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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

A Body On The Beach
by Dee MacDonald
Books On Tour
Review

My thanks go out to Sarah, representing publisher Bookouture, for saving me a place on this lovely ‘Books On Tour’ schedule.

I also need to thank the great NetGalley team, for always making life so easy when downloading review copies.

Image of the Blog Tour Banner for the book 'A Body On The Beach' by author Dee MacDonald

A BODY ON THE BEACH – (Kate Palmer #5)

Cover Image of the book 'A Body On The Beach' by author Dee MacDonaldNurse Kate Palmer is Cornwall’s answer to Miss Marple… but when she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time can she prove her innocence and solve her most puzzling case yet?

Kate Palmer thought the pretty Cornish seaside village of Tinworthy would be the perfect spot to live out her golden years – how very wrong she was! It’s been one mystery after another ever since she arrived and now Kate finds herself tangled up in a messy feud with glamorous local celebrity Sienna Stone…

A few hours after a showdown between the two women at the village’s annual summer party, Kate discovers Sienna’s body on the beautiful white-sand beach. Rumours swirl around the close-knit community and all eyes are on Kate. When the tables are turned and Kate is accused of murder, can she solve the crime and clear her name?

Kate finds herself running all around Tinworthy investigating those closest to Sienna. Plenty of people disliked her but would any of them go so far as to kill her and frame Kate? Could it be Sienna’s long-suffering husband Irving? Her jealous younger sister Sally? Or the local chef Sienna put out of business?

Just as she thinks she’s getting closer, Sienna’s keenest fan, Timmy, is found dead in his own home. Timmy was another suspect, so his untimely demise could mean Kate’s the next victim… or put her one step closer to jail!

With time running out, Kate needs to find out the truth. Can she solve the case – and save herself? Or have her days of sleuthing come to an end?

Cover Image of the book 'A Body On The Beach' by author Dee MacDonald

DEE MACDONALD

Image of author Dee MacDonald

Writing 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 On The Beach' by author Dee MacDonald

FIRST LINES

CHAPTER ONE

It was one of those swelteringly hot days without a breath of wind which was unusual, to say the least, in a Cornish field so close to the edge of the cliffs. It was even more unusual for someone to be pushed off these cliffs and end up on the sandy beach below, but that is what happened…

Cover Image of the book 'A Body On The Beach' by author Dee MacDonald

MEMORABLE LINES

“Nevertheless, if she was pushed, you’re going to be a suspect, I guess. Why are you always in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kate?”

.

“Kate knew that each time you met someone, you got to know a little more about them. They gave little snippets of themselves away without realising it. It was almost an advantage that she, Kate, was a suspect herself so that they were all in the same boat and, hopefully, none of these people would suspect her of studying them

.

“Kate was aware that her so-called sleuthing had endangered her own life on several occasions, and vowed to keep herself out of trouble from now on. If only she wasn’t so fascinated by crime-solving!”

Cover Image of the book 'A Body On The Beach' by author Dee MacDonald

REVIEW

“Can she solve the case – and save herself? Or have her days of sleuthing come to an end?”

Oh Dear – It’s over already!

I finished this lovely book in just a couple of sittings, and yet still managed to immerse myself in its pages, savouring every single word.

As an avid follower of this series, I feel as though I have got to know the resident characters of fictional Tinworthy quite well, so reading a new chapter in the life of the village always feels like ‘going home’ to Cornwall, one of my most favourite parts of the country, even if there does seem to be a disproportionately high number of murders for such an intimate location.

But have no fear! You don’t need to have read this series from the beginning to feel part of the village life, as all the books work great as stand alone stories, with author Dee MacDonald having honed the knack of bringing any new readers up to date with necessary back-story details, to perfection, with just a few cleverly placed sentences and as a seamless part of the current storyline, all without ever making her regular followers feel short-changed.

At this point in my reviews, I usually try to provide a short, no spoiler overview of the storyline. However on this occasion, the premise provides just about all the relevant facts of the case, so to add anything further would certainly be information ‘too much detail’, for anyone planning to read the book. Suffice to say that my suspect list was every bit as long as Kate’s own, although I felt quite pleased with myself that in addition to Kate’s many names, my own list included that of the eventual murderer, although I had no idea about a motive, just a strong feeling that I didn’t like or trust them. There are always plenty of red herrings and twists in any case with which Kate is involved and this one proved to be particularly tricky, with the final sting in the tail being totally unexpected by just about everyone. When the reasons for the murders were revealed, I was really surprised at just how clever author Dee MacDonald had been in weaving together two seemingly unrelated strands of the storyline, one of which Kate herself had unwittingly been a party to. The police were definitely barking up the wrong tree completely, so it’s a good job Kate had ignored all their warnings about getting too involved in the case, as on this occasion, she herself had been one of the prime suspects!

This time Kate not only almost broke my fourth golden rule for what makes a great fiction storyline – that the main protagonist shouldn’t end up dead – but she also almost took Woody and Jack down with her, although I have to say that they were as ‘up for the chase’ as much as Kate herself was. In fact, all three of them were willing orchestrators of the final showdown, which almost inevitably wasn’t going to end well, so is Woody still really unhappy about Kate’s constant sleuthing, or is he secretly beginning to come round to the idea of ‘keeping his hand in’ with the occasional police investigation. After all, Kate really does need a calming influence when it comes to an ongoing situation, as her thought processes can end up all over the place, despite the many suspect and motive lists she makes, which often makes Woody smile. He also has the knack of knowing when Kate is about to dash off and follow up a new lead, when he really doesn’t think it is such a good idea. However, as much as he tries to keep her in check, even down to actually making her promise not to follow up on a particularly risky lead, she will always find a way to outwit him, or change a detail or two, so that she can say that she honestly never disobeyed his specific request.

Well structured, multi-layered and highly textured, this storyline is fluently written in short, easy to navigate chapters, which keep the pace of the action non-stop and ever evolving. Plenty of wonderfully assured observational and descriptive narrative, together with some excellent conversational dialogue, offers a really good sense of time and place, making it all too easy to follow events as they unfold, whilst still not being able to spot the real villain of the piece. In this story, revenge is definitely a dish best served cold, although past traumas do have to be allowed for, as no one really understands the fragility of the human mind, despite the outward show of bluff and bravado.

Dee has created a multi-faceted, well drawn and defined cast of characters, who I could clearly visualise in my minds eye, especially Kate’s elder sister Angie, and her current partner, Irishman Fergal – as soon as you meet them, you’ll see what I mean about them being memorable and they are certain to raise a smile or two. Whether they are on the side of good or bad, all are authentically realistic and genuinely believable in the individual roles which have been created for them. Theirs is collectively a strong voice, with which they tell their own story, although some are more reliable witnesses, easy to connect with and relate to than others. The core cast of characters are like old friends and such are the dynamics between them, I almost feel that I could knock on any Tinworthy door, or visit any of the businesses and receive a warm welcome, so long as Kate or Woody were with me to break the ice a little first. Each episode generally features a couple of ‘outsiders’, who really don’t fit into village life at all and seldom tend to stick around, especially if they end up dead or in custody!

Kate Palmer decided not to take her husband’s name on marriage, well would you, when your surname is already a very fitting anagram of ‘Marple’. The similarities don’t stop with the shared name either, and even though there is quite a substantial age difference between them, Kate is definitely a modern day version of that famous amateur sleuth, even right down to some of her personality traits. With each passing story, I am growing more and more confused as to whether Kate reminds me more of Miss Marple or Jessica Fletcher. I suppose it rather depends on which side of the pond you live, as to where your loyalties lie!

Now that Kate and Woody have made their joint home in Kate’s charming cottage, her dog Barney gets double the walks, double the love and no doubt double the treats! He makes great cover for Kate when she is off on one of her ‘fishing’ missions for clues, a ploy which Woody has just cottoned onto and one he will no doubt be watching out for in the future!

New Image of author Dee MacDonald - revised January 2022

A complimentary download of this book for review purposes, was made available by Bookouture and supplied 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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12 comments
    • Kate Palmer is definitely an addictive character, very much a modern day “Miss Marple”.

      Cornwall is also one of my most favourite places in the country to visit, so it’s no surprise that I look forward to each new case to be solved.

      Thanks for visiting 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and support, much appreciated!

      Whilst you definitely could read these books as stand alone stories, it might be as well to read #1 first and then dip in and out of the rest. As whilst author Dee MacDonald, does an excellent job of filling in the backstory facts along the way, you really should get to know Kate Palmer as a character and the beginning is always a good place to start.

      Great to have you stop by 🙂

  • Now I’m sure you must’ve mentioned this series before but for the life of I don’t remember. It sounds delightful and as I’m off to Cornwall myself on Saturday for a week I’m sorely tempted to go and get the first book and read it in its own setting. Wouldn’t that be fun?

    • I don’t know which part of Cornwall you are visiting – Lucky You! – However, the books are set in the fictional town of Tinworthy, which from some of the narrative in the stories, might be based on a location up on the North Coast, somewhere around Bude or Boscastle. I must admit, I really do much prefer it when an author uses a real location which I can check out for myself.

      I have read 4 out of the 5 stories in the series to date and have reviewed them all, so you have probably come across one or two of my posts. The series is getting better with each new instalment, however going back to Kate’s arrival in the area and getting to know both her and the resident characters who appear in each episode, is probably the way to go. After that you are good to dip in and out of the series if you don’t want to read all of the books.

      Thanks for commenting and have a lovely holiday 🙂

      • Yes, when you know a place fairly well you can usually make a stab at the real location. When I get to it I’ll tell you what I reckon, shall I? As you saw on Goodreads I bought the first book in this series and a standalone.

        Thank you! We’re off to my home-patch of Penzance, though not staying there, we have hired a bungalow on the coast between St. Just and St. Ives. We’ll see relatives and have a few days to ourselves, meandering around our favourite spots and relaxing with books.

        • We haven’t been down to Cornwall for about five years now, although family are staying down in Mawgan Porth during the school holidays, so we might join them for a day. They usually tend to base themselves in Newquay and travel around from there, but I think that since Covid, they have found quieter spots for their accommodation.

          I haven’t read any of Dee’s stand alone stories, but once I get my blog freedom back, who knows! You watch, I’ll probably end up reading less than ever, because I shall then have time to try some of the other hobbies on my ‘bucket list’

          Have a great time 🙂

  • I know you say these don’t have to be read in order…. but you know me!! I’d have to look back, but I bet I already have the first on my wishlist.

    Speaking of Cornwall… I recently read the latest Flora Steele that takes place there. You need to get up to date on that series!

    • I know you have followed all my reviews, so I should imagine that you have the first one on your list somewhere, if in fact, you haven’t already downloaded it! The series just keeps getting better and better.

      I have got woefully behind with the Flora Steele mysteries, having only read #1 & 2 Not sure whether I am going to get chance to catch up with #3 & 4, as I have so many NetGalley books I want to try and catch up with when Fiction Books retires. There are so many good series out there now though, that I stand no chance of reading them all. Too many books… etc. It sounds as though Flora Steele has captured your imagination though! 🙂

  • She needs to clear her name, that is an interesting twist to a murder mystery. It sounds unusual and intriguing. 🙂
    Have a lovely weekend. xx

    • When your own name is at the top of the police suspect list and you know you are innocent, you have plenty of incentive to track down the real murderer and clear your name! Loving this series, I’m addicted 🙂

      You have a good weekend too. Dave is working today, so I’m “home alone” 🙂

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