Death in a Blackout by Jessica Ellicott

EXCERPT: When the rumors about women on the force had started to fly about, he had understood that they would be relegated to desk duties such as filing and typing. Perhaps they would be allowed to occasionally operate the switchboard when the police messenger boys were on their tea break. Everyone had assumed that the sort of woman who would be appointed to such a role would be an entirely benign, accommodating and compliant person who faded in the background, much like a desk lamp or filing cabinet. She would be the sort of woman who would cheerfully make pots of tea and offer round plates of biscuits when the troops seemed to be flagging.

She would certainly not be the type who boldly confronted one with wild imaginings in the midst of a crisis. How on earth did a newcomer from some backwater in Wiltshire end up as only one of two women on the constabulary of an important port city like Hull?

ABOUT ‘DEATH IN A BLACKOUT’: The first in a brand-new WWII historical mystery series introduces WPC Billie Harkness – a female police officer who risks her life to protect the home front in the British coastal city of Hull. 1940. Britain is at war. Rector’s daughter Wilhelmina Harkness longs to do her duty for her country, but when her strict mother forbids her to enlist, their bitter argument has devasting consequences. Unable to stay in the village she loves, Wilhelmina – reinventing herself as Billie – spends everything she has on a one-way ticket up north. Hull is a distant, dangerous city, but Billie is determined to leave her painful memories behind and start afresh, whatever the cost. The last thing Billie expects on her first evening in Hull, however, is to be caught in the city’s first air raid – or to stumble across the body of a young woman, suspiciously untouched by debris. If the air raid didn’t kill the glamorous stranger, what did? Billie is determined to get justice, and her persistence earns her an invitation to the newly formed Women’s Police Constabulary. But as the case unfolds, putting her at odds with both high-ranking members of the force as well as the victim’s powerful family, Billie begins to wonder if she can trust her new friends and colleagues . . . or if someone amongst them is working for the enemy.

MY THOUGHTS: Although I have taken quite a liking to cosy mysteries in recent times, I found Death in a Blackout just a little too ‘vanilla’, too bland. The plot allows for far more potential than is delivered, and the characters are all rather one dimensional. I would have liked to have had more of an insight into Billie’s personality, whereas the author barely scratches the surface. We know that she is brave, fleet of foot, and has a sharp and enquiring mind. But there is nothing ‘personal’ revealed about her, nothing to endear her to us. She needs more fleshing out, as does part-time Constable Peter Upton. The most personal thing we know about him is his mum makes good scones. However as this is a new series, perhaps the characters will develop as it progresses.

Although this novel is ‘inspired by the extraordinary bravery, stalwartness and community spirit of the people of Hull, the second most bombed city in England in WWII’, this spirit doesn’t come across and I didn’t find enough of interest in Death in a Blackout to entice me to continue with the series.


#DeathinaBlackout #NetGalley

I: @jessicaellicottauthor @severnhouseimprint

T: #JessicaEllicott @severnhouse

#cosymystery #historicalfiction #murdermystery #WWII

THE AUTHOR: Jessica Ellicott loves fountain pens, Mini Coopers, and throwing parties. She lives in northern New England where she obsessively knits wool socks and enthusiastically speaks Portuguese with a shocking disregard for the rules of grammar.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Death in a Blackout by Jessica Ellicott for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and

Author: sandysbookaday

I love good quality chocolate. I love the ocean and love to be in, on or beside it. I read any and every where. I am a proud mum and Nana. I like wine, gin, Southern Comfort, a cold Heineken on a hot day. I am very versatile like that. I cross stitch, do jigsaws, garden, and work on a farm. I am an occasional scribbler. I have far too many books I want to read to ever find the time to die. I am an active member of Goodreads as Sandy *the world could end while I was reading and I would never notice* and review on Amazon under the name Sandyj21. My Goodreads reviews are automatically linked to my Facebook page. Groups I belong to and participate in on Goodreads include: The Mystery, Crime and Thriller Group; Mysteries and Crime Thrillers; Psychological Thrillers; Reading for Pleasure; Crime Detective Mystery Thrillers; English Mysteries; Dead Good Crime; Kindle English Mystery, All About Books and NZ Readers. April 2016 I made the Top 1% of Goodreads reviewers (As follows) Hello Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*, In our community of readers, you stand out in a notable way: You're one of the top 1% of reviewers on Goodreads! With every rave and every pan, with every excited GIF and every critical assessment, you've helped the Goodreads community get closer to a very important milestone – the 50 Million Reviews mark!

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