Review: A ROYAL MURDER, Sandra Winter-Dewhirst

  • this edition published by Wakefield Press March 2018
  • ISBN 978-1-74305-524-3
  • 229 pages
  • #2 in the Rebecca Keith series
  • source: review copy supplied by the publisher

Synopsis (Wakefield Press)

The duffle bag appeared to be made from expensive silk, embossed with what Rebecca thought was Chinese calligraphy. She was in no doubt that the bag contained a body. The protruding bloodied leg was a giveaway.

A macabre murder during the Women’s Australian Open golf tournament at one of Australia’s most prestigious golf courses sees food and wine journalist and amateur golfer Rebecca Keith on the murder trail once more. Fortunately, Rebecca’s sleuthing takes her on a journey of eating and drinking through many of Adelaide’s bars and restaurants. Little
does Rebecca know that her visits to nearby Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island will reveal clues that will become crucial in the hunt for a killer.

A Royal Murder, a light-hearted thriller full of intrigue and betrayal, features a full cast of eccentric characters set against the rich backdrop of South Australia and its lush food and wine culture.

My Take

I couldn’t resist taking a look at Sandra Winter-Dewhirst’s second offering, particularly as it is set in my hometown and she is a “local” author. She does a good job of spruiking local tourist attractions, both physical places, and popular events, and local readers will enjoy being able to visualise where the action is taking place.

It is a light hearted romp laced with a bit of romance, some quirky humour, and a trio of murders. As the blurb says, there are a range of eccentric characters, and semi-believable scenarios.

A satisfying read.

My rating: 4.2

I’ve also read THE POPEYE MURDER

About the author
A journalist for more than thirty years, Sandra Winter-Dewhirst spent ten years as the state director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in South Australia, overseeing television, radio, and online production. Educated at Adelaide University and the University of South Australia, graduating with degrees in the arts and journalism, she has sat on a range of arts boards and media advisory councils. Sandra has a passion for food and wine and, when time permits, tries to hit a golf ball.

Her first novel in the Rebecca Keith series is The Popeye Murder. For more information and for news about the next book, visit myadelaidehome.blogspot.com.au.

Review: THE POPEYE MURDER, Sandra Winter Dewhirst

  • format: kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 573 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Publication Date: August 25, 2015
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B014GP4Y0Q
  • source: I bought it

Synopsis (Amazon)

Rebecca Keith is the editor of “Taste”, the food and wine supplement in Adelaide’s daily newspaper.

Joining a throng of reporters and chefs aboard a local ferryboat called The Popeye to mark the launch of the Australian Food Festival, the gathered crowd is shocked when one of the city’s top chefs is found murdered in a macabre way. Rebecca and the other guests are immediately tagged as suspects to the crime, but in a strange twist of fate, Rebecca is also assigned by her newspaper to cover the murder. Faced with this strange ethical dilemma, she soon finds herself wrapped up in interviews and investigations that put her face-to-face with a host of suspects—and grave mortal danger.

For fans of Kerry Greenwood’s Phyrne Fisher Murder Series and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Poirot, The Popeye Murder: A Rebecca Keith Mystery is a lighthearted tale set against the backdrop of the quirky, yet rich culture of one of Australia’s most beloved coastal cities.

My Take

For me the main attraction of this novel was the setting in my home town. I was hooked right from the start, particularly when I discovered the initial murder victim was based on a “real” chef (my brain kept wanting to use his real name). So, like other locals who will read this, I played “spot the place” and “spot the person” all the way through. I don’t think it will even matter if you are not normally a crime fiction reader. The story is a bit of a hoot.  I’m sure there were a lot of “in jokes” that I missed, but that didn’t matter really either. It is a story that will sync more with Adelaide readers too.

The novel uses a broad canvas of Adelaide culture: food and wine festivals, Popeye boats, olive groves in the parklands, greyhound racing, wineries, the Advertiser newspaper, the Central Market, and much more. Against this background a cozy murder mystery which begins with a grisly discovery in congenial surroundings, and a central character that every female reader with easily relate to.

I thought the author lost her way a bit towards the end, wasn’t quite sure how to draw all the final threads together, and the last few pages felt a bit rushed. But I enjoyed it.

My rating: 3.9

About the author
A journalist for more than 30 years, Sandra spent 10 years as the state
director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in South Australia,
overseeing a branch of 350 people across television, radio, and online
production. Educated at Adelaide University and the University of South Australia and graduating with degrees in the arts and journalism, she has sat on a range of arts
boards and advisory councils within the media industry. In 2008 she was named one of South Australia’s 50 most influential people by Adelaide’s daily paper, The Advertiser. Sandra has a passion for food and wine and all things Adelaide and South Australian. For more information, visit http://www.myadelaidehome.blogspot.com.au and
https://www.facebook.com/myadelaidehome.