Wednesday 15 November 2023


Book review: Murder at Holly House by Denzil Meyrick [blog tour]

It's the season for murder mysteries! OK, I admit, I do love a good whodunnit any time of year, but nothing beats cosying up on a cold and dark evening with a gripping tale of killings, secrets, and red herrings. And Murder at Holly House by Denzil Meyrick hit the murderous spot just right. 

About Murder at Holly House

Frank Grasby is a police inspector in York. But after an unfortunate event with some missing horses, he's demoted to the sleepy village of Elderby in the North Yorkshire Moors. Although it's less quiet than he had anticipated. As soon as he arrives a man turns up dead in a chimney... and it's not Santa Claus. 

My review

Denzil Meyrick is a new-to-me author and I really enjoyed the quicky characters he introduces readers to in this one, particularly fumbling protagonist Frank Grasby, although the village of Elderby is filled with interesting people. From the police man who falls asleep in the middle of investigations through to the landlady who walks around with a big raven on her shoulder. I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of some of these – and I can't wait to discover more about all the villagers in potential future novels. 

The story also wasn't told in an entirely straightforward format. Just like my fav Janice Hallett, author Denzil Meyrick incorporates police reports, witness statements, and diary entries to let the mystery unfold. This creates the ultimate unreliable narrator as not only are we, as readers, discovering the clues and suspects from the perspective of a police investigator who isn't the smartest of the bunch to begin with, but we also have to be very careful not to take anyone else's words as gospel either. 

All this meant that I certainly didn't guess what was truly going on within this story until it was spelled out for me by the characters. This was also partly due to this being quite a different mystery than I usually read about. Yes, there was a murder, suspects, and red herrings, but there was also a bigger, more intricate backdrop – one that made it pretty impossible for readers to fully comprehend who was to be trusted until the very end. It was all quite clever, although a bit too conspiracy-forward for my personal reading tastes as I was expecting something a little simpler and more festive from the title and cover.

Murder at Holly House by Denzil Meyrick balances the line between cosy crime and spy novel. There are quirky characters, ridiculous situations, and plenty of humour but there's also a sinister undercurrent that makes this novel darker than your average Richard Osman or Robert Thorogood. This is definitely a read for chilly winter's nights as the setting on the North Yorkshire Moors is very glum – and this feeling slowly seeps into the plot of the novel too.

Murder at Holly House by Denzil Meyrick is published by Transworld Publishers and you can now buy your copy from your favourite local book shop!

Blog tour stops for Murder at Holly House by Denzil Meyrick

This review for Murder at Holly House is a part of the official blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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