Thursday 25 January 2024

Death Writes by Andrea Carter #DeathWrites #InishowenMysteries @andysaibhcarter @LittleBrownUK @lucy_martin20 #BookReview


A very public death in front of an adoring crowd... or something more sinister?

Early summer in Glendara and the town's literary festival, Glenfest, is about to begin with Phyllis Kettle, the bookshop owner, at the helm. The big news is that Gavin Featherstone, the peninsula's bestselling but reclusive writer, has been persuaded to take part.

An eager crowd awaits his first public appearance in ten years. Unexpectedly charming, he is just about to read from his new memoir when he collapses and dies on stage.

Ben discovers that she holds Featherstone's will at the office, drafted by her predecessor. But just as it is confirmed that the author's death was murder, his assistant appears in Ben's office, brandishing a rival will which is very different from the one Ben has.

Ben and Molloy are thrown into an investigation where they are pitted against a killer who has nothing left to lose. And although working together, there are secrets Ben has to keep from Molloy... but is he keeping his own secrets from her?

Death Writes by Andrea Carter is published today; 25 January 2024 by Constable/Little Brown and is the  next in the Inishowen Mystery series, featuring Ben O'Keeffe. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

I really love this series. I haven't read them all (although they are on my bookshelf), and to be quite honest they are easily read as standalone stories. Ben O'Keeffe does feature in the books throughout but the author gives enough back story, without overloading with information to make each one totally enjoyable on its own. 

I have to own up and say that the Donegal setting is what really sold this series to me. My late Mum was from Donegal and we spent three weeks of every summer there, I still think of it as 'home' and am always attracted by Irish authors, and especially a Donegal setting. 

The story begins as solicitor Ben and her boyfriend police officer Molloy are on a mad dash journey to Dublin to check on Ben's parents. She had a phone call from their neighbour, expressing concern that there seemed to be a gang of people living in their house. Ben is really perturbed by what she discovers when she arrives, her parents are vulnerable. Their other daughter, Ben's sister was murdered and it seems that there are folk who are taking advantage of this. 

Ben manages to persuade her Mum and Dad to stay with her in Donegal, she tempts her Mum especially with the news that reclusive author Gavin Featherstone will be appearing at Glenfast, the local literary festival in Glendara.

Gavin Featherstone certainly makes an impression, his appearance will never be forgotten. Not only is it his first public appearance in years, but he then drops dead on stage in front of the audience. 

As the local solicitor, Ben discovers that she holds Featherstone's will. However, his assistant arrives with a new, more up to date will. When the death is declared a murder, Ben and Molley become totally immersed in trying to find out who killed Featherstone, and why.

Ben and Molley are fabulous characters. Their personal relationship is quite tender and loving, yet when they have their professional hats on, they can find themselves holding back, keeping secrets and actually working against each other. It's a really complex case, with Featherstone's estranged family members appearing, the inclusion of his mysterious assistant and some long-held secrets that are key to the mystery. 

The sense of place is wonderfully done, the reader can almost hear the waves breaking on the shore and smell the fine salty air. The small community feel of the town is exceptional, with everyone knowing each other and their business ..... or do they know everything?
Coupled with the drama played out in Ben's own family, her work pressures and the development of her relationship with Molloy, there's a lot going on. However it is all so well tied together, always engaging, often tense and sometimes surprising.  A great addition to a fabulous series. Highly recommended. 

Andrea Carter grew up in Ballyfin, Co. Laois. 

She graduated in Law from Trinity College, Dublin, qualified as a solicitor and moved to the Inishowen peninsula. 
Having practised law for twenty years, more recently as a barrister, she now writes full time. 
She was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards in 2019 and her first three books have been optioned for television. 
She lives in Dublin with her husband and dog

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