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15 July 2021

Book Review: The Corfe Castle Murders by Rachel McLean *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of  The Corfe Castle Murders by Rachel McLean ahead of the blog tour.

It has been a fair while since I read a thrilling police procedural, and I don't know why because I freaking love them. This was the reminder I needed to read more non-romance books and The Corfe Castle Murders is the start of a series I will definitely be continuing. DCI Lesley Clarke is one heck of a detective.

I'm excited to be helping to kick off the blog tour for this marvellous book.

The Corfe Castle Murders by Rachel McLean DCI Lesley Clarke book cover

Meet DCI Lesley Clarke. She’s a straight-talking city copper who doesn’t suffer fools gladly… and she’s been transferred to rural Dorset.

After being injured in a bomb attack, Lesley is presented with a choice - early retirement, or a period of respite in a calmer location.

But things don’t stay calm for long.

Before she’s even started her new job, Lesley is dragged into investigating a murder at one of England’s most iconic landmarks, the imposing Corfe Castle.

Lesley must hit the ground running. Can she get along with her new partner DS Dennis Frampton, a traditionalist who doesn’t appreciate her style? How will she navigate the politics of a smaller force where she’s a bigger, and less welcome, fish? And most importantly, can she solve the murder before the killer strikes again?

The Corfe Castle Murders is a compelling, character-driven mystery perfect for fans of Ruth Rendell, Colin Dexter, Faith Martin and Joy Ellis.

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Murder, family, betrayal, secrets, survival.

I love DCI Lesley Clarke and I'm going to need more book about her, thanks.

When we first meet Lesley it's in a pretty picturesque setting with her daughter - although that quickly changes and shows the temperaments of them both. Being headstrong runs in the family, and I loved that, it came across in the mother-daughter relationship perfectly. The family itself is messy and there's a lot going on with some parallels to the mystery which I thought was wonderfully done, it showed you multiple versions of similar situations.

Lesley is headstrong and confident, and she's fair. She's quick to judge, but she does so based on evidence. She's the kind of person you want on your side. Although she can be a bit of a bitch at times and a tad hypocritical. I loved how we saw her character slowly revealed, and there's even a surprise reveal at the end that I'm excited to see develop in the next book.

Dennis Frampton was so freaking frustrating. He's full of prejudice and judgement and is heavily biased towards his moral and religious beliefs. And he's a massive misogynist to boot. I really did detest him at times. He has the worst kind of work ethic, he's lazy and arrogant and to be honest a total hinderance every step of the way. But maybe he's not all bad? I'm not convinced, but the character development was excellent.

This is the type of mystery that begs for a large glass of red wine, slowly sipped. It's one to puzzle over, with so many clues and red herrings to wade through, it'll really get you thinking and challenge your prejudices.

The pace at the start is pretty fast, and it doesn't relent. There is a lot of domestic drama woven in, many thing to help complicate it, and it ends up with a pretty mind-blowing ending. I never knew who done it until the reveal, and I couldn't even take a guess at 90% in. This is a complicated mystery with lots to mull over.

Corfe Castle is now on my bucket list of places I would like to visit. I loved how the setting came to life, and how the small community was explored.

I absolutely loved The Corfe Castle Murders, so it's a good thing that book two The Clifftop Murders comes out later this month. I definitely need more!

The Corfe Castle Murders by Rachel McLean blog tour banner

My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club. I’ll send you a weekly (sometimes fortnightly) email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.


  1. I like the idea of thrillers that make you think, this sounds like one that definitely does that! Great review, I’ll have to look more into this one.

  2. A DS that's biassed towards their religious views seems like they'd make for a pretty bad DS. But I'm guessing that help create the dynamic that made the book interesting to read

  3. Ooh this sounds like a really cool setting for a book - especially one that involves murders! I'll have to check this one out x

  4. The mention of murder definitely caught my interest! Thank you for sharing, it sounds really good, I especially like the sound of Lesley as a character. I love a good mystery, will have to give this a read.

    Jordanne ||


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