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Not entirely vintage but a thoroughly enjoyable mystery

Death in Disguise

A Police Procedural set in 1970's England

by Sally Spencer

Severn House Publishers

Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction (Adult)

Pub Date 01 Aug 2016


Why would a glamorous New Yorker come to Whitebridge, purposefully dressing dowdily, wearing a wig and makeup to appear less attractive? Why was she using an assumed name? Who is she and why would someone want to murder her? The case is made even more sensitive, and unusual in that the murder occurred at the Royal Victoria Hotel, where many of Whitebridge's more prominent residents come to make arrangements, both business and personal. Evidence suggests that the victim was interested in a 50 year old murder case, but what bearing may it have on her murder?

I liked Death in Disguise a great deal. The murder was exceptionally well-plotted, and the killer came as a complete surprise. Alternating the victim's diary entries with the progressing investigation made for an enthralling narrative.

Where I had a little more trouble was with the setting. Somehow it came across as more modern than I would expect, particularly since it was not set in a larger city. I was a little surprised by the sheer number of female characters, finding it unlikely that a town that the coroner would be a woman, as well as the lead DCI Paniatowski and DS Meadows. From what I understand, it doesn't quite fit 1970s Britain, despite attitudes being in the process of changing. Apart from a reference to Jane Fonda and Woody Allen, there wasn't much that put Death in Disguise in a 1970s timeframe. If you ignore the fact that Death in Disguise is set in the 70s, what you are left with is a well plotted mystery with two very interesting female leads who are strong, capable, and unwilling to sacrifice ideals. That is enough to keep readers coming back for more.


I received a copy of Death in Disguise from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



DCI Monika Paniatowski investigates the killing of an American guest – and uncovers a link to a 50-year-old murder.

When the body of an American woman is found in the Prince Alfred suite at the Royal Victoria Hotel, DCI Monika Paniatowski is faced with one of the most baffling cases of her career. The woman who called herself Mary Edwards had been a guest at the hotel for the past two weeks, having paid cash in advance. But who was she really – and what was she doing in a small town like Whitebridge? If Monika could discover why the dead woman had come to Lancashire, she would be one step closer to catching her killer.

The investigation takes an intriguing twist when Monika learns of a possible link to a fifty-year-old murder – but the only person who could tell her why it’s relevant is lying in a coma.

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