A quaint cottage in a pretty Victorian terrace with a neatly tended garden stands quiet and still… but inside the bedroom a woman lies dead upon the floor.
Sukey Reynolds is enjoying a quiet period at work, taking time to get her garden in hand, catch up on some cooking and spend time with her son. Murder is the last thing on her mind…
But when she is called to the charming Ivy House to photograph the dead body of a young woman, Sukey feels compelled to drop everything and do all she can to shed light on this baffling mystery. And whilst collecting evidence at a nearby hotel which had a break-in around the same time as the murder, she starts to wonder if the two cases might be linked.
The manager just happened to let slip that one of her guests went white as a sheet after reading about the death and disappeared shortly afterwards. The very same guest whose room was broken into… Sukey has a shrewd suspicion about who this man might be, and she fears he too could be in danger.
Although she voices her theories, her detective colleagues are in no mood for any more of her amateur sleuthing. Sukey realises that if she wants to pursue her lead, she’ll have to do it alone. When Sukey agrees to a secret meeting by a remote river, has she made a terrible mistake? Has the killer lured her into the woods and into a trap?
I have missed Sukey, our SOCO and I am very pleased to be allowed to accompany her on a new adventure.
I would not like to be in her shoes. Well, to be honest I would not like to be in the shoes of the police or anyone in the medical world. Blood is not my best friend and I am afraid I would faint each and every time. Not the best colleague to have around, right? 😊
But back to Sukey. She has a very important job, because she finds clues to help to solve the cases the police are dealing with. Her dream is to become a detective too, but not yet.
She is certainly clever enough to fill that role. She has eyes and ears everywhere and the fact she works for the police, but is not an officer, make people rather talk to her.
She often puts two and two together and thus comes up with very reasonable answers to the questions, but the DI does not always believes what she says. So Sukey would not be Sukey if she would let it be. No, no, no, no. She takes the matters in her own hands and starts sleuthing.
Often the detectives have to admit she had the right end of the stick, but sometimes she also comes to the wrong conclusion and that’s when it get very tricky…
This case was a very complicated one with a lot of characters.
DI Castle should sometimes step down from his high horse and stop sulking too. Good for Sukey for not giving in.
I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. 4 stars
About the author
Betty Rowlands 1923-2020
Betty Rowlands burst onto the crime scene in her mid sixties by winning the Sunday Express / Veuve Clicquot Crime Short Story of the Year Competition which shows it’s never too late to start writing. Her success continued with her highly acclaimed Melissa Craig mysteries featuring a crime writer who solves mysteries in Gloucestershire. Her second series, The Sukey Reynolds Stories comprise of thirteen books, featuring Sukey Reynolds, a Scenes of Crime Officer who later becomes a detective. She lived in the heart of the Cotswolds, where her Melissa Craig mysteries are set, and then in Bristol which is closer to Sukey Reynolds patch, where she lived until her death on 29 July 2020, just a few months before her 97th birthday. She passed peacefully in the residential home that she called ‘home’. She will be greatly missed by her two surviving children, her four grandchildren, six great grandchildren, other family members, her friends and you, her many readers. The resurgence in interest in her Melissa Craig and Sukey Reynolds books in her last years gave her immense pleasure. She loved to receive emails from her fans knowing that her writing was being so enjoyed. Betty may no longer be with us but Melissa and Sukey are still there solving those mysteries. Keep on reading!