Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Case of the Screaming Beauty by Alison Golden - Book Review

Book: The Case of the Screaming Beauty
Book 1 in the Inspector David Graham Series
Genre: Cozy mystery
Number of pages: 152

"That's the thing about murder, isn't it? They never quite happen as one would prefer. For the most part, they're crimes of passion, committed suddenly and without much planning."

The Case of the Screaming Beauty by Alison Golden is the first book in the Inspector David Graham cozy mystery series.

The series is set in the UK, but the first book is set in Chiddlinghurst – I struggled to pronounce that name throughout the book. The novel opens with a married couple in their sixties, Amelia and Cliff, who have inherited The Lavender, a countryside bed and breakfast (B&B).

The setting is beautiful from the start and you can't help but love the couple, especially Amelia. However, early on Amelia hears one of her guests screaming, only to knock on her door and find the woman, Norah, all smiles. A day later, they discover Norah dead in the bathroom.

"It makes me nervous when there isn't even the whiff of a suspect. Tends to mean that there's a juicy backstory I haven't heard yet."

Enter Detective Inspector David Graham, whom the series is primarily about. Graham has to sort through little evidence and a strange pool of suspects to find out Norah's killer.

The Case of the Screaming Beauty is my first read for Alison Golden, but certainly not my last. I've already downloaded a few of her books in this series because I'm part of her newsletter and she's offering 1 free book a week as part of her #StayHomeReadBooks hashtag on Twitter and Newsletter. So, yes, The Case of the Hidden Flame, here I come.

Unlike other cozy mystery series where there is an amateur sleuth, the main character in The Case of the Screaming Beauty, and later books in the series, is a police officer.
I also liked how Alison Golden sprinkled bits of information on how things are processed like when getting samples.

"Bert drew blood for toxicology screens and requested a full work-up of the lab results, which would show, among other things, whether Norah was pregnant, taking drugs, drunk, or poisoned."

The Inspector David Graham series is indeed a combination of cozy mystery with a CSI-like feel. And I loved it!

And for some reason, I couldn't help but feel that The Case of the Screaming Beauty reminded me of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile. The two are worlds apart but there's that feel.

When I finished reading the book, I learnt that Golden describes Inspector Graham as a kind of Hercule Poirot and I could totally feel that. Also, the ending where all the suspects were gathered for the finale is very Agatha Christie.

Golden describes Graham as "a British detective who is part-Sherlock Holmes, part-Poirot, and, of course, uniquely himself."

The only thing I disliked was the long chapters. The book is divided into 7 chapters, some I think were over 20 pages long. It was a quick read, but it would have been faster if there were more chapters. 

Update: In her newsletter dated 27 May 2020, author Alison Golden said she had included an epilogue to The Case of the Screaming Beauty. In addition, she said: "I also responded to a reader request to shorten the chapters. I did that by splitting each chapter into three."

My overall rating for The Case of the Screaming Beauty by Alison Golden: 4.5 stars.

Note: You can get The Case of the Screaming Beauty for FREE when you subscribe to author Alison Golden's newsletter.

Add the book on Goodreads.

Other reviews in this series:
The Case of the Hidden Flame
The Case of the Broken Doll
The Case of the Missing Letter

Connect with Alison Golden via Twitter, Facebook, her Website, where you can sign-up to her Newsletter.

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