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An Alice England Mystery: The Deadly Daylight by Ash Harrier

Title: An Alice England Mystery: The Deadly Daylight

A dark house is in the background of three children - a brown boy with a snake around his beck a red haired girl, and a girl with a veil over her face are looking under a pier. The Deadly Daylight by Ash Harrier.

Author: Ash Harrier

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: Pantera Press

Published: 2nd August 2022

Format: Paperback

Pages: 296

Price: $16.99

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Alice England is curious, truthful and smart, but when you work in your father’s funeral home and you get messages from the dead, it can be difficult to make friends.

When she comes across the peculiar case of George Devenish, who was allergic to sunlight, Alice is convinced there’s more to his death than meets the eye.

With the help of George’s niece, ‘Violet the Vampire’, who shares her uncle’s allergy, and a boy named Cal, who has secrets of his own, Alice begins to investigate. Who were the teenagers under the dock when George died? How is the sinister Doctor Grampian involved? And what about George’s wife, Helen, whose baking is delicious but possibly poisonous?

It seems the truth of George’s death may never see the light of day – unless Alice and her companions can put the clues together and solve a mystery much bigger than anybody expected.

The Deadly Daylight is a perfect-for-kids murder mystery. I loved spending time with Alice England, who cheerfully chooses coffins for everyone she meets, and Violet Devenish, who might finally have found a true friend. This is a fresh and curiously upbeat read with memorable characters, clever plot and satisfying ending. Prepare for secrets and friendships, life and death, quirks and cosy mystery.’ Cristy Burne, author of the Wednesday Weeks series

The Deadly Daylight is an intriguing mystery that explores lots of interesting ideas.’ R. A. Spratt, author of the Friday Barnes series

‘Quirky, dark and delightful, I loved trying to solve this truly engrossing mystery.’ Shirley Marr, author of A Glasshouse of Stars

~*~

Alice England lives with her father, and helps him run the local funeral home in Damocles Cove. She’s a bit of a loner, with a weak leg that affects her movement, and she gets messages from the dead – and one such message will kick off an unlikely friendship. When a local man, George Devenish, who is allergic to the sun, dies, Alice hears and sees messages about his death. So, she sets out to investigate, with George’s niece, Violet, by her side. Alice is determined that all they are doing is investigating the death, yet for Violet, known as ‘Violet the Vampire’ by many, sees a chance at friendship. But ever truthful to a fault Alice, seems to miss the cues, but Alice, Violet, and Cal, manage to uncover a sinister plot afoot. A doctor who claims to be able to cure allergies, Aunty Helen, whose atrocious baking could be poisonous, a group of teenagers who may have seen what happened, and squirmy dock workers who may be hiding their own secret. So who killed George and why?

This is  quirky and delightful cosy mystery for younger readers, where the death takes place off the page, and it is up to Alice – known by the bullies at school as ‘Alice in Zombieland’  – and Violet to solve the mystery – even as they’re put in danger, and certain adults interfere, which was immediately suspicious to me – the usual insertion of oneself into the investigation or velied attempts to throw the intrepid investigator off the trail – and how often does that work? I was delighted that Ash utilised mystery tropes and made them her own, giving them a new life and showing that they can be reinvented for a younger and wider audience, because I feel like this is a book that many readers aged nine and older – into teenage years and adulthood will enjoy, as it is the kind of book I love to read. It’s got a bit of everything, and I loved that it gave disabled characters, marginalised characters, and those who don’t quite fit in a voice.

This is the first in a series, and I loved that Alice was unapologetically who she was. Truthful to a fault, Alice is the kind of character that shows that the world is not so black and white – where everyone is different. I liked that she was allowed to be who she was, and that she was allowed to misunderstand things and be honest. He weirdness shone through, showing readers that it is okay to be unusual – that sometimes, having quirks and differences makes you who you are, and that it is the not fitting in with everyone that truly makes you who you are. And that bravery comes from the most unusual, the most unexpected places, because it is where we find out who we are, what we are capable of, and where we find out whop our friends are, and who we can really trust. So at its heart, this story is also about friendship and loyalty, and the coming together of people who society sees as outcasts. I would rather be friends with Alice and Violet, because they’re not giving into the demands of popularity and expectations of others. It is such a fun book in this instance, because I felt that both Alice and Violet learnt something special about friendship and getting to know each other – about the sacrifices you make to ensure each other has a good time.

This delightful mystery is tingly in all the right places, and evokes fear, intrigue, and despair, and humour at all the right moments, capturing the imaginations of readers as they can imagine themselves solving mysteries alongside Alice and her friends. Mystery lovers of all ages will hopefully adore this, and I am looking forward to the next in the series, because it is a series that will have many stories to come out of it.

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