EXCERPT: The lugubrious Reverend Roger Starling smoothed down his robes, looked at them all sadly over the top of his glasses, cleared his throat and droned, ‘We are gathered here together . . .’ just as Joe’s ankles appeared to give way and he sank slowly to the floor. In retrospect, Kate couldn’t help but compare his literal downfall to that of the blowing up of redundant blocks of flats and chimney stacks, which crumpled from beneath before everything else descended on top.
The bride shrieked, there were gasps all round and everyone rushed towards the altar. Kate, as a nurse, automatically got to her feet and dashed down the aisle, Woody directly behind her, shouting for someone to call an ambulance. She elbowed her way through the gawping onlookers while Woody roared, ‘Stand back, please!’ in his most authoritarian voice, honed to perfection by his many years as Tinworthy’s detective inspector.
The bride, Melissa, was inconsolable, weeping all over her husband-to-be. Kate got down on her knees while Woody gently steered Melissa to her ashen-faced mother, and then kneeled down beside Kate. One thing was clear: Joe was not breathing.
ABOUT ‘A BODY AT THE ALTAR’: Jilted grooms, sudden deaths, broken hearts and threatening letters. All in a day’s work for super sleuth Kate Palmer!
Nurse Kate Palmer thought the pretty Cornish village of Tinworthy would be the perfect place for a peaceful retirement. She couldn’t have been more wrong! But even she is shocked when she attends a beautiful wedding at St. Pirin’s Church and the handsome groom drops dead in front of her very eyes.
While the rest of the wedding party panics, Kate notices the strange behaviour of the not-so-blushing bride and the posh mother-in-law – and vows to find out the truth behind the poor young man’s sudden demise. Especially when the new detective Charlotte Martin makes it known that she doesn’t want Kate involved – and also shows an interest in Woody Forrest, Kate’s partner in crime-solving.
Undeterred, Kate discovers this isn’t the only wedding to have been sabotaged. A series of peculiar letters contain the clues Kate needs to get to the heart of the matter. But is the mystery letter writer behind the unusual deaths? Or is more than one person responsible for the strange goings on in the seaside village…
As Kate digs deeper, she adds more suspects to her growing list: the world-weary vicar, the unlucky-in-love cleaner and the bride’s former flame. But, as a pair of boots bring Kate closer to the killer, it becomes clear their investigation has placed Woody in danger.
Can Kate solve the murder and save the man she loves at the same time?
MY THOUGHTS: Oh, I love this series! It just keeps on getting better and better. I fear that I am going to run out of review stars.
I want to move to Tinworthy and drink gin in the Old Locker. Although with the rate of murders in this village, perhaps not.
Dee MacDonald writes with an almost nonchalant flair for both characters and setting. The village folk are typical of any village or small town anywhere. There is the village snob, Penelope Bowen, a blatant social climber who is on every committee and likes to kick up a fuss about the smallest thing that upsets her. I liked the new Detective Inspector, Charlotte Martin, although Kate isn’t too quick to warm to her. We don’t see much of Angie, Kate’s sister, in A Death at the Altar, but her love interest, Fergus a charming Irishman, provides some interesting moments. We also get to meet Woody’s daughter, Donna.
The plot is superbly crafted and kept me guessing right to the big reveal. With poison pen letters, more than one death, and a plethora of viable red herrings, A Death at the Altar is an exciting read. At one point I shrieked ‘Noooooooo!’, and leapt out of my chair – you will know the precise spot when you get to it. And after all the deaths and mayhem of village life in Tinworthy, there is a very pleasant surprise at the end.
A Body at the Altar is easily read as a stand-alone.
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THE AUTHOR: Dee MacDonald wrote her very first book – at around seven years of age! This was a love story which she duly illustrated before sewing all the pages together up one side. Writing was what she ‘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.
Dee left Scotland and headed for London at the beginning of the swinging sixties. After typing her way round the West End she became an air stewardess on long haul routes with BA (then BOAC) for eight years. After that she did market research at Heathrow for both the government statistics and for BA, she became a sales rep and was the receptionist at the Thames Television Studios in Teddington when they had the franchise.
She then ran a small B&B for ten years in Cornwall, where she lives with her husband. Dee has one son and two grandsons who live locally.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of A Body at the Altar for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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