Friday 16 February 2024

Dark Days at the Beach Hotel by Francesca Capaldi


Dark Days at the Beach Hotel

Can Helen save the hotel... and her reputation?

Helen Bygrove is managing the hotel, now that her husband has been conscripted. Against all expectations, Helen and her team are doing marvellously, despite the shortages brought by war. Even the exacting Lady Blackmore agrees. But then the calm is shattered when poison pen letters are sent to prominent townsfolk and Helen finds herself the target of a police investigation. Is someone trying to ruin Helen, and the Beach Hotel? And can she rely on the handsome but taciturn Inspector Toshack to help her? When her husband, Douglas, is invalided out of the war he is determined to take back control of the hotel and things go from bad to worse.

How can she ever escape his bullying? Is she a fool to hope that she may have a second chance at love?

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The third book in the series but I read it as standalone and thoroughly enjoyed it. Having started the series with the third book it makes me curious to read the others as this one was so enjoyable.

Helen and her husband, Douglas, own a hotel and while he is away completing training before heading off to war Helen comes under suspicion for sending poison pen letters. 

Helen with the support of her staff at the hotel and a budding friendship with the new Inspector makes this an endearing read. When the culprit is revealed everyone breathes a sigh of relief but this calm in the storm is shortlived with the news that helen's husband has been injured and that he is returning home.

Douglas is a nasty pievece of work and no one is thrilled at seeing his bossy, arrogant and bad tempered person return to bully Helen and the staff.

When threats turn to murder Helen must rely on Inspector Toshack to find the killer or killers and lear her name once and for all.

This was a clever and twisty mystery set during the war years. There is a lovely family feel in the hotel between Helen and her staff but it only takes one person to spoil things. I could imagine the hotel very well and the people who frequented it. The story is fast paced and I found myself reading it in a short amount of time as I wanted to find out what happened next with Helen. I enjoyed her friendship with Inspector Toshack and I have hopes for them for the future.

A smart, engaging, historical mystery. 

Author Bio 

Francesca has enjoyed writing since she was a child, largely influenced by a Welsh mother who was good at improvised story telling.

Writing under both her maiden name, Francesca Capaldi, and her married name, Francesca Burgess, she is the author of historical novels, short stories and several pocket novels. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.

The first novel in the Wartime in the Valleys series, Heartbreak in the Valleys, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Historical Award 2021. Both the Valleys series and the Beach Hotel series are published by Hera Books.

Francesca was born and brought up on the Sussex coast, but currently lives in Kent with her family and a cat called Lando Calrission.

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