Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire (Betty Church Mystery, #1)
Brilliant new series from the author of The Mangle Street Murders, perfect for readers of Agatha Christie, Jasper Fforde and M.C. Beaton. September 1939. A new day dawns in Sackwater, not that this sleepy backwater is taking much notice... Inspector Betty Church – one of the few female officers on the force – has arrived from London to fill a vacancy at Sackwater police station. But Betty isn't new here. This is the place she grew up. The place she thought she'd left behind for good. Time ticks slowly in Sackwater, and crime is of a decidedly lighter shade. Having solved the case of the missing buttons, Betty's called to the train station to investigate a missing bench. But though there's no bench, there is a body. A smartly dressed man, murdered in broad daylight, with two distinctive puncture wounds in his throat. While the locals gossip about the Suffolk Vampire, Betty Church readies herself to hunt a dangerous killer.

Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire (Betty Church Mystery, #1) Details

TitleBetty Church and the Suffolk Vampire (Betty Church Mystery, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 12th, 2018
PublisherHead of Zeus
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical Mystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Crime, Fiction, Detective

Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire (Betty Church Mystery, #1) Review

  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    This joyful novel is set in 1939. Our heroine is Betty Church, who was forced to leave the Metropolitan Police when she becomes a part amputee; losing part of her arm. She turns for help to her Godmother, March Middleton, who will be familiar to readers of the Gower Street Detective series. March Middleton is elderly now, but still influential enough to keep Betty in the job that she loves, although she is shuttled off to Sackwater, her childhood home in Suffolk. A promotion to Inspector helps s This joyful novel is set in 1939. Our heroine is Betty Church, who was forced to leave the Metropolitan Police when she becomes a part amputee; losing part of her arm. She turns for help to her Godmother, March Middleton, who will be familiar to readers of the Gower Street Detective series. March Middleton is elderly now, but still influential enough to keep Betty in the job that she loves, although she is shuttled off to Sackwater, her childhood home in Suffolk. A promotion to Inspector helps soften what is, in reality, a step down in the career she loves. Still, it has to be said that Betty is always positive and she intends to make the best of things. War is on the horizon and Sackwater is near the coast and preparing for possible invasion. Still, the crime rate is not high – well, at least, not until Betty arrives. Before long, there are a string of murders and all of the victims have puncture wounds to the throat – suggesting that a vampire is on the loose. What makes this gentle, funny mystery so enjoyable are the characters. Betty is brave and resourceful and the inhabitants of Sackwater are delightfully eccentric. There is the sergeant that Betty first confused for a corpse, the hypochondriac Constable Rivers, Dr Edward ‘Tubby’ Gretham and the wonderful, delightfully named, Police Constable Dodo Chivers, whose conversation goes something like, “Bicycles are a teensy-weensy bit too wibbly-wobberly for little old me,” and who quickly replaces Betty in her parents affections. I hope that this becomes a series as I look forward to reading more about Betty Church and the inhabitants of Sackwater. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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  • Dash fan
    January 1, 1970
    4☆ A Fun Crime MysteryBetty Church and the Suffolk Vampire is the first book in what I have a feeling is going to be a great series!I am a big fan of vampire books and reading Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire was a refreshing change. Normally it's manipulation, sex, lust, power, murder with vamp books.But this book had a unique feel. It's more of a crime caper/ mystery with some comedy moments & mishaps.First of all Betty Church isn't your average police women. She has an amputee from pa 4☆ A Fun Crime MysteryBetty Church and the Suffolk Vampire is the first book in what I have a feeling is going to be a great series!I am a big fan of vampire books and reading Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire was a refreshing change. Normally it's manipulation, sex, lust, power, murder with vamp books.But this book had a unique feel. It's more of a crime caper/ mystery with some comedy moments & mishaps.First of all Betty Church isn't your average police women. She has an amputee from part of her arm. Which makes her incredibly brave, strong, fearless and determined.She has been moved to become an inspector at Sackwater, her hometown.Betty is set to investigate a series of murders, all with one thing in common..... puncture wounds.... fang marks. So exciting... A Vampire on the Lose.But can Betty and her quirky team catch The Suffolk Vampire before it's too late?The characters are quirky, a tad eccentric, but Betty is the gel that holds them together. I really liked her character.The length is a little on the long side which can come across as a lil off putting but there is enough going on to keep the reader entertained. Although personally I would of preferred it a lil shorter.This is definitely a series I'm looking forward to discovering what is next in-store for Betty Church and her eccentric team.Thank you to Head of Zeus for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.My Review is also on my Blog Website:-https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/2018/0...
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    Well, I don’t know about any of her police colleagues, but it didn’t take melong to have complete confidence that Inspector Betty Church could solve the mystery – or anything else she put her mind to, come to that.   After all her godmother is the redoubtable March Middleton (from the author’s The Gower Street Detective series) who learned a thing or two about detection from guardian and mentor, Sidney Grice.    And Betty’s had to overcome the loss of her arm in an accident, making her a sort of Well, I don’t know about any of her police colleagues, but it didn’t take melong to have complete confidence that Inspector Betty Church could solve the mystery – or anything else she put her mind to, come to that.   After all her godmother is the redoubtable March Middleton (from the author’s The Gower Street Detective series) who learned a thing or two about detection from guardian and mentor, Sidney Grice.    And Betty’s had to overcome the loss of her arm in an accident, making her a sort of female equivalent of J K Rowling’s Cormoran Strike.It’s no coincidence that Sackwater rhymes with ‘backwater’.  As Betty observes, ‘Nothing much had changed but nothing ever did in the slow death that passed for life in Sackwater’. With its main street of small shops and tea rooms it put me in mind of Walmington-on-Sea, the fictional seaside town in the BBC TV series Dad’s Army. Betty needs all her wits about her because the rest of the police officers at Sackwater Central are not so much Dad’s Army as Keystones Cops.    By turn, hopeless, cowardly, incompetent and intellectually challenged, the best of them is probably WPC Dodo Chivers.  And that’s not saying much because she is a bit dotty and, I’m afraid to this reader, slightly irritating. However, that didn’t stop some of Dodo’s ditsy comments making me laugh out loud.  “I had an aunt who was deaf… It made it very difficult for her to hear.”   Betty is independent-minded, courageous and resourceful and has a nice line in putdowns and one-liners.    She’s a woman determined to succeed in what is, for the time being, a man’s world.  In fact, she’s confident she can succeed where her male counterparts will fail.  “When policemen tremble, we stand firm”, she confidently states.   Betty’s certainly going to need to stand firm because pretty soon the bodies start to pile up, in increasingly gruesome fashion, and rumours start to fly around Sackwater.  As that illustrious organ, the East Anglian Chronicle, reports ‘Suffolk Gripped in Vampire Terror’.  ‘And I had thought we only had the Nazis to worry about’, observes Betty ruefully.I’ll confess I did find myself wishing that Betty could find herself at least one capable sidekick to help in her investigations.  The nearest she gets to anyone genuinely helpful  is the editor of the local newspaper, Tobias Gregson, with his ‘cobalt blue eyes’ and ‘winning smile’.  Hmm, romance in the air possibly?The book has all of the trademark humour that fans of the author’s previous series have grown to love.  At one point, Betty recalls, ‘I used to go out with a musician – a pianist – until it became obvious I wasn’t the only piece in his repertoire’.  I did rather miss the random allusions to Sherlock Holmes stories from The Gower Street Detective series but, for the observant reader, there is consolation in the form of a reference to Ian Fleming’s most famous creation and the precursor of a scene from a well-known film starring Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson.  And probably a few more that I missed…Although nearly five hundred pages, the book‘s short chapters help to create an impression of pace.  The author has some fun with the chapter titles.  I particularly liked ‘The Mangled Sheep Murder‘, which I fancied was a play on the title of the first book in The Gower Street Detective series, The Mangle Street Murders.Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire is a lively, fun and spirited read with a great protagonist and enlivened by the author’s zesty humour.  I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Head of Zeus, in return for an honest and unbiased review.
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  • Elaine Tomasso
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank Netgalley and Heads of Zeus for an advance copy of Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire, a police procedural set in 1939.Reluctant to leave the police after losing part of her arm Betty Church's only option is to transfer from the Met to The Suffolk town of Sackwater where she grew up. To soften the blow, after the intervention of her Godmother, the famous investigator March Middleton, she is promoted to Inspector. Sackwater is not a hotbed of crime until the murders start I would like to thank Netgalley and Heads of Zeus for an advance copy of Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire, a police procedural set in 1939.Reluctant to leave the police after losing part of her arm Betty Church's only option is to transfer from the Met to The Suffolk town of Sackwater where she grew up. To soften the blow, after the intervention of her Godmother, the famous investigator March Middleton, she is promoted to Inspector. Sackwater is not a hotbed of crime until the murders start and Betty is in the case of her life, hunting a killer the locals believe is a vampire.I enjoyed Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire which is a fun read with some dastardly crimes thrown in. Sackwater Central is not a model of police efficiency, in fact it has been referred to as a "dumping ground", so the efficient Betty has her work cut out trying to weld a motley bunch of incompetents into effective crime fighters. She is not perhaps as efficient in this as she would like but it is fun watching her try.The plot is extremely silly but it is well conceived and imaginative. My one complaint is that it is a bit long so the initially amusing inept police officers become a one trick pony and tiresome by the end. With most of the novel taken up by Betty's efforts to deal with this ineptitude the crime element gets a bit lost in the chaos. And yet there are some comedic gems in amongst it all, not least Betty's withering put downs which had me laughing out loud at times.With a first person narrative the novel centres on Betty, a woman in a man's world. She is capable and well able to look after herself, despite the oddballs who surround her. I found the rules regarding women police officers that she has to work with very indicative of the times if they are true, like no night shift in case they incite carnal desires in the men! The author manages to make fun of this and many other examples. Betty Church is a wonderful creation and I'd like to read more about her. 3.5*
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  • Connie
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Sidney Grice and March Middleton in the Gower Street detective series, so couldn't wait to read MRC Kasasian 's new book Betty Church And The Suffolk Vampire. It's filled with the same humour and has a cast of crazy characters, with a gruesome murder or two thrown in for good measure.It's 1939 and Betty Church - one of the few female police officers - finds herself back in Sackwater the place she grew up, investigating a string of murders where the victims have puncture wounds to the thr I loved Sidney Grice and March Middleton in the Gower Street detective series, so couldn't wait to read MRC Kasasian 's new book Betty Church And The Suffolk Vampire. It's filled with the same humour and has a cast of crazy characters, with a gruesome murder or two thrown in for good measure.It's 1939 and Betty Church - one of the few female police officers - finds herself back in Sackwater the place she grew up, investigating a string of murders where the victims have puncture wounds to the throat which the locals believe is the work of the Suffolk Vampire. I loved this.
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  • Sid Nuncius
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't get on well with this book, I'm afraid. It's the first Kasasian I have read and may well be the last.Set in 1939, Sgt. Betty Church has lost half her left arm and is promoted to inspector and sent to her home town in Suffolk to get her out of the way. Suffolk has never admitted female police officers so…well, you can probably guess the welcome she receives. There is a lot of local "colour" and lots of improbable murders happen, but I never had the sense of any sort of developing, involv I didn't get on well with this book, I'm afraid. It's the first Kasasian I have read and may well be the last.Set in 1939, Sgt. Betty Church has lost half her left arm and is promoted to inspector and sent to her home town in Suffolk to get her out of the way. Suffolk has never admitted female police officers so…well, you can probably guess the welcome she receives. There is a lot of local "colour" and lots of improbable murders happen, but I never had the sense of any sort of developing, involving story.Part of the problem is that although Betty is a fairly engaging narrator and her feminism and toughness are fine qualities, the other characters are a parade of annoyingly pantomimic stereotypes: the unspeakably sexist, vulgar, incompetent, drunken, halitosis-ridden fellow-inspector, for example, or Dido, who combines all the worst aspects of Madeleine Bassett and Violet Elizabeth Bott, but without the brilliant comedic touch of either. She became unreadably annoying very quickly – which is a real problem in an almost incessant presence. This, coupled with the sense of just wading through descriptions with little narrative drive, meant that The Suffolk Vampire became a chore for me. I stuck it out for about half the book, but couldn't face 400-odd pages of this stuff and skimmed most of the rest.Plainly, Kasasian's books have been popular, but this really wasn't for me. It's decently written, but I found it tedious and unfunny and can't recommend it.
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  • booksofallkinds
    January 1, 1970
    This was my first time reading anything by M.R.C. Kasasian so I wasn't sure what to expect from this mystery but it charmed me from the very first page and as all excellent novels should, left me wanting more so I really hope there are more adventures in store for Betty Church and her colleagues.It is 1939 and when Betty Church loses part of her arm in the line of duty, she finds herself relegated back to her quiet hometown of Sackwater, albeit with a promotion to soften the blow. Betty understa This was my first time reading anything by M.R.C. Kasasian so I wasn't sure what to expect from this mystery but it charmed me from the very first page and as all excellent novels should, left me wanting more so I really hope there are more adventures in store for Betty Church and her colleagues.It is 1939 and when Betty Church loses part of her arm in the line of duty, she finds herself relegated back to her quiet hometown of Sackwater, albeit with a promotion to soften the blow. Betty understands that petty crime will be the order of the day but being in uniform as a female officer is everything she has ever wanted and she is determined to give her all to every case. But it isn't long before her job becomes a lot more interesting when two murders occur in quick succession and there are rumours of a vampire on the loose ... Add in the tension from a country on the brink of war, some quirky and crazy characters that would test anyone's patience, and a dangerous killer and BETTY CHURCH AND THE SUFFOLK VAMPIRE by M.R.C. Kasasian is everything I wanted from a mystery and more.The characters and setting in this story really come alive and Betty is the best of them all - strong, capable, feisty, intelligent, and determined, she has all of the traits that make a reader really connect with a character, and she is witty too. I laughed many times while reading this story (when you get to know Constable Dodo you will see why) and the drama and intrigue of the plot kept me hooked from start to finish. ​This is an old-fashioned whodunnit with refreshing and energetic characters and plenty of surprises along the way. I really hope there will be more from Betty Church and in the meantime I will treat myself to M.R.C. Kasasian's backlist. *I voluntarily reviewed this book from the Publisher
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Having read some of the Gower Street detective series also by M. R. C. Kasasian. I was intrigued to find out about this new series.Set in 1939, Betty Church returns to her hometown of Sackwater to become the new Inspector at the local police constabulary. They’re not keen on her arrival as firstly, the police force is a man’s world and the men are a bit prejudiced as she is female and they think she should be at home. But, also after an accident she has lost one of her arms.She leads an investig Having read some of the Gower Street detective series also by M. R. C. Kasasian. I was intrigued to find out about this new series.Set in 1939, Betty Church returns to her hometown of Sackwater to become the new Inspector at the local police constabulary. They’re not keen on her arrival as firstly, the police force is a man’s world and the men are a bit prejudiced as she is female and they think she should be at home. But, also after an accident she has lost one of her arms.She leads an investigation of several grisly murders, were the victims die after two puncture wounds in their necks. When the local gossipers and the local paper and gets wind of the murders, they nickname the killer ‘the Suffolk vampire’.I loved this book and if you love Agatha Christie type novels this book is for you. I loved the different characters in the police team and some were very silly and there is a lot a lot of humour in this story too. But I liked the story that way, as this made the story more original. This is a great book with many twists and turns and dead ends. This author has written this really well as it is quite a long book but for me it didn’t feel that way as how the book is written.Thank you Head of Zeus and Netgalley for an ARC of this book.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    It’s brilliant. I enjoyed Betty Church and The Suffolk Vampire so much I only wish I could write a review to do it justice. MRC Kasasian is a very clever writer with a distinctive and individual voice. He can tell a good story. His characters are completely original and at the same time believable. His brilliant plotting has events and ‘clues’ feeding back in, and, after some masterly misdirection, the story arrives at a logical, convincing and satisfying conclusion as a truly good mystery story It’s brilliant. I enjoyed Betty Church and The Suffolk Vampire so much I only wish I could write a review to do it justice. MRC Kasasian is a very clever writer with a distinctive and individual voice. He can tell a good story. His characters are completely original and at the same time believable. His brilliant plotting has events and ‘clues’ feeding back in, and, after some masterly misdirection, the story arrives at a logical, convincing and satisfying conclusion as a truly good mystery story does.It satisfies as historical fiction too as the characters speak and behave as they might have in the 1939. I was delighted that the language, values and beliefs feel true to its time and place rather than 21st century. (I am old enough and have watched enough black and white movies to know what it was like long ago!) And then there are cultural references that add to the richness of the book that I won’t mention in detail so as not to spoil the delicious moments of reading them.To cap it all Mr Kasasian does humour so well – gentle humour and laugh aloud moments which he then sometimes undercuts in the subtlest way with great poignancy as we remember the backdrop of the previous war and the war about to start. A truly gifted writer.I was sad when The Gower Street Detective Series came to an end so I was pleased to find March Middleton popping up as Betty’s godmother, and references to Sidney Grice too – gone but not forgotten. I was relieved and delighted that Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. I would find it very embarrassing to receive a proof copy and then not be able to write a good review! If you haven’t read The Gower Street Detective Series you are in for a treat. I am only sorry that there isn’t the next Betty Church mystery ready and waiting for me now. More please Mr Kasasaian and Head of Zeus!
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  • Michael Gallagher
    January 1, 1970
    The year is 1939 and, as Britain prepares for coming war, Betty Church prepares to return to her home town of Sackwater in coastal Suffolk to do battle of her own—as a police inspector, no less. How will she, a woman, be received into this traditionally male realm by her fellow officers?Fans of M. R. C. Kasasian’s Gower Street Detective series (of which I am one) will love his new creation. Not only is Betty Church logical and tough, she is also March Middleton’s godchild—a good thing, too, sinc The year is 1939 and, as Britain prepares for coming war, Betty Church prepares to return to her home town of Sackwater in coastal Suffolk to do battle of her own—as a police inspector, no less. How will she, a woman, be received into this traditionally male realm by her fellow officers?Fans of M. R. C. Kasasian’s Gower Street Detective series (of which I am one) will love his new creation. Not only is Betty Church logical and tough, she is also March Middleton’s godchild—a good thing, too, since she is about to face a most puzzling series of murders, which may or may not have something to do with one of her constables’ past.The cast of rude mechanicals in Betty’s charge ensures that Mr Kasasian can continue the absurdist comedy for which he is renowned. Be it the corpse she finds that turns out to be only her sleeping sergeant, or Woman Police Constable Dodo Chivers, who takes every statement quite literally, humour abounds. Where Dodo is concerned (like Mr Grice before her in the Gower Street novels), it can send conversations off at increasingly surreal tangents, which can require a careful reading if you’re to get the joke.Her bumbling colleagues aside though, Betty also has a wealth friends who are quietly but delightfully developed as characters—fixtures, I hope, for many journeys to come. I especially liked Captain Carmelo (her ex-boyfriend’s Maltese father), Jimmy (her ex-boyfriend’s nephew, who considers her to be his aunt), and Dr Tubby Gretham and his wife. There has even been speculation on Twitter that Mr Kasasian himself pops up in the role of Betty’s father, an unpopular dentist who can hardly be civil to his own daughter, let alone to his dwindling number of patients. As for the mystery element, there are some particularly grisly murders, a lot of blood, and an extremely enticing red herring. More than this I dare not say for fear of spoilers.One of the great pleasures of reading an M. R. C. Kasasian novel is that nothing will be quite as you imagine it should be, whether it’s a character’s name, their appearance, their background, or even their interpersonal relationships—and with Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire, Mr Kasasian takes this to a whole new level. Within the cozy mystery genre his voice is unique. If you delight in meeting a truly new kind of character, you will certainly delight in this. Be warned though; Victorian sensibilities are a thing of the past and the ripeness of some of the language may come as a shock.If you enjoy comedy like this, you might also enjoy (although they are not Crimes & Thrillers) James Hamilton-Patterson’s Cooking with Fernet Branca, Patrick Dennis’s Auntie Mame (or better still—if you can manage to get your hands on a copy—Little Me), and even perhaps Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall. Fans of the Grinder-Snipe twins will relish in Kenneth Williams and Charles Hawtrey’s Julian and Sandy from the vintage BBC radio series Round the Horne. Varder the big bona lallies on him!Many thanks to @MRCKASASIAN, Head of Zeus Books @HoZ_Books, #KasasianCrew, and #NetGalley for providing me with a reviewer’s galley proof.
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks Head of Zeus and netgalley for this ARC.M.R.C. Kasasian started a cool new series with ties to his Gower Street series. Loved Betty Church! No nonsense, in control with quirky crazy cast makes this a new series I can't wait to read more.
  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire by M.R.C. Kasasian starts in 1939. Betty Church was injured on the job and, if not for the assistance of her godmother, March Middleton, she would have been off the force. Instead, Betty gets a promotion (she is now an inspector) and transferred from London back to her hometown of Sackwater (the last place Betty would like to return to). Life moves at a slower pace in Sackwater and the officers at the Sackwater Central Police Station are lacking (let’s face i Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire by M.R.C. Kasasian starts in 1939. Betty Church was injured on the job and, if not for the assistance of her godmother, March Middleton, she would have been off the force. Instead, Betty gets a promotion (she is now an inspector) and transferred from London back to her hometown of Sackwater (the last place Betty would like to return to). Life moves at a slower pace in Sackwater and the officers at the Sackwater Central Police Station are lacking (let’s face it—it’s a dumping ground). Things get off to a roaring start when she arrives at the station to encounter a sleeping front desk officer, Frank Briggs, who distinctly resembles a corpse (creepy). Betty than proceeds to her parent’s home where she is told there is no room since they are taking in some East End refugees as part of a trial program (in other words, they are getting paid to do it). Betty has not been at her new posting long when Constable Dodo Chivers arrives a week early for her new position. Betty and Dodo go to check on Mr. Peatrie and find him dead at the bottom of his stairs. They notice two strange marks on his neck and Dodo is sure that a vampire has attacked him. This is just the beginning of the killing spree and the press dub the killer the “Suffolk Vampire”. Betty must calm down the locals who are taking precautions (the town has run out of garlic) while tracking down a dangerous murderer.Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire is well-written and a humorous novel. This is the type of book that my mother just loves (she laughed continually while reading it). Betty is a strong, intelligent resourceful woman who is not afraid of hard work and has the patience of Job. The townspeople and Betty’s co-workers are quirky (to put it mildly). Dodo Chivers is a unique personality who seamlessly fits into the Church household and wins the affections of Betty’s parents (they treat her better than Betty). The author managed to combine an amusing plot with dastardly deeds. M.R.C. Kasasian created imaginative characters that challenge Betty. I like how the author incorporated the rules from the time-period for female officers into the story (they could not work at night so as not to incite the desires of the male officers) as well as the attitudes of the male officers (misogynists). I like the authors descriptive writing style. The details help bring the scenes alive for me. Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire was a little over-the-top for my tastes. I thought the pace was a little slow and there was too much of Dodo (I wanted to wring her neck). Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire is British cozy mystery that will have you laughing from beginning to end. It is an unforgettable novel.
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  • Jo
    January 1, 1970
    It's 1939 and Inspector Betty Church has been relocated to the Suffolk coast after losing part of her arm in the course of her work with the Met. She grew up in the sleepy seaside town of Sackwater so she's familiar with the residents and the general goings on. When a series of shocking murders occur, Church and her police officers are in a race to discover the true identity of the fiend dubbed the Suffolk Vampire. This as a sort of cosy mystery with plenty of laughs to offset the murder. I love It's 1939 and Inspector Betty Church has been relocated to the Suffolk coast after losing part of her arm in the course of her work with the Met. She grew up in the sleepy seaside town of Sackwater so she's familiar with the residents and the general goings on. When a series of shocking murders occur, Church and her police officers are in a race to discover the true identity of the fiend dubbed the Suffolk Vampire. This as a sort of cosy mystery with plenty of laughs to offset the murder. I love Kasasian's writing but I did find myself highly irritated by Dodo. I like the character of our heroine who has to suffer all sorts of bigotry for being female and partially disabled but is still the smartest ship in a sea of fools.
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  • Jypsy
    January 1, 1970
    If you want a humorous mystery, this book is for you. An easy read. It's an interesting mystery. At times, it's a little silly. Overall an okay read.
  • Jeannie
    January 1, 1970
    I was looking forward to a new M R C Kassain book having all the Gower Street Detective books. There is a lovely link with Gower Street as we meet March Middleton's god daughter, Betty Church who has suffered an un- explained injury forcing her career as a police woman into a new direction and location. I enjoyed the plot which has a shoal of red herrings thrown at it. but there a number of occasions when it felt drawn out and too cluttered . A list of characters would have been helpful. I was g I was looking forward to a new M R C Kassain book having all the Gower Street Detective books. There is a lovely link with Gower Street as we meet March Middleton's god daughter, Betty Church who has suffered an un- explained injury forcing her career as a police woman into a new direction and location. I enjoyed the plot which has a shoal of red herrings thrown at it. but there a number of occasions when it felt drawn out and too cluttered . A list of characters would have been helpful. I was getting confused with the number of constables manning Sackwater Central police station with more joining as the story moved on. I'm looking forward to the next book and further revelations about Betty's past.
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  • Lauren Reads
    January 1, 1970
    My inner feminist (maybe not so inner) was screaming for joy at how Betty tackles the gender prejudices of the time in this book. I loved the plot as its well-conceived and imaginative there are some comedic gems in amongst it all. Betty Church, is very much a woman in a man's world in the early 1900’s and she’s a female police officer. She is more than capable to look after herself, despite those who surround her. The author manages to add humour to the gender and social norms of the time. Bett My inner feminist (maybe not so inner) was screaming for joy at how Betty tackles the gender prejudices of the time in this book. I loved the plot as its well-conceived and imaginative there are some comedic gems in amongst it all. Betty Church, is very much a woman in a man's world in the early 1900’s and she’s a female police officer. She is more than capable to look after herself, despite those who surround her. The author manages to add humour to the gender and social norms of the time. Betty Church is a wonderful creation and I'd like to read more about her.Betty is reluctant to leave the police after losing part of her arm, leaving her with the only option which is to transfer from the Met to The Suffolk town of Sackwater where she grew up and thought she had left behind for good. After a visit to her Godmother (the famous investigator March Middleton), she is promoted to Inspector. Everything is different for Betty in Sackwater, she’s the first woman police officer in the area, the times passes slower as the crimes are slightly lighter shade (reminds me a little of Hot Fuzz). Once Betty gets a case at the train station to investigate a missing bench. When Betty gets to the station there is no bench, instead there is a body (It’s in the synopsis not a spoiler). A smartly dressed man, stone-cold dead, with two distinctive puncture wounds in his throat. Sending the locals into a gossip frenzy about the Suffolk Vampire.
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  • Jen 3_Piets
    January 1, 1970
    Adding to another of my highly anticipated reads of 2018, Mr K will surely out do himself with this one. It will be full of humour and wit and sarcasm and probably death. Definitely add it to your TBR pile!! While you’re there, follow him on twitter just for a lark in the mean time. N.B. He did not pay me anything (sadly) to write this review. He usually sends invoices rather than payments.
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  • Jane Hunt
    January 1, 1970
    Cosy Mystery is a favourite genre, and this story fits neatly into it. By definition, these stories are quirky full of eccentric characters, a smart detective, often disguised as a bumbling fool and numerous gruesome, but not graphically described murders, or similarly heinous crimes. To enjoy a cosy mystery the reader needs to connect with the detective and enjoy the cast of characters and setting. I instantly connected with 'Betty Church', and empathised with her, the discrimination she suffer Cosy Mystery is a favourite genre, and this story fits neatly into it. By definition, these stories are quirky full of eccentric characters, a smart detective, often disguised as a bumbling fool and numerous gruesome, but not graphically described murders, or similarly heinous crimes. To enjoy a cosy mystery the reader needs to connect with the detective and enjoy the cast of characters and setting. I instantly connected with 'Betty Church', and empathised with her, the discrimination she suffers is disturbing but historically correct. I enjoyed how she always came out on top despite working almost entirely with misogynous males. The cast of characters are undoubtedly eccentric, but they are too much. Their strangeness is returned to again and again until it becomes wearing and detracts from the sharpness of the detective's character and the story's pacing. The plot is over the top but well-written and full of action and vivid description, unfortunately, it is hampered by the quirks of the supporting characters that make the story drag in parts.So on balance, this one isn't for me. With a different set of supporting characters, I would give this series another chance.I received a copy of this book via Head of Zeus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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  • Lola Et La Vie
    January 1, 1970
    I do love a mystery every now and then and this one was quite a fun one. There were a few things that I did not love about this book, but overall it was an enjoyable read.Betty Church, a savvy no-nonsense woman in her late thirties, was a great main character. I wish her actual character shone through a bit more, but I did like her a lot. However, why did all the side characters need to be so no-sensical? Pretty much every single one of them! I think that detracted a little bit for me.I did love I do love a mystery every now and then and this one was quite a fun one. There were a few things that I did not love about this book, but overall it was an enjoyable read.Betty Church, a savvy no-nonsense woman in her late thirties, was a great main character. I wish her actual character shone through a bit more, but I did like her a lot. However, why did all the side characters need to be so no-sensical? Pretty much every single one of them! I think that detracted a little bit for me.I did love the humour in this book. I am a big fan of sarcasm and there was plenty of that in there. The tone of writing was right up my street.I also thought the setting and time period were pretty good, with first the threat of war and then the actual war (WWII) going on. It was interesting to read what measures government was taking to protect the country from the characters’ point of view.The mystery itself and its resolution was just ok for me. Much of it I already guessed unfortunately. However, that did not take away from the fact that as a whole I enjoyed this novel quite a bit.Will I read the next Betty Church mystery when it comes out? Yes, I probably will.
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  • Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader
    January 1, 1970
    It took me until 25% to actually get into this book. For those of you who have seen Hot Fuzz, it's that type of humor and with that type of level of gore at times as well! The problem for me was that I liked it when I had it in my hands but didn't want to pick it up again when I put it down, until 25% and then I really got into it and just accepted the humor for what it was. At first, I wasn't sure what was going on, but either way, in the end, I really enjoyed this! Some nice use of misdirectio It took me until 25% to actually get into this book. For those of you who have seen Hot Fuzz, it's that type of humor and with that type of level of gore at times as well! The problem for me was that I liked it when I had it in my hands but didn't want to pick it up again when I put it down, until 25% and then I really got into it and just accepted the humor for what it was. At first, I wasn't sure what was going on, but either way, in the end, I really enjoyed this! Some nice use of misdirection, some annoying characters that were blessedly meant to be annoying and a whole gang of ridiculous constables that had me chuckling at times. I can't imagine how Inspector Church didn't smack them all about. If you enjoy a mystery novel that doesn't mind takin' a laugh and not being too serious, I would recommend this. It is the first in the series so no stepping into the middle and being confused for me.I read this as a free reader copy from Netgalley and was not paid or swayed in any other way on my rating and opinion of this book.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I became a Kasasian fan with The Mangle Street Murders and, quite frankly, was a bit wary when I saw that he was coming out with a new series. How could anyone be as good as March Middleton???Aaaaaah, me of little faith.Enter Betty Church -- March Middleton's goddaughter. She's a policewoman in 1939 (50 years or so after her godmother's stories), she's missing an arm, and she's transferred to her hometown of Sackwater as an Inspector just before a series of murders take place that may or may not I became a Kasasian fan with The Mangle Street Murders and, quite frankly, was a bit wary when I saw that he was coming out with a new series. How could anyone be as good as March Middleton???Aaaaaah, me of little faith.Enter Betty Church -- March Middleton's goddaughter. She's a policewoman in 1939 (50 years or so after her godmother's stories), she's missing an arm, and she's transferred to her hometown of Sackwater as an Inspector just before a series of murders take place that may or may not have been committed by a vampire. She's cynical and sarcastic and everything that I loved about her godmother.This is highly recommended, even if you have yet to read the first series. Betty can definitely stand on her own and I look forward to seeing where she goes from here.
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  • Peggy
    January 1, 1970
    Review to follow.
  • Laura Strutt
    January 1, 1970
    MRC Kasasian does it again!This is a fantastic follow on from The Gower Street Detective series. Betty links in wonderfully with the previous series and gives us tantalising hints about what has happened since we last saw March in Dark Dawn over Steep House.Set just before the outbreak of ww2 I felt that it captured perfectly the feeling, especially of a small seaside town, of the oncoming gloom of war.I very much enjoyed this story, full of twists, red herrings, grisly moments, some truly laugh MRC Kasasian does it again!This is a fantastic follow on from The Gower Street Detective series. Betty links in wonderfully with the previous series and gives us tantalising hints about what has happened since we last saw March in Dark Dawn over Steep House.Set just before the outbreak of ww2 I felt that it captured perfectly the feeling, especially of a small seaside town, of the oncoming gloom of war.I very much enjoyed this story, full of twists, red herrings, grisly moments, some truly laughing out loud funny moments and superb characters!Betty is another strong, confident and witty woman and I adore as much as I do March Middleton.I was very lucky to have the opportunity to meet the author recently at Bettys book launch party and he couldn't have been a nicer more welcoming gentleman.You can follow the wonderful author on twitter @MRCKASASIAN and join the #kasasiancrew
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  • Vivienne
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Head of Zeus for an ebook edition via NetGalley of this quirky mystery. It is currently available in the U.K. in ebook and hardback editions and will be released as a paperback on 7th February 2019. It’s 1939 and Britain is on the brink of war. After the partial loss of her arm in the line of duty, Betty Church is promoted to the rank of inspector and transferred to Sackwater, Suffolk. As Betty was born and raised there she has ties with the community. Crime there is minimal until e Thank you to Head of Zeus for an ebook edition via NetGalley of this quirky mystery. It is currently available in the U.K. in ebook and hardback editions and will be released as a paperback on 7th February 2019. It’s 1939 and Britain is on the brink of war. After the partial loss of her arm in the line of duty, Betty Church is promoted to the rank of inspector and transferred to Sackwater, Suffolk. As Betty was born and raised there she has ties with the community. Crime there is minimal until events take a darker turn with a series of murders rumoured to be committed by a vampire.This was my first time reading a book by M.R.C. Kasasian, though certainly aware of his Gower Street series. It was clear from the beginning that Betty Church was linked to that earlier series. Not really a problem in terms of reading except given the number of references to events in Betty’s and other characters’ lives it felt as though this was an ongoing series rather than Book 1 in a new one.I liked that Betty was mature and experienced as well as dealing with the recent loss of half an arm. However, the new constable Dodo Chivers, also assigned there, drove me to distraction with her ditziness and baby talk. Indeed, the general ridiculousness of seemingly everyone in Sackwater proved an ongoing irritation.Clearly this was meant as broad comedy yet with serious themes such as war and antisemitism it led to some quite patchy pacing. For what I thought was a cosy mystery the violence and explicit language was also quite high.It felt overlong at nearly 500 pages and padded with too many characters and subplots. It wasn’t all bad or I wouldn’t have continued reading. Actually once the main plot got underway the narrative in general became more focused. Yet by the end its general level of silliness just didn’t work for me.As a few reviewers have noted that this is not reflective of his other works, I probably will still read the Gower Street books that are lurking on my Kindle.
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  • Patricia
    January 1, 1970
    It's 1939, war is inevitable. Not least in Europe but also in the sleepy coastal town of Sackwater as the are bestowed with not only their first female police woman but an inspector to boot. Betty Church is a local girl but certainly no one expected her return like this, especially missing an arm. Betty soon realised her hometown has become a dumping ground for members of the force no one knows quite what to do with. Her fellow inspector resents her been there, her superior is fairly oblivious a It's 1939, war is inevitable. Not least in Europe but also in the sleepy coastal town of Sackwater as the are bestowed with not only their first female police woman but an inspector to boot. Betty Church is a local girl but certainly no one expected her return like this, especially missing an arm. Betty soon realised her hometown has become a dumping ground for members of the force no one knows quite what to do with. Her fellow inspector resents her been there, her superior is fairly oblivious as he's thinks he's still in the first world war and as for the constables...well one calls herself Dodo and says things like 'ouchy wouchy'. Luckily crime isn't a major problem in Sackwater, so at least Betty is initially assured that they can't do much harm. But then a series of murders begins rumours of a vampire haunting the Suffolk coastline. It's Betty's job to get to the truth and prove there is no supernatural culprit, just a very dangerous killer.There is a strong sense of the ridiculous in the pages of this novel, frankly murder probably should not be this funny! But it is and in Betty we have a droll and highly likeable character. In fact pretty much everyone is likeable in the Sackwater police force. As well as Betty, Dodo is so very funny too, but more in a laugh at her than with her way, but in her dopey words a thread of wisdom can often be found. I must admit to not reading Kasasians previous novels despite them been on my to read list for years, but I'm really glad to have finally got round to it as this is well worth reading.
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  • Richard
    January 1, 1970
    A spin off from his successful Gower Street Detective Series. Betty Church was a winner for me based on the Suffolk connection and the gentle historical murder mystery.Betty is promoted to Inspector and sent packing to Suffolk from London to get out of the way and be buried in the local backwater. At a time when women were not embraced in the work place and dismissed for what they could bring to policing.From this story it seems her biggest task is keeping the incompetent force functioning at a A spin off from his successful Gower Street Detective Series. Betty Church was a winner for me based on the Suffolk connection and the gentle historical murder mystery.Betty is promoted to Inspector and sent packing to Suffolk from London to get out of the way and be buried in the local backwater. At a time when women were not embraced in the work place and dismissed for what they could bring to policing.From this story it seems her biggest task is keeping the incompetent force functioning at a time when coastal defensive requirements makes Suffolk more strategic than it once seemed.The story is riddled with humour not all of which works but it is consistently cringe worthy so you get accustomed to it. A least twice I nearly broke out into laughter. This kind of writing is quite clever and demanding and it is difficult where murder is played out.I liked the serious piece with abuse and the nasty gangland violence as this addressed a real issue. For the rest it is a clever mystery and Betty works well with her limited resources but the crimes and the criminality is shocking dressed up in a humorist hue.The incompetence of the crimes and the denouncement while it tidied everything up neatly left me wondering if I was entertained more than I was engaged intellectually.If you want a distraction this could work if you want a detective thriller this is not the book to choose.
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  • Donna Townsend
    January 1, 1970
    Imagine! A woman police inspector in rural England as Hitler is marching toward Britain! Known for his unconventional characters, gruesome crime scenes, and dialogue far beyond witty, Kasasian has written another masterpiece.Betty Church is a no-nonsense officer who battles crime and society’s notions of what a woman “should be.” Her fellow officers are either incompetent, mean, ugly or idiots. Take your pick. She handles them with sarcasm, kindness and a firmness. Unless, that is, she is sidetr Imagine! A woman police inspector in rural England as Hitler is marching toward Britain! Known for his unconventional characters, gruesome crime scenes, and dialogue far beyond witty, Kasasian has written another masterpiece.Betty Church is a no-nonsense officer who battles crime and society’s notions of what a woman “should be.” Her fellow officers are either incompetent, mean, ugly or idiots. Take your pick. She handles them with sarcasm, kindness and a firmness. Unless, that is, she is sidetracked by the unkindness of her unloving family or the arm she lost (although we don’t know how).The book is laugh out loud funny, even though we are trying to solve some very serious crimes, while worrying about our neighbors with German names and blackouts.Kasasian is wildly creative and so worth following. Betty Church is the goddaughter of March Middleton of the Gower Street Detective Series, which is wonderfully inventive and entertaining. Hopefully we’ll see additions to both soon. So looking forward to seeing more of my favorite detectives.
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  • Alyson Read
    January 1, 1970
    I have loved all the Gower Street Detective books by this author which have now sadly come to an end so I was eagerly awaiting the publication of this book, and hoping it would be every bit as good. In fact I think it is even better! Set in 1939 just as war is breaking out, it features Inspector Betty Church, god-daughter to the most wonderful March Middleton who makes the off appearance herself. Betty is one of very few female police officers, especially high ranking, who finds herself back in I have loved all the Gower Street Detective books by this author which have now sadly come to an end so I was eagerly awaiting the publication of this book, and hoping it would be every bit as good. In fact I think it is even better! Set in 1939 just as war is breaking out, it features Inspector Betty Church, god-daughter to the most wonderful March Middleton who makes the off appearance herself. Betty is one of very few female police officers, especially high ranking, who finds herself back in her home town of Sackwater after losing part of her arm in the course of her duty. The story introduces a wealth of new characters, including friends, family and an astounding array of bumbling misfit colleagues as she tries to solve a string of murders which locals believe to be the work of the Suffolk Vampire. I loved this book - it is cleverly written with so much humour in it whilst still carrying on its dark theme. I really do hope this turns into another series as I am already wanting more from Betty and friends.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    If you are a fan of the Gower Street Detective series (if you haven't come across these novels do give them a go) by the same author you will not be disappointed by his foray into the world of policing just before the outbreak of the Second World War with guest appearances by the redoubtable March Middleton and references to the man himself Sidney Grice.Betty Church is one of the few female officers on the force and probably the only one who has only one hand. Marche's influence ensures that rat If you are a fan of the Gower Street Detective series (if you haven't come across these novels do give them a go) by the same author you will not be disappointed by his foray into the world of policing just before the outbreak of the Second World War with guest appearances by the redoubtable March Middleton and references to the man himself Sidney Grice.Betty Church is one of the few female officers on the force and probably the only one who has only one hand. Marche's influence ensures that rather than Betty being invalided out of the force she is transferred from London to the ‘sleepy seaside town' of Sackwater, the place where she grew up. Naturally on her arrival people begin to get murdered.This novel is full of the quirky characters you would expect from Mr Kasasian with dialogue to match. There are also entertaining asides most notably in the direction of Agatha Christie. In addition there are some more serious observations about the forthcoming war and the nationality of some of the residents of Sackwater.As eccentric and entertaining as ever. Highly recommended.
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  • Alice
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this until the 'big reveal' which felt hollow and insulting. The main character, Betty, is engaging and intelligent and the supporting characters are irritiating but funny and add to the dynamic. Spoilers below...To have 'her' be confused about the nature of the motive of the secret group and that it feels as if it's meant to be funny is insulting. Sexual assualt and harrassment aren't funny at all and making women confused about them in a book that spends the majority of the ti I really enjoyed this until the 'big reveal' which felt hollow and insulting. The main character, Betty, is engaging and intelligent and the supporting characters are irritiating but funny and add to the dynamic. Spoilers below...To have 'her' be confused about the nature of the motive of the secret group and that it feels as if it's meant to be funny is insulting. Sexual assualt and harrassment aren't funny at all and making women confused about them in a book that spends the majority of the time following a woman who struggles to make herself heard feels so counter productive. I really enjoyed how Betty fights against Dodo's cutesy ways, but after the reveal it felt that even that was a mockery of women working in male environments. I really don't understand what Kasasian was going for with this reveal. Is it meant to be funny? Is it meant to be making a statement? I didn't get it.
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