Series: Ham Hill Mysteries #2
Published by Boldwood Books on June 15, 2021
Source: Rachel's Random Resources
Genres: Cozy Mystery
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A winning horse. A fierce rivalry. A sudden death.
Belinda Sandford thrills to the cheers of the crowd as her beautiful grey racehorse, ‘Butterfly Charm’, thunders past the finishing post first at Wincanton Racecourse. She feels like the luckiest girl in the world.
But joy soon turns to despair as a stewards’ enquiry overturns the result and awards the race to her long-time rival, Alexandra Deacon.
When Alex is found dead in suspicious circumstances, a host of accusing eyes turn to Belinda and her distraught mother begs Adam Hennessy, her neighbour, retired police officer and publican, to help clear her daughter’s name.
As Adam, and local hotelier Imogen Bishop, dig deep into the murky and powerful undercurrents of the horse racing world, they lay bare the lives and loves of local jockeys, grooms, trainers and owners.
They soon uncover a web of secrets hidden within the spectacular Somerset countryside as they strive to find the killer in time to prevent more murders.
This is the second of the Ham Hill mysteries and, while it works as a stand-alone, you will definitely get to know the characters better by reading them in order. Adam is a pub owner and retired police officer and Imogene owns the local hotel. They are the main investigators, although this time around they have the help of a couple of friends, Steph, a reporter, and Dan, a painter. All four are competent and intelligent and each adds their own skills.
Belinda is the main suspect in the death, and her desperate mother asks for Adam’s help. The local authorities deem the death an accident due to lack of evidence, but the local chief inspector asks Adam to continue looking into the case, not convinced it wasn’t murder.
It turns out there are actually plenty of suspects, although no one has a really good motive. There are the investors who own the horse that Belinda rode. There are the grooms and jockeys, young people who know horses, but who also have on and off relationships with each other.
The mystery itself was well-done. There were several clues, although I’m not sure it was possible to put them together before Adam. I enjoyed all the information about horse racing and the small-town feel. There was plenty of gossip, which always helps cozy investigators.
Overall, A Racing Murder was an enjoyable book. I’ll be looking forward to the next in the series.