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From toy collection to detection
March 22, 2016
by Neville Steed
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date: February 19, 2016
Don’t be fooled by the cover - it has absolutely no relation to the novel whatsoever. The die in die-cast refers to a method used to create model toys, not to dice or gambling.
Die-Cast is a delightful British cozy filled with all of the important ingredients - an interesting village setting removed from the bustle of the city, unique characters, a charming and clever lead, an unusual theme, and a scene-stealing cat.
Peter Marklin collects and sells rare and unusual toys at his shop in Dorset. He plans to stay far away from any form of amateur detective work. Unfortunately, his plans are for naught when Lana-Lee Claudell, a famous Hollywood actress asks him to uncover the truth about her ex-husband’s murder. The police suspect Adam Longhurst, her former lover who was seen threatening him at a party weeks before. As he has no alibi, the local police are uninterested in investigating further. Marklin’s friend, Inspector Blake from Scotland Yard, encourages Peter to do what he can.
Apart from the whodunnit aspect of the novel, I enjoyed learning about antique toys and the popularity of the intensely detailed die-cast models of vehicles. Peter and Arabella are a charming couple who work well together. I loved how their relationship was depicted. And Gus - he is a stalwart figure - always present, good natured, likes a good solid gossip, and is always ready to help in his own unique way.
Although originally published in the late 80’s, Die-Cast has held up well over time. I chuckled a few times over the Dynasty reference and Marklin’s Burt Reynolds imitations.
I very much enjoyed this charming, well written British cozy. It is a pleasure to see it released in ebook form.
I received a copy of Die-Cast from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Peter Marklin enjoys a quiet life on the tranquil Dorset coast with his beautiful girlfriend Arabella and his Toy Emporium to keep him busy.
When Hollywood starlet Lana-Lee Claudell moves nearby and invites Arabella and Marklin to her home one evening, they are both looking forward to what promises to be an occasion tinged with glamour.
But then Lana-Lee’s former lover Adam Longhurst arrives at the party in a drunken rage, and it seems the rich and famous have their problems too.
Things take an even darker turn when Lana-Lee’s semi-estranged husband Ben Maxwell is found dead on the beach, and Longhurst is in the frame for his murder.
Desperate to free Longhurst, Lana-Lee enlists the help of amateur sleuth Marklin to find the real murderer.
His old friend from Scotland Yard, Inspector Blake, has turned up to offer encouragement, and Marklin’s investigations soon start to unearth a seedy tale of drugs and smuggling - a far cry from the superficial gloss of Hollywood.
Can Marklin prove Longhurst’s innocence?
Just what is the mysterious white ghostly apparition that everyone involved in the mystery starts to see?
If Longhurst didn’t kill Maxwell, who did?
Die-Cast is a light-hearted crime romp with a sinister underbelly, from a master of the genre. Die-Cast is the second book in the Peter Marklin mystery series, following Tinplate.