Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for the latest addition to DCI Satterthwaithe series by Jo Allen.
Death at Rainbow Cottage
At the end of the rainbow, a man lies dead.
The apparently motiveless murder of a man outside the home of controversial equalities activist Claud Blackwell and his neurotic wife, Natalie, is shocking enough for a peaceful local community. When it’s followed by another apparently random killing immediately outside Claud’s office, DCI Jude Satterthwaite has his work cut out. Is Claud the killer, or the intended victim?
To add to Jude’s problems, the arrival of a hostile new boss causes complications at work, and when a threatening note arrives at the police headquarters, he has real cause to fear for the safety of his friends and colleagues…
A traditional British detective novel set in Cumbria.
Death at Rainbow Cottage is the fourth book in the DCI Satterthwaite series written by British writer Jo Allen. A solid police procedural with complex characters and a clever plot, it can definitely be read and enjoyed as a standalone, but you will probably want to go back and read the other books in the series as well.
The book starts with a bang. A middle-aged man dies of stabbed wounds in a remote place, a couple hundred meters away from Rainbow Cottage that belongs to Natalie and Claud Blackwell. Natalie suffers from anxiety and OCD and often goes on long runs. She was the one who tried to resuscitate the dying man and then horrified, ran home, leaving bloody footprints on the cottage path.
Jo Allen immediately pulls us into her fictional world set in Cumbria. We meet DI Jude Satterthwaite as he is taking Natalie’s statement and immediately note his compassion and humanity as well as his observation skills. There is obviously a lot of character development, both within this book and in the series. Police procedurals often have to balance the investigation side of the story, the police work itself and the back story which shows how complex professional relationships get intertwined with the detective’s personal life. Jude still has unresolved family issues, although he is in a relationship with one of his colleagues. There’s also a new boss with her own policies and her own vision of what should be done to ensure greater equality and diversity in their workplace.
The book’s main topic is diversity, representation, and tolerance. The issues raised in the book are relevant to any workplace. Jude is criticised for being promoted just because he fit the traditional idea of a DCI should be like, but then again his work and the fact that he is a capable police offcer and team leader isn’t taken into consideration. The victims are gay and we see how deep homophobic attitudes run and how much sensitivity, consideration and determination changing them requires.
Jo Alen has a wonderful writing style. It is very easy to follow the story despite a fairly large set of characters. Although this was my first book in the series, at no time did I feel lost or missing ‘the insider’ knowledge. I still want to go back and read books 1-3, but more because I appreciate the author’s writing and her ability to create a clever tight plot and complex. multi-layered characters.
I can highly recommend Death and Rainbow Cottage to all readers who enjoy gripping and thought-provoking police procedurals.
Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random resources and the author for the gifted review copy. All opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way.
Jo Allen is the author of the successful DCI Satterthwaite series of detective novels set in and around the English Lake District, where she lives. After a career in economic consultancy she took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young in genres of short stories, romance and romantic suspense. In 2017 she took the plunge and began writing the genre she most likes to read – crime. In common with all her favourite characters, she loves football (she’s a season ticket holder with her beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats.
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If you would like to find out what other bloggers thought of the book, here is the full tour schedule: