All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: A Royal Murder by Sandra Winter-Dewhirst

on March 21, 2018

A Royal Murder (Rebecca Keith Mystery #2)
Sandra Winter-Dewhirst
Wakefield Press
2018, 240p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

The duffle bag appeared to be made from expensive silk, embossed with what Rebecca thought was Chinese calligraphy. She was in no doubt that the bag contained a body. The protruding bloodied leg was a giveaway.

A macabre murder during the Women’s Australian Open golf tournament at one of Australia’s most prestigious golf courses sees food and wine journalist and amateur golfer Rebecca Keith on the murder trail once more. Fortunately, Rebecca’s sleuthing takes her on a journey of eating and drinking through many of Adelaide’s bars and restaurants. Little does Rebecca know that her visits to nearby Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island will reveal clues that will become crucial in the hunt for a killer.

A Royal Murder, a light-hearted thriller full of intrigue and betrayal, features a full cast of eccentric characters set against the rich backdrop of South Australia and its lush food and wine culture.

This is the second novel in this series and I liked it quite a bit more than the first novel. Rebecca is volunteering at the Women’s Australian Golf Open, which is being held at a course in South Australia when one of the world’s top golfers throws a dummy spit after spotting a snake. That same golfer ends up in a bag on the railway tracks a short time later.

Rebecca is once again right in the middle of things, discovering bodies, getting copy written and sent to her boss and yet no one really seems to think it’s at all suspicious that she’s discovered about what must be half a dozen bodies by now in the shortest amount of time!

I really do quite enjoy the setting in these books. I’ve never been to South Australia and it’s nice to explore not only Adelaide but also parts of the Barossa Valley and in this book Rebecca also takes a trip to Kangaroo Island, which is a place I wouldn’t mind visiting at some stage. I like the banter between Rebecca’s mismatched friends as well. The three of them might not be the savviest investigators going around but they do seem to stumble on a remarkable amount of information. Perhaps Rebecca has missed her true calling because she doesn’t seem to spend a lot of time in these books doing her actual job of editing the food and wine supplement – instead she keeps getting encouraged to be more like a crime/features writer, covering all these dead bodies as they’re happening, because she’s the one discovering them all. It wasn’t made clear in this book but sometimes it felt like Rebecca’s early scoop involved the identification of them, especially when one of them was a high ranked female professional golfer. She seemed to have the story way before anyone else obviously, as the other press weren’t even aware anything had happened but surely she couldn’t actually identify anyone in an article until the body was formally identified and next of kin had been notified?

Rebecca and Gary are still dancing around each other – their developing relationship is kind of an interesting one because it’s also a bit uneven. Gary is an official police officer, a detective and he basically insists that Rebecca share information she comes across with him but doesn’t give her anything back. This irritates Rebecca, who clearly thinks that they should be operating under some sort of equal distribution of information rule, completely forgetting that she’s not actually a police officer and it’s probably not even permissible for Gary to actually divulge information to her. I do like their conversations though. They’re both very smart and their word games are fun. Rebecca sometimes thinks she’s a bit cleverer than Gary I think – but he surprises her in the end.

It felt like this book was quite a bit tighter, story wise, than the first one. Less tangents, less information about everything Rebecca wears, eats and does (although given her job, there’s still descriptions of food, etc). The mystery was interesting and kept me involved – there were a few bits and pieces I didn’t really expect. And Rebecca and Gary continue to move forward so I think I’ll be keen to read the third book in this series, when it’s released.


Book #52 of 2018


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