Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Case of the Hidden Flame by Alison Golden – Book Review

Book: The Case of the Hidden Flame
(Book 2 in The Inspector David Graham Series)
Author: Alison Golden
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Number of pages: 130 pages
Publication date: 12 December 2015

A new cop. A murdered lover. An eccentric community.
Detective Inspector David Graham has just arrived on the island of Jersey, taking over a rag tag team of questionable commitment and skill at the Gorey Constabulary, a team that he is supposed to lead and develop into a cohesive investigative unit.
Within minutes, his first challenge presents itself when ex-soldier, Colonel Graves, finds a dead body on the beach. As the military man kneels down, he discovers it is his soon-to-be fiancé half buried in the sand…
In a small resort like Gorey, this event is monumental, and almost unheard of. The rumors swirl yet it is the new Detective Inspector’s job, with a bag still packed and travel dust on his shoes, to ferret out the clues and solve the case…while bringing his team along to assist.
With a Sherlock soul, The Case of the Hidden Flame packs humor and intrigue onto a small island of eccentric characters, roiling sea undercurrents, and deceptive coincidences – all accompanied by a fine cup of tea.

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

"You know I've been here five minutes, right?"
"And you know we haven't had a murder here since the Newall Brothers axed their parents for their inheritance money, back when you were in college?"

The Case of the Hidden Flame by Alison Golden is the second book in the Inspector David Graham Series. The book brings back a few of the characters from The Case of the Screaming Beauty, along with new people. It can be read as a standalone.

I loved the charismatic – for me – Inspector Graham, who loves his morning tea, and who literally grows on you as you read these books (I read 3 books in the series consecutively!)

Graham leaves the busy London with its dark memories and settles in the small island town of Gorey. There he is to head the small police department, known as a constabulary, and three police misfits: Harding (the serious one) and Roach and Barnwell (the funny ones), "a rag tag team of questionable commitment."

Graham has to turn the three into mystery-solving and crime-fighting officers, which paves the way for lots of humor.

As soon as he arrives on Gorey, Graham is confronted with mystery after the other. In The Case of the Hidden Flame, Graham has to deal with a nearly-crippled doctor who is found dead and buried on the shore of the White House Inn, where he is to stay.

"Mrs. Taylor worked to find balance between helping the police and carrying out much-needed rumor control, lest her guests suddenly decide to check out en masse in a fit of panic and ruin the Inn's precious summer."

Graham and his team interview many people at the Inn, while some appear to have harbored ill intentions towards the late doctor, some don't seem to be related to the case at all. Graham and his team struggle to find the culprit in an Inn, known to be a home for the elderly and retirees.

In The Case of the Hidden Flame, it takes some time to determine whether the "case" is a murder or accidental death. Still, I enjoyed the story. It was a bit slow at first but picked up.

"The least welcome category of deaths for a detective [was] victims who were found alone, with little forensic evidence, no witnesses, and no immediate suspects or motives."

To the police officers, known as constables in the novel, Detective Graham acts oddly. But he plans to teach each one of them how to handle things and make them rise from merely taking tickets and processing mini-burglaries to solving crimes.

Having read subsequent books, I've noticed that Graham is an excellent leader, knowing how to utilize and develop each of his team's skills.

Unlike The Case of the Screaming Beauty which was a bit grim, The Case of the Hidden Flame has lots more humor, making it a fun read.

"[Mrs. Taylor] was proving to be quite the store of gossip, which made her an ideal source of information in a case like this."

The Case of the Hidden Flame is a different kind of cozy mystery in the sense that it's the police who are looking into the murder, as opposed to the norm where there is an amateur sleuth.

In terms of character development, Graham is already a developed character but the sergeant and two constables are the ones who see significant growth throughout the books.

The book was divided into only seven chapters, which made the chapters quite long.

I like how Golden uses Graham and pathologist Dr. Marcus Tomlison as tools to educate both readers and the police trio.

"Unlike most police officers, or even members of the general public, Graham was aware that asphyxia was a mode of dying, not ta cause."

Overall rating for Alison Golden's The Case of the Hidden Flame: 4.5-5 stars.

Add the book on Goodreads.

Other book reviews in this series: (All coming soon to Nadaness In Motion)

The Case of the Missing Letter

Start reading the first book in this series, The Case of the Screaming Beauty when you subscribe to Alison Golden's newsletter. I downloaded The Case of the Hidden Flame when the author made it free for a week as part of her #StayHomeReadBooks series.

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