Grace take several risks in trailing and attempting to interrogate various suspects. Grace's none-too-subtle antics and teasing of the older and more staid Kitt bring many moments of levity to the narrative. I found Helen Cox's characters endearing and suitably sinister, as the case may be, but felt that some of the dialogue was a little unconvincing, reading more like written than spoken communication. However, once I'd gotten into the "vibe" of the book, I found it an engaging and undemanding read. Cox's use of setting - the university town of Durham, in the north-east of England - was excellent, and skilfully interwoven into the mystery plot. Death Awaits in Durham is an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to readers who like a little darkness in amongst the cosiness. My thanks to the author, Helen Cox, publisher Quercus Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.

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