Murder at the Seaview Hotel is an engaging murder mystery that will leave you all shook up! Why? Because this fun whodunit revolves around the death of an Elvis impersonator and his missing blue suede shoes!
You may know novelist Glenda Young for books such as The Miner’s Lass and Belle of the Back Streets from her hugely popular, historical saga series set in the north-east mining town where the author herself was born. But this is her surefooted first step into the world of cozy crime mysteries.
Cozy crime is a genre which has continued to grow in popularity in recent years with hits such as the Dales Detective series by Julia Chapman, the Lady Eleanor Swift Mysteries by Verity Bright and the commercial juggernaut that is The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.
Young’s Murder at the Seaview Hotel delivers many of the cozy crime fiction hallmarks that we have come to expect from the genre.
‘Cozies’ need an amateur sleuth as their main protagonist and Seaview delivers an engaging and relatable heroine in Helen Dexter. Following the death of her husband Tom, Helen finds herself facing an uncertain future, doubtful whether she wants to continue running their Scarborough guest house, the Seaview Hotel, without him.
She is conflicted when an unexpected offer to sell the hotel to a mysterious bidder arrives. But when she is increasingly pressured by repeated phone calls to make this life-changing decision by the end of the day, Helen digs her heels in and decides to make a go of running the hotel herself. Mysteries abound and unexplained goings-on suggest that the unidentified developer is not giving up easily.
Cozy crime mysteries often feature humour: a troupe of twelve singing Elvis impersonators – yes of course the group is called ‘Twelvis’ – checking into the Scarborough guest house certainly ticks the humour box. It’s an original and amusing hook which Glenda Young skilfully uses to raise the number of potential suspects, to spin some intriguing plot twists and to deliver some suspense-relieving laughs for the reader.
Murder at the Seaview Hotel boasts an appealing supporting cast: there’s the hotel’s redoubtable cook Jean, who is all enveloping hugs, seasoned advice and perfect Full English breakfasts; we meet Helen’s glamorous if somewhat outspoken best friend Marie and readers will enjoy Miriam, the haughty landlady of the neighbouring guest house, the Vista del Mar. And pet-loving cozy-crime fans will love Suki, Helen’s retired racing greyhound companion – although beware! The emotional stakes are raised when the loveable canine’s life comes under threat…
One other character that is beautifully written in Murder at the Seaview Hotel is the town of Scarborough itself. Glenda Young gives a superb sense of place to the novel’s heroine and her guest house. You get the strong sense that the author has pounded the streets of the Yorkshire seaside location to evoke its many breezy, atmospheric charms. The Scarborough Tourist Board needs to get Glenda Young on their payroll – the Recs has just booked a mini-break there later this year thanks to the persuasive of her writing!
If you like puzzle box whodunits where plot and clue details are all important and characters are merely conduits for the machinery of the mystery, or you have a taste for hard-boiled police procedurals, this novel is unlikely to be for you.
But if you are looking for an enjoyable read, warmly written where you care about amiable characters trying to disentangle a series of suspenseful mysteries, then Murder at the Seaview Hotel is certainly worth your attention.
Murder at the Seaview by Glenda Young, published by Headline, is released on 5 August 2021