Publication Date: September 12, 2023
Claire Barclay and her band of tourists are full of enthusiasm for her trip to Sussex and Kent, the beautiful southeastern part of England. A tragic death of a young man the son of the guest house manager sends Claire into comforting mode and makes it more difficult for her provide a bright and care-free holiday. Laura was not surprised at her son’s death as he had been a drug user and she expected he had taken contaminated drugs, a common fate. But the police lab said otherwise. He was murdered. Claire’s fiancé, Detective Inspector Mark Evans, investigates, so Claire is involved and privy to much information. Too much. In spite of her busy life with demanding guests, she discovers the motive for the murder and finds herself in danger.
Quite knowledgeable and thoughtful of her clients, tour operator Claire Barclay is the owner/operator of British Mystery Book Tours. Shadows in Sussex, Book 5 of The British Mystery Tour Series by Emma Dakin, details Claire’s latest jaunt to Rother Manor House, located in the small but quaint town of Rye.
Upon her early arrival at Rother Manor House to prepare for her tour’s arrival, Claire is stunned to discover the owner of the guest house, Laura Wright, kneeling beside the body of her dead son, Reece. Reece is a known but recovering drug addict, and so his death would naturally be assumed to be an unfortunate drug relapse. But not so fast. There are signs this could be more than a simple addict’s relapse. It could be . . . murder. The local constabulary agrees, and Mark Evans, Claire’s fiancé and Hampshire Detective Inspector, is assigned to the case.
Claire greets her guests and continues to conduct her tour, escorting her clients to an eclectic array of excursions locally but also in the surrounding vicinity. Her well-planned tour includes the beautiful English countryside, historical sites, restaurants, museums, shopping, sailing, a play, and delightfully on and on. Ever the consummate host, Claire treats her clients to daily goodie bags made up of items pertinent to the activities for each day. While one grumpy client is determined to find something wrong with everything, the remainder of the group is delightful, interesting, and congenial. In spite of the one grouch, the group has a splendid time thanks to Claire’s thoughtful and precise planning and attention to detail.
Even while keeping her clients busy and happy, Claire finds time to condole with Reece’s mother, Laura, and play a vital role in Mark’s investigation of what they have come to believe was a crime. Chasing down many a fruitless clue, Mark persists. Was it murder? And what does a peach pie and a cat’s vet office have to do with anything? You’ll be surprised to find out and definitely, oh yes, definitely, be intrigued along the way.
What a thoroughly charming and unconventional murder mystery! Emma Dakin paces the story of Shadows in Sussex beautifully with plenty of details about locales, local history, and mystery authors known in the area plentifully sprinkled throughout.
The details of the tour’s stops and activities each day are delightful and made me want to go on one of Claire’s tours myself! Mark and Claire are wonderful characters with whom you feel at ease immediately and right at home as you join them to follow the clues, putting them together surrounded by some of England’s most charming and beautiful locations. Combine details from the story and information from the Author’s Note, and you, too, could plan and have your very own memorable tour experience!
Cozy mystery writing at its very best, Shadows in Sussex is perfectly paced with just the right balance of murder mystery and local atmosphere to carry the reader effortlessly along on an absorbing tour and mystery experience.
Emma Dakin writes a series of mysteries set in Britain. Her protagonist is a tour guide who takes different characters in each book to the sites of mystery novels in the countryside. She appreciates the elegant, people and humor of each area. But in that idyllic country, Claire stumbles on murder. Author Emma Dakin has five books so far in this series with the latest release September 12th 2023. An historical mystery set in Vancouver in 1886 is due out soon. She won a prestigious 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s Community History Award for her non-fiction account of life in the 60s.
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