Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Girl in the Gallery Review Tour

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.

As she sped on to the last gallery, containing the current exhibition, Beth automatically stopped for a second opposite one of her favourite still lives – the red, white, and blue bouquet by Jan van Huysum. Eighteenth century flower painters were paid extra for insects, and she loved spotting all the wriggly wildlife. This time, it wasn’t a bug that caught her eye, though. It was something on the very edge of her peripheral vision. Something that jarred, didn’t make sense. Shouldn’t even be there. Something that, she realised with dread, was in the mausoleum antechamber. Something that meant, however much she did not want to, she had to turn back and look.

Beth’s heart started to thud. It was a flash of scarlet.

Wasn’t it Constable who’d added red to all his canvases as ‘the salt in the soup’? Well, Beth felt vehemently her life didn’t need even the tiniest jot more seasoning. She could no longer picture the shade crimson lake without shuddering from head to toe, after her ghastly first day at Wyatt’s School.
No, this time, if anything bad was happening, she was not going to stumble across it on her own. Resolutely shutting her eyes, she sidled back past the niche and then ran straight for the ticket desk. She’d get that girl on the desk to come with her, if she had to drag her all the way. 

My Review:
3 stars

My favorite part of this book was the writing. Vivid descriptions, engaging characters, interesting word choices, this book had it all. I really enjoyed Beth (as well as the fact that she acknowledges that it's a miracle she still has her day job considering how much time she spends solving mysteries), and I liked seeing her balance raising her son with everything else going on. I also enjoyed her chemistry with Harry, and would love to see where their relationship leads. 

I also enjoyed the mystery, as the twists and turns kept me guessing throughout. There were some unnecessary elements that didn't add to the story and slowed it down at times, but for the most part, the pacing and plot were amazing. 

However, the biggest downside to me was the ending. I was underwhelmed. There was so much build-up, and then instead of catching a proper villain, the ending was a moral message about parenting and drugs and almost no repercussions for the two characters who really deserved some consequences (the poisoner and a horrible teenager). I think Beth summed up my feeling perfectly: "Last time, I got quite a sense of satisfaction when the whole mystery was wrapped up. This time, it all seems like fragments." And even if this is "more like real life," it was still underwhelming and rushed. Plus, after all the build-up between Harry and Beth, there was no resolution, just a cliffhanger leading to the next book. Normally I'm okay with stringing along the will-they-or-won't-they aspect, but I did not like how it was handled here, as it came across more like a slap in my face after cheering them on. 

Overall, I think this book had a lot of promise that didn’t fully deliver in the end. However, I would still recommend and give this series a second chance because it does have engaging, realistic characters and interesting writing that help make up for the pacing issues and the lackluster ending. Plus, the book also deals with some hard-hitting issues in a very real way. So if you enjoy a cozy mystery, I would recommend giving this series a try.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don’t forget to visit the other stops on the tour.

Author Bio and Links:
Alice Castle was a UK  newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph before becoming a novelist. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.

Alice is currently working on the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery. The third instalment in the London Murder Mystery series, it will be published by Crooked Cat next year and is entitled The Calamity in Catford. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing DD’s Diary.

She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

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Links to buy Alice Castle’s books:,,

The book will be on sale for $0.99.


  1. I enjoyed reading about your book; congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  2. Thanks for sharing your review, I enjoyed reading it!

  3. What is your favorite type of book to read? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

  4. Thank you for your honest review, it's much appreciated!

  5. Thanks for your review. The honesty is appreciated.

  6. What book would you like to see a sequel to? Thanks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com