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The Cost of Living (the first Ant and Bea Mystery) by Rachel Ward #BlogTour

Murder amongst the meat aisle? Read below to find out.

The Cost of Living, The Blurb: 

"After a young woman is brutally attacked on her way home from the local supermarket, checkout girl Bea is determined to find out who’s responsible. She enlists the help of Ant, the seemingly gormless new trainee – but can she really trust him? Customers and colleagues become suspects, secrets are uncovered, and while fear stalks the town, Bea risks losing the people she loves most."

To describe the book as a cosy crime novel would be spot on as the violence was minimal yet the warmth of the characters really shone through. In Costsave, Ward has created the perfect backdrop complete with an overflowing well of characters all available for use in future books. I loved meeting them, discovering their problems and considering whether I thought they were capable of murder!

Bea is a strong central character who I took to immediately. More to the point her investigations felt realistic, she wasn't suddenly running forensic tests, shooting suspects or involved in high speed car chases. She was doing what you or I could do which I really appreciated.

For a crime novel the book covered a number of other issues - from how your reading ability effects your everyday life and how your reputation can precede you, to agoraphobia and the size of your jeans. It was really refreshing to read about a character who wasn't a size 10 and yet this wasn't over played - loved that! Agoraphobia isn't a subject I have read much about and it was sensitively written by Ward.

My only issue is the strap line for the book:

'An Ant and Bea Mystery'

Whilst Ant is a brilliant side kick, that is what he is, a side kick. Bea is the star of the show and I think the line should read 'A Bea and Ant Mystery'. I can see why it's been placed that way (it probably reads better) but in an age of women empowerment and in view of the fact Ant is a potential suspect I really felt like Bea should lead. Knit picking but there you go and when your only problem is based on the front cover the book isn't going too far wrong!

If you like your crime novels to be more Midsomer Murders than The Fall this is the book for you. It's an excellent standalone but Ward has put the building blocks in place to make for a stellar series. I'm looking forward to reading the second in the series, Dead Stock which is out now.

My thanks to Sandstone Press who provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


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