Books: A Perfect Time to Murder

A Perfect Time to Murder by N.R. Daws is an easy and comfortable winter-time read. It breaks one of the fundamental rules of whodunnits but it’s well-written and the characters and plot work well so I recommend it as an easy weekend read.

It is January 1941 and Det Inspector Kember has been called to investigate a suspicious death at a coal mine in Kent. Air Force pilot, Lizzie Hayes is grounded and follows Kember to help. Kember applies his logical detective training while Hayes applies her forensic psychology training. (The psychology is highly dubious, but it makes for a good story, so we’ll forgive it.)

Almost all the staff at the mine has cause to kill the victim. Navigating a coal mine/colliery in the snow, during a war with blackouts and surrounded by possible killers puts Kember and Hays at risk and they make several narrow escapes before help arrives.

As a whodunit, A Perfect Time to Murder rather fails because it breaks some of the rules. The reader isn’t given all the clues and without them, there was no way to work out who the killer was before the grand reveal at the end of the book. Agatha Christie would not approve! But as a light piece of historical fiction, set in a quaint setting and time, it works fine. The characters are interesting and agreeable and the plot ticks along at an easy pace. The writing is accurate and so the entire book is a comfortable winter read.  

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