Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon has moved from the small city of Norwich to the town of Kings Lynn on the north Norfolk coast, but finds herself in the tiny village of Brandale Staithe – with 40 year-round residents – when a woman’s body and a distraught collie dog are found on the coastal path. Despite being her first major case in her new patch, and her first since a promotion to DS, she finds herself the de facto lead in the murder investigation.
In a village of 39 (live) residents, there can’t be too many suspects, but a combination of the dislike most people have for the victim, her plans to sell the local campsite and various personality clashes, Kate seems to end up with a rather large pool of possibilities. As the story unfolds the list fluctuates.. but never seems to dwindle to a manageable number, much to the local CID’s frustration.
Kate is a wonderful character, strong, independent, thoughtful, funny, and compassionate but flawed, she will win your heart in many ways. She reminded me of some of the great female detectives, from Kate Delafield and Carol Ashton to Armand Gamache.
Kate’s colleagues are an amusing bunch who will no doubt get developed as the series unfolds. Most of the villagers take their place as a backdrop to the investigation, but Sammy stands out, a 9 year old tomboy who is “one of those kids who could get dirty just looking out of the window” and watching her grow up will be entertaining.
The whodunit is interesting, with unexpected twists and turns. It develops into a plot that might seem unlikely, but comes across as totally plausible and well thought out.
As always Ms Bramhall’s writing flows, her setting in the coastal village is perfect and the local colour adds a level of depth and veracity to the storyline. She balances plot and character, narrative and description, internal monologue with action and intrigue to make an extremely enjoyable read.
Looking forward to seeing this series develop, the romance unfold, the characters grow, and see what dastardly crimes Ms Bramhall’s active imagination comes up with next.
(publisher review copy received)
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