“Welcome to Eldey, an island with deadly secrets.
Mona: a carefree artist, staying at the Cloister to work on her illustrations.
Beth: the harried mother of a toddler, on the remote Welsh island for a weekend with her family.
Charlotte: a reluctant stepmother who wanted a romantic getaway with her husband.
One of them is a serial killer who poisoned four of her friends at her eleventh birthday party.
They all fit the profile. Who will risk everything to kill again?
An absolutely gripping Welsh crime novel, perfect for fans of Sarah Pearce and Lucy Foley.”
Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of The Birthday Girl by Sarah Ward. The Birthday Girl was published by Canelo Crime on 6th April 2023 and is available in paperback and digital formats. I chose to read a free ARC of The Birthday Girl but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Canelo and the Tandem Collective for sending me a finished copy.
Sarah Ward is a crime writer who sits high on my list of ‘must read’ authors. She is the author of the superb DC Connie Childs series which, if you’re a crime fiction fan, you must make a point of picking up. You won’t regret it. When I heard Sarah was on the brink of publishing a new mystery series featuring Mallory Dawson, an ex-MET detective who ends up stranded with an infamous murderer on a remote island, I knew I just had to read it. So imagine my delight when I was accepted to join the Tandem Collective readalong for the book over on instagram! It was meant to be.
Mallory Dawson, retired from the MET on health grounds, finds herself as Night Manager at The Clositers, an upmarket boutique hotel situated on Eldey, a small island off the coast of Pembrokeshire. It’s not ideal but Mallory will take whatever she can get for a few months until something better comes along. When the hotel’s receptionist dies suddenly, the peace and serenity of The Cloisters is thrown into chaos. Because one of the guests isn’t who she says she is. One of the guests poisoned four of her friends at her eleventh birthday party. One of the guests is a convicted killer known as The Birthday Girl…
Wow! What a cracking murder mystery from one of my favourite authors. 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝗿𝘁𝗵𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹 is an expertly written whodunit featuring a cast of highly intriguing characters. Our three main suspects are Mona, Charlotte and Beth. They’re all beautifully drawn and completely flawed. Any of them could be the Birthday Girl and if you’re anything like me, you’ll change your mind as to who the killer is with every passing chapter.
Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I thoroughly enjoyed 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗶𝗿𝘁𝗵𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹. So much so it pulled me out of a pesky reading slump. Ward knows her craft and this book proves that in spades. Eminently readable, chock full of suspense and with a vivid, isolated setting that was as much a character in its own right. Highly recommended to fans of well written whodunits. You really can’t go wrong with a Sarah Ward novel.
I chose to read and review a free ARC of The Birthday Girl. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
The Birthday Girl by Sarah Ward was published in the UK by Canelo Crime on 6th April 2023 and is available in paperback and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop | damppebbles amazon.co.uk shop | damppebbles amazon.com shop |
Sarah Ward is a critically acclaimed crime and gothic thriller writer. Her book, A Patient Fury, was an Observer book of the month and The Quickening, written as Rhiannon Ward, was a Radio Times book of the year. Sarah is on the Board of the Crime Writers Association, Derby Book Festival and Friends of Buxton International Festival. She is an RLF Fellow at Sheffield University.