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Murder at the Ashmolean
The Museum Mysteries – Book III
BY Jim Eldridge

Allison and Busby
18 July 2019/ ISBN 9780749023768

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum hires private investigator Daniel Wilson and his partner, Abigail Fenton, to look into the death of a staff member. Gavin Everett apparently committed suicide in his office by shooting himself, but something looks wrong to administrator Gladstone Marriott, so he hires the pair to look into it. Soon there is also a Special Branch member nosing around and rumors of a possible connection to the Boers in South Africa, plus a lost Shakespeare play. The deeper the investigators dig, the more they uncover about the late Mr Wilson…

After finding the first in this series rather disappointing, I was pleased that the second proved to be a real page-turner. This third entry is even better, so I do hope that we haven’t seen the last of Daniel and Abigail and their museum related mysteries. I used to live in Oxford and know the Ashmolean well, so was interested to see how late Victorian Oxford would be described. Without too much infodump, it provides a believable backdrop to the story; more detailed description would probably have slowed down the action. There is plenty of this, with the pair racing around finding out more about the case on each page, as, like all the best mysteries, the tale starts with nothing known about the murder, moves along to the red herrings and then spreads out even wider.

Romance takes a back seat again with the protagonists a definite item, but in business as much as in pleasure. It is a comfortable relationship with them getting on well together, which makes a welcome change from the overused “battle of the sexes” arguing that features in a lot of books with sleuthing couples. Also avoiding clichés is their relationship with the Oxford police, who are helpful and just want the case sorted out rather than being desperate to solve it first. I would certainly read another in this series if they keep on being as good as this, and I hope this series runs and runs.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2019