In 2021, I was introduced to Death in Paradise, a comedy-crime drama, created by Robert Thorogood. Over the last year and a half, I’ve watched all and loved most of the episodes. However, I was late in discovering that the creator has also authored a few books: four novels with Richard Poole (the first detective introduced in DiP) as the central character and an original series called The Marlow Murder Club. I was immediately drawn to the latter, the cover of which was styled like a crossword puzzle. The parallels to Agatha Christie and by extension Richard Osman are undeniable. The Marlow Murder Club was an amazing read. The characters are beyond lovely. We have Judith Potts, a seventy-seven-year-old puzzle setter; Becks Starling, the local vicar’s wife (it actually is relevant to her story to introduce Becks this way); and Suzie Harris, a dog-walker.
I was exceedingly lucky that just after I finished The Marlow Murder Club, I found the sequel Death Comes to Marlow on NetGalley. Now, I know sequels can be quite dicey. It was not a problem with Agatha Christie. I can pick up any book of Miss Marple’s, and they are all equally good. The Thursday Murder Club’s sequel The Man Who Died Twice was … okay. Not the best but intriguing enough. So, I went into Death Comes to Marlow with low expectations.
The day before his wedding, Sir Phillip Bailey is found crushed to death in his study. The police assume it’s an accident since the room was locked from the inside. Of course, our trio knows better. It’s murder. Specifically, a locked room murder (which is always intriguing). And of all things, it’s the faint smell of olive oil that prompts them to investigate the death more closely!
There will definitely be some readers smart enough to figure out the puzzle before the solution is revealed. Not me though, unfortunately. I was stumped, which is a good thing for someone who reads far too many mysteries. I do intend on rereading this book someday so I can pick up all the clues the author has peppered in.
I was also excited to meet the characters again, despite it being less than a few days since I had met them for the first time. When characters are built well, you are always happy to revisit them and see how their lives are moving along after the end of the first book. While we primarily follow Judith around, there’s not really much she had got up to between the two cases. Becks and Suzie had a lot going on, and I loved seeing them navigate their new situations.
Robert Thorogood has created some amazing and engaging characters, and they help this book rise above what might have otherwise been an average, good mystery. Death Comes to Marlow is a solid sequel, and I recommend reading The Marlow Murder Club first so you can meet the characters properly and go on this journey with them.
Thank you NetGalley and HQ for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.