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Review of 'Murder at Waldenmere Lake' - Michelle Salter

Murder at Waldenmere Lake

A murder shocks the small town of Walden. And it’s only the beginning…

Walden, 1921. Local reporter Iris Woodmore is determined to save her beloved lake, Waldenmere, from destruction.

After a bloody and expensive war, the British Army can’t afford to keep the lake and build a convalescent home on its shores yet they still battle with Walden Council and a railway company for ownership. But an old mansion used as an officer training academy stands where the railway company plans to build a lakeside hotel. It belongs to General Cheverton – and he won’t leave his home.

When the General is found murdered, it appears someone will stop at nothing to win the fight for Waldenmere. Iris thinks she can take on the might of the railway company and find the killer. But nothing prepares her for the devastation that’s to come…

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I almost don't know where to start with my review for this book. There is so much packed into it that it's difficult to know what to comment on first. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish and it kept me guessing right to the end. I correctly guessed that one character would turn out to not be quite what they seemed to be, but just as I was congratulating myself on being a good armchair detective, a curve ball was added to the mix and this totally threw me. It was an inspired move because suddenly I cared much more about what was going on and it opened up whole new possibilities with regard to the original incident.

However, this book is not just about crime and detection. There are an awful lot of sub-plots and themes going on as well and this serves the main drama very well. There are references to all kinds of wartime hangovers - people who cannot settle in one place, shell shock victims, officers who were unsuited for command, class snobbery, environmental concerns, big business vs the underdog.... The list goes on!!! All of these things combine to create a realistic portrayal of life in Britain post WW1 and to lift the book beyond a straightforward crime drama.

I also loved that the heroine, Iris, is not a detective. By casting her in the role of journalist, she has an excuse to go nosying around in places she shouldn't be and can legitimately claim she is simply doing her job. The book also deals with the fact that after the war, not all women wanted to go back to their previous roles - suffrage (both suffragist and suffragette) get a mention - and I cheered when Iris said she didn't want to get married because she didn't want to become the property of a man. She is absolutely of her time, as are the attitudes around her, but she still manages to embrace enough of the 21st century woman for me not to get annoyed with her.

Michelle Salter is a historical crime fiction writer based in northeast Hampshire. Many local locations appear in her mystery novels. She's also a copywriter and has written features for national magazines. When she’s not writing, Michelle can be found knee-deep in mud at her local nature reserve. She enjoys working with a team of volunteers undertaking conservation activities.

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This is a series I will definitely be coming back to and I look forward to seeing where Iris' adventures take her next. You can check out what other readers thought on the blog tour. Details below!

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