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A Body At The Tea Rooms
by Dee MacDonald
Books On Tour
Review

Tea, flowers and an open book on a table in the garden - Used to feature my book reviews

My thanks go out to the lovely Sarah, representing publisher, Bookouture, for finding space for me on this ‘Books On Tour’ spot.

The team at Netgalley have come through with the most seamless of downloads, as ever!

Image of the Blog Tour Banner for the book 'A Body At The Tea Rooms' by author Dee MacDonald

A BODY AT THE TEA ROOMS – (Kate Palmer #3)

Cover image of the book 'A Body At The Tea Rooms' by author Dee MacDonaldNurse Kate Palmer has only been living in Lower Tinworthy, a beautiful little village by the sparkling Cornish sea, for a short time but she’s already making a name for herself as the local Miss Marple. Although not everyone is keen on her recent investigations, least of all the new Detective Inspector Bill Robson.

When a body is found at her sister Angie’s newly purchased tea rooms, Kate is at first reluctant to get caught up in another mystery. But the murder is uncomfortably close to home and there’s gossip suggesting Angie and her latest boyfriend are somehow involved.

Determined to find justice for the deceased man and to protect her sister’s reputation, Kate recruits her close friend retired Detective Inspector ‘Woody’ Forrest. His knowledge of the local seaside villages will help her to come up with a list of potential names for the victim… and the murderer.

As they narrow down the possibilities, one of Kate’s patients, Mark Edderley, reveals a connection to her prime suspect. Days later, he dies in a suspicious boating accident. Kate is certain the murderer has struck again! 

But just as she’s about to solve the puzzle, Angie goes missing. Can she get to her sister before it’s too late?

Cover image of the book 'A Body At The Tea Rooms' by author Dee MacDonald

DEE MacDONALD

Image of author Dee MacDonaldWriting was what Dee was good at in school and she won several essay competitions, but then life got in the way and she didn’t pick up a pen again until after retirement.

Aged 18, Dee arrived in London from Scotland at the beginning of the swinging sixties, and typed her way round the West End for a couple of years before joining BOAC (forerunner of British Airways) in Passenger Services for 2 years, and then as an air stewardess on long haul routes for 8 years.

After that she conducted market research at Heathrow for both the government statistics and for BA, before becoming a sales rep. She was also the receptionist at the Thames Television Studios in Teddington when they had the franchise.

Dee has since relocated to Cornwall, where she spent 10 years running a small B&B, before turning to writing full time.

She lives with her husband, and her family still live close by.

Connect with Dee on Facebook

Follow Dee on Twitter

Cover image of the book 'A Body At The Tea Rooms' by author Dee MacDonald

FIRST LINES

CHAPTER ONE

“No matter how great a holiday was, it was always good to come home, Kate thought, as she got her first glimpse of the wild Cornish Atlantic coast again at close quarters. It was January and the sea was grey and surly, in contrast to the blue of the Pacific which they’d left behind”

Cover image of the book 'A Body At The Tea Rooms' by author Dee MacDonald

MEMORABLE LINES

‘In the UK,’ Kate explained patiently, ‘it’s breeding that makes you gentry. Years of breeding and inbreeding, and usually with a centuries-old stately pile that they can’t afford to run.’

.

“Kate didn’t care much for general gossip but there were times when extracting a few titbits of specific information could be quite useful, to say the least”

.

“Not for the first time she wondered if men really did worry about things as much as women did”

Cover image of the book 'A Body At The Tea Rooms' by author Dee MacDonald

REVIEW

“Meet Kate Palmer! A semi-retired nurse with a sweet tooth for cake and a talent for solving crimes”

I don’t really know whether to be pleased with myself, or a little disappointed, as I had worked out some of what was going on in this explosive storyline from a little over half way through the book, ahead of both amateur sleuth, nurse Kate Palmer and her often reluctant assistant, retired DI, Woody Forrest. Although to be fair, I wasn’t quite certain about the identity of the true villain of the piece until all the facts were being laid out before Kate, the final twist in the tale was revealed, and just as she was almost about to make that fatal mistake which would mean that she couldn’t fulfil my strict fourth criteria for an all-round inclusive story, that of not being dead!

Not that anything about the storyline was in any way diminished by my knowing half an outcome; as with Kate, Woody, Angie and Fergal around the place and on the case, there is never a dull moment and the journey is always as eventful and unpredictable as the getting there. Oh! and of course, only Angie and Fergal could find a skeleton in their basement!

Kate seems to have the knack of always being in the right place at the wrong time, or the wrong place at the right time, depending on your perspective; and although this is the third case she has become embroiled in, in a very short space of time, you could quite happily jump into her life right here and now and know all you need to know about her past within a short while, as author Dee MacDonald does an awesome job of managing a full re-cap of all the pertinent facts, in a few concise lines, making these books excellent stand alone stories. Catching up with Kate, is like putting on a pair of comfy slippers and curling up in the chair, for a cozy night in front of the fire and a good ‘girlie’ chat, although beware! as Kate has a way of finding out all the information she needs to glean from you, without you even realising it – That must be her nurse’s ‘bedside manner’!

This well structured and developed, multi-layered storyline is textured, intense and rich in atmosphere. With it’s short punchy chapters, it moves along at a cracking pace, with the location and character changes being faultlessly fluid and seamless. Dee is an excellent storyteller and knows exactly where she is going with a storyline, skilfully and effortlessly leading me in that direction, almost without my realising it. There were plenty of twists and turns in this plot, with loads of red herrings planted along the way to trip up the unwary, lies and deception come as a second nature to some people, and just remember, don’t assume that anyone is who they say they are!

The assured, observational and descriptive narrative, together with some excellent conversational dialogue, offers a real sense of time and place, all set in a location that is one of my personal favourites, which adds a real depth and range to the story for me personally.

Each new case sees Dee weave a unique cast of suspects into the  story and they really are designed to make me want to cringe, almost to the point where I would like them all to be guilty, but then that’s what makes these lovely mysteries so immersive. All the central characters are so beautifully defined and drawn, and all seem to be growing in stature and confidence each time I meet them. There is some excellent synergy between them, which makes them easy to relate to and invest in. Everything about the way Kate and Woody approach a case, is designed to put any potential suspects, of which there are always plenty, at ease and off their guard. Woody even begins referring to Kate as his ‘Miss Marple’, although I think that she has earned her stripes in her own right now, as her style is unique and she has made the role her own. The banter between them is natural and authentic. I felt at home in their company and sad to have to leave them behind until next time.

I tend to read this genre of story for: enjoyment, entertainment, escapism and emotion. A Kate Palmer adventure always comes good for me in each and every one of those criteria, and what’s a body or two between friends!

“The female of the species is more deadly than the male”

Image of author Dee MacDonald

A Kindle download of this book for review and promotional purposes, was kindly gifted to me by the publisher, with the download being facilitated by NetGalley.

Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars!

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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8 comments
    • Hi Kelly,

      Kate and Woody are definitely characters it would be fun to know in real life, just so long as they didn’t drag me into any of their murder cases!

      They make a great foil for Kate’s sister Angie and her current boyfriend, Fergal, who are much more impulsive and unpredictable!

      This is a lovely series and beautifully written. Just right for those times when you don’t want to read anything too heavy or serious.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend 🙂

  • Thanks for this fair and awesome review. I love stories with lots of twists and turns, which make the reading a true pleasure. Dee seems like a really talented and interesting writer. Thanks, Yvonne!

    • Hi Angie,

      Aw! Thank you so much for your kind words about my review, I always appreciate your support and value your comments!

      Dee really does do an amazing job of totally immersing her readers in the experience, with this lovely series. It feels like you are visiting old friends, rather than the characters in a book, although Kate’s sister Angie, is really ‘off the wall’ and rather eccentric!

      Mind you, Kate can be a wee bit nosy and she always tends to land herself in deep water when she finally goes in for the big reveal. If Woody wasn’t around to bail her out, I’m sure we would have been visiting her in hospital by now!!

      Have a good weekend 🙂

    • Kate is definitely a character who is growing on me and her relationship with ‘Woody’ seems to be developing quite nicely too!

      I just wish Kate wouldn’t get herself into situations she can’t get out of, especially when they involve a weapon of some sort, which she is usually being threatened with. Her luck can only hold out for so long, surely!

      Well written, with a real sense of time and place, this is indeed an excellent series 🙂

  • As long as you’ve enjoyed the book, and very much so considering the rating, it doesn’t matter that you figure out some of the outcome half way through the book. I think I would have been proud if I were you.
    Have a lovely weekend.

    • Hi Anca,

      I wasn’t really too disappointed to be honest, as I enjoyed the getting there, as much as the outcome! And I ultimately picked the wrong one of the two suspects I was left with anyway!!

      I can enjoy a book for the descriptive narrative and dialogue as much as anything else and I really do like Dee MacDonald’s style of writing. The slow laid back pace suits me when I am lured into that state of mind and her characters certainly make it easy to ‘go with the flow’ of things.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you too, have a great weekend, despite (or in spite of?) the dreadful weather forecast!! 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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