Death at Hazel House is the first book in Sukey Reynolds series. This book was first released as An Inconsiderate Death in 1997. Having heard a lot about Rowlands’ novels, I decided to give this book a try and I was disappointed!
Before I tell you what the ‘disappointing’ factor in this story is, let me give you a gist of the plot. Sukey Reynolds is a SOCO(scene of crime officer). Her job is to photograph the scene of the crime. The story starts with a bank robbery. Fast forward a couple of years later, the scene opens with Hugo in the gym. He cannot keep his eyes off the woman who’s cycling next to him. He ogles at her and tries to make a pass at her, which she sometimes ignores and sometimes entertains. (!!!) He doesn’t take a no for an answer and she finally agrees to click some photographs of his house and garden – he says his wife would be happy about it. But Sukey knows the man would call her home when his wife is not there. (and yet she agrees to go to his place!)
Hugo now drools about the ‘wonderful’ time he’s going to spend with Sukey. Meanwhile, at home, Sukey’s son Fergus is now a teenager with raging hormones. Her husband is not in their lives anymore but Sukey doesn’t want to date anyone, except for DI Jim perhaps. Sparks fly between the two and yet they try to control their urges.
Now that Sukey is in his life (an assumption), Hugo needs to get rid of his mistress – Lorraine Chant. The lady doesn’t take no for an answer. A day later, she’s found dead in her house. A local man by the name of Holland is suspected of murdering the poor woman. The police find a huge safe open and empty at the crime scene but Mr Chant is sure that nothing’s missing. But something’s not right. Mr Chant and Holland seem to hide something. And what about Hugo? How is he related to the case? Sukey Reynold has to expose the true killer before it’s too late.
As you can see from the gist, there are lot many things happening in the story. Bank robbery, murder, theft; lusty characters; Hugo is a wife-beater too! The characters seemed lusty or maybe I can say horny, as the story begins. This side of the characters was something that I didn’t like. A few scenes here and there is okay but at some places, it sends out a wrong example. Like, Brenda – Hugo’s wife – is fine with her husband beating her. It doesn’t end at beatings. He ‘punishes’ her later in bed and she’s fine with that too. His hands are always found inside her shirt or skirt and she’s okay with that – yuck! He keeps her happy and lets her buy anything she wants so she’s okay with him molesting/raping/beating her!!! (WTH!)
I really wanted to DNF this book but the mystery was okayish so I thought of giving it a chance – maybe read a few more pages and then decide if I really want to DNF it. Thankfully, the sexual attractions/frustrations/whatever-shit ends all of a sudden halfway through the book. The twists and suspense were good enough but the above-mentioned details are what spoiled the story.
Sukey is not left alone either. Someone is trying to kill her but why? This part of the story was interesting to read. You might consider this as a spoiler – there are two separate crimes and two separate killers in this story. But crimes and the killers are somehow related.
I liked the writing style but this book was not up to my liking. I will not be reading Sukey Reynolds’ adventures anymore. So far, in Goodreads, I am the only one who has given this book a low rating. I can’t help it, the story made me uncomfortable at times!
Writing Style: 3.5/5
Character Development: 2/5
Overall Rating: 2/5
Title: Death at Hazel House
Author: Betty Rowlands
Published on: 3rd May 2019 (republished by Bookouture)
Available on Kindle Unlimited
Featured Image Credits: Goodreads