Grave Suspicions | Alice James
Here we are again, talking about another book. This time it's the third book on the Lavington Windsor Mysteries by Alice James.
Right, without much further ado, here's what the book is about.
Agatha Raisin meets Sookie Stackhouse, with demons, vampires and bad boyfriends.
She’s back. She’s hungover. She’s got no idea.
Estate agent by day, necromancer by night, reluctant amateur sleuth when bullied into it… Toni Windsor is already juggling life and now she has to find out who clubbed a Cornish cheese millionaire to death while he was alone in a locked room.
And her diary was already full. She’s trying to keep the peace between vampire courts, a fistful of demonic contracts have just landed on her lap and—no surprise—her love life still isn’t looking great even though she’s finally dating someone who isn’t dead. Can’t a girl catch a break?
Here I am again with my favourite Necromancing estate agent, Toni Windsor. I wonder how much trouble she is going to get herself into this time. Turns out quite a lot.
Time has passed since the end of the Grave Danger and guess what? Toni has got herself a real live boyfriend. However, true to form, things just aren't going the way she planned. Yep, the guy is lovely, but she is just not feeling it.
And that's not the worst of it! There's murder afoot, and she's got herself mixed up with those pesky vampires again.
Have I mentioned that I totally enjoy these books. Toni is totally wonderful as a character, despite the fact that her love life is an absolute shambles.
As usual, Alice James deftly weaves a nice little gory tale of vampires with a light hearted rom com, managing to get a wonderful balance of shadow and light.
In addition to Toni's romantic shenanigans there is the usual murder mystery plot. This time it's a locked room scenario, in which the victim is murdered in impossible circumstances.And very typically for Alice James' style, the mystery aspect of the book is kept on the sidelines, until the moment comes for the reveal. Now I must admit, I did wonder how Alice James was going to pull together a seemingly number of disparate plot threads into a tightly woven dénouement, but as true to form, Alice James does it in a wonderfully underhand sleight of hand kind of way. You see, she tends to use the other stuff as a diversionary tactic to displace your focus on to the romantic and supernatural elements, whilst all the while carefully manoeuvring the missing pea of the story to the correct position, so that she can go ta daaaaaa, it was there all along.
And let's talk about those diversionary tactics shall we? The growth of the character of Toni, the mystery of her powers, the reason for her parent's mistreatment of her as a child and the growth of the world as a whole. Now that Toni has been established as a character and so has the world in which the story takes place, Alice James, is adding more substance to the world, especially with the introduction of witches and demons, and vampire lore as a whole.
We have got the introduction of new characters, particularly in the form of Nicky, a new vampire on the scene. We also get new love interests for Toni and we get to see where her relationship woes might end up. Of course, Alice James doesn't leave out the obligatory rumpy pumpy, but it comes much later in the story.
As a whole, Grave Suspicions is a fantastic addition to the series, and one I think will have Grave Repercussions (you can have that one, free of charge🤣 - Only Joking! Never thought I would get a Harry Enfield reference in a review🤣) to the rest of the series.