Beyond Beliefby Helen Smith (Website, Facebook, Twitter)
Series: Emily Castle Mysteries #2
Published by Thomas & Mercer on 2014-01-28
Genres: Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Mystery & Detective, Occult & Supernatural, Traditional British, Women Sleuths
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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When famed psychic Perspicacious Peg predicts a murder will occur at England’s Belief and Beyond conference, her science-minded colleagues recruit twenty-six-year-old budding sleuth Emily Castles to attend the event as a “future crimes investigator.” The suspected victim: celebrated magician Edmund Zenon, who plans to perform a daring stunt at the conference—and is offering fifty thousand pounds to any attendee who can prove that the paranormal exists.
In the seaside town of Torquay, Emily meets a colorful cast of characters: dramatic fortune-teller Madame Nova; kindly Bobby Blue Suit and his three psychic dachshunds; Sarah and Tim Taylor, devastated parents mourning their late son; and religious cult members Hilary, Trina, and the Colonel. Tensions rise as believers in science, the supernatural, and the spiritual clash with one another. But once a body count begins, Emily must excuse herself from the séances and positivity circles, and use old-fashioned detective work to find the killer.
Beyond Belief is a British cozy mystery novel, full of quirky, fun characters set against a scenic sea side back drop in a small British resort town. Emily Castle is a bored office worker—and she’s mostly content that way—but when psychics begin to predict the drowning death of someone at the Belief and Beyond Conference, she’s pulled in as a “Future Crimes Investigator” by her neighbor/Philosophy professor Dr. Muriel. Seizing the opportunity for an all-expenses paid weekend trip to Torquay, Emily figures that she’ll take a few notes on the psychics, magicians, tarot card readers, and other eclectic attendees that are there for the conference, and she’ll call it a weekend.
Famous magician Edmund Zenon is who everyone is predicting will drown in this picturesque resort town on the English seaside, and he has many enemies. He’s also offering up a million dollar award for anyone who can conclusively prove their psychic abilities, and he doesn’t think that he’ll be paying out that money any time soon. When the bodies do start turning up, some victims of drowning, Emily and Dr. Muriel must figure out what’s going on and who’s behind the plot to take down several key people attending this conference. Will they be able to figure it out before Mr. Zenon dies? Emily finds that the very real powers of observation and old-fashioned amateur detective work is more effective than psychic powers when finding a murderer.
Emily Castle is smart, studious, and it’s often stated that she thinks about her deceased dog a lot. I’m not sure if that’s a call out to book one, and since this is book two, I could be missing something, but the other psychic character seem to think that Emily has the ghost of her dog around her. Emily often seems a little dull and too conservative at times because the other characters can be so flamboyant. But it’s those characteristics that make her a good detective: she’s observant, seeing things that other people don’t notice and making the connections that most people wouldn’t.
I give Beyond Belief a 3.5 out of 5. This is a fun book, full of interesting characters and a very vivid, picturesque setting in the English seaside. This book is full-on British, so if interpreting the food and sayings native to Britain isn’t your thing, you might struggle with this book a bit. There a quite a few characters to keep track of in this book, and it was often confusing at times to figure out exactly who was who. While these secondary characters were easily distinguishable with their character traits, it was just a bit distracting. Overall, this is an entertaining, quick read for people who like cozy mysteries with quirky characters.