Alice Green a beekeeper who sells her honey at the local farmers market is worried when her best friend goes missing, and the police are called.
The true protagonist of this tale is Harriet Taylor the young female Scottish police officer who befriends Alice. Then in the space of a week half a body is found by a trawler at first though to be shark attack but later proved to be a body dump of a week old corpse. Then one stormy night, a local man’s home is engulfed in fire caused by a gas explosion ignited by the lightning and at first looks like an accident or suicide, but then proved otherwise. These things just don’t happen in this sleepy village.
The character of Alice, the beekeeper of the title is central to this book. She is eccentric and I love the fact that she has, a very intelligent Jackdaw who she rescued as a pet who keeps on saying appropriate if embarrassing words at unexpected moments “Idiot”.
I read this book in a day, the pacing is excellent and there seems to be something happening to drive the story onward constantly without it being exhausting. I found it fairly difficult to put down. I think the author intended it to be simple for us the reader to guess who was behind these murders due to big clues given to the reader and not the police in the first few chapters.
The internal politics that happen when as expected after what they think may be a serial killer on the loose the big guns from Exeter are called in much to the annoyance and chagrin of the local plod. I also found the extensive glossary at the back of British terms for American audiences to be eye opening, as I didn’t find the language very colloquial but then I am a UK native.
The narration is an all knowing third person which is different for a mystery novel as we have more information than the ones solving the case.
I would recommend this book to anybody who doesn’t mind their mysteries being simple I felt it was a device to make us feel more concerned and frustrated for the unwitting police who didn’t have the information we did. I really felt that Harriet Smith was a great and well rounded character as the protagonist and I would like to read more about her in the future.
I received this book as an E-ARC from Netgalley for an honest review which I hope I have given.
About the Author
Steward Giles is an experienced author, but not widely read. His background seems to be flunking from several UK universities then moving to South Africa where he remains, writing and running a boat shop. This is the first of his books that I have read however. He has written the 10 book series about a detective called Jason Smith all of which seems to be well received by the few that have read them.