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Review Of 'The Body At Carnival Bridge' - Michelle Salter

How deadly is the fight for equality?

It’s 1922, and after spending a year travelling through Europe, Iris Woodmore returns home to find a changed Walden. Wealthy businesswoman Constance Timpson has introduced equal pay in her factories and allows women to retain their jobs after they marry.

But these radical new working practices have made her deadly enemies.

A mysterious sniper fires a single shot at Constance – is it a warning, or did they shoot to kill? When one of her female employees is murdered, it’s clear the threat is all too real – and it’s not just Constance in danger.

As amateur sleuth Iris investigates, she realises the sniper isn’t the only hidden enemy preying on women.

This is the third book in the series and the character of Iris Woodmore is developing nicely. This instalment is all about change: Iris' father has a new relationship and this alters her relationship with him, society is changing and not everyone can (or wants to) cope with that and Iris herself has changed. Although she has always seemed confident on the outside, this time we are given the distinct impression that she is more at peace with herself. The loss of her mother still troubles her (I'm not sure anyone ever really 'gets over' the loss of a parent, especially at such a young age) but she is more at ease with the kind of young woman she wants to be. She knows that society will judge her for the decisions she has made, but whilst this might bother her superficially, she does not care for their opinions, knowing she made the decisions that were right for her at the time. However, it is the change in her friendships that really strike at Iris in this book. Both Percy and Ben take on a much more important role in previous books and we begin to see just how much Iris values both their friendship and their good opinion. I'm starting to form some ideas about where those relationship arcs may end up, so it will be interesting to see if I'm right as the series progresses.

I said in my review of 'Murder at Waldenmere Lake' that one of the reasons I liked this series so much was because it doesn't shy away from tackling the darker side of 1920s society and this continues in 'Carnival Bridge'. So many social issues are woven into the plot and they're not just tacked on to make the story more authentic to the time, they are genuinely integral to the motivations of the characters and the lives they lead. In reading them, it feels as though we are being brought into a very realistic 1920s, not the more Downton Abbey style of story. (Don't get me wrong, I love Downton Abbey and the light and fluffy version of the 1920s we often get, but sometimes it's also nice to have something a bit more gritty and realistic.)

I look forward with keen anticipation to Iris' next adventure!

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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Wendy Bloom
Wendy Bloom
11 maj 2023

More additions to my To Read pile! Thank you, this series sounds very appealing to me too.

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