Death Awaits in Durham (Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries) by Helen Cox

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Death Awaits in Durham (Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries) by Helen Cox

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The Yorkshire mysteries have moved to Durham. If you enjoy cosy crime you'll like this engaging read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: October 2020
Publisher: Quercus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1529410341

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Kitt Hartley's assistant, Grace Edwards, has left her library job and taken a place on the Venerable Bede Academy's vocational library studies course in Durham. It's an unusual place to study as students with government grants are not accepted, so most of the people attending are scions of the seriously rich, scholarship students - or they've managed, somehow, to scrape together the money. Grace, who's 22, comes into the last category. Her parents agreed to fund the course but told her that if that was what she chose to do then they were finished with her. Not long after she started the course, Kitt Hartley came for a visit - and immediately discovered an unsolved disappearance of a student from a year ago.

Jodie Perkins was studying mechanics. She'd just received a letter telling her that she'd been expelled from the academy because drugs had been found in her locker. She knew that they were not her drugs and investigated what was behind their discovery. The last that was heard from her was when she rang the student radio station to say that she'd made an amazing discovery about an important person at the Venerable Bede's Academy. She was then attacked and the last that was heard from her was a piercing scream. The police had investigated but found no trace of Jodie, dead or alive.

Of course, Kitt can't resist an investigation of her own. Before long she's spoken to Patrick Howard, Jodie's fiancé, the dean of the academy, Regina Berkeley and millionaire's daughter, Selina Grant. Jodie had been friendly with Selina but something had curtailed the relationship just a few days before Jodie's disappearance. Kitt Hartley's boyfriend, DI Mal Halloran, is on the edge of Kitt's investigation but he has no standing in Durham and still has to work in York. For the first time, we see Kitt Hartley on her own and putting to good use the skills she's learned on the private investigator course which she's just finished.

It's cosy crime and if cosy crime's your bag you'll get a good read from Death Awaits in Durham. We've noticed before that Helen Cox has a real talent for handling what seems like a cast of thousands with skill. You really get the feel of being in a student city - and there's no sense that this is a closed-room story. The perpetrator could be anyone and I was certainly surprised when we found out what was behind Jodie's disappearance.

The plot's good too. You'll need to suspend disbelief on a couple of occasions (did I mention that this is cosy crime?) but you're here for the fun of a good read and not for an intellectual puzzle. I picked the book up because I used to know Durham well - I lived there for three years more than half a century ago - and whilst I only recognised parts of it from the book it was still a trip down memory land and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

You'll find a rather superb private investigator in Her Majesty the Queen Investigates: The Windsor Knot by S J Bennett.

Helen Cox's Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries in Chronological Order

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