In Cold Blood by Jane Bettany

Title: In Cold Blood (DI Isabel Blood #1)

Author: Jane Bettany

Published on: 27 August 2020

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

DI Isabel Blood and her team are called to investigate a crime on Ecclesdale Drive. As Isabel approaches the crime scene, she realizes the property cordoned off is number 23, the house in which Isabel spent her first fourteen years.

The forensic team estimate the body must have been buried anywhere between 25 to 40 years – coinciding with the time Isabel and her family spent at this house. Isabel’s father disappeared without a trace forty years ago. Is it possible he was buried in their garden all this while?

Jane Bettany won the HQ and Gransnet Prize for women writers over 40 whose book has a protagonist in the same age group. In Cold Blood is Jane Bettany’s debut novel and features DI Isabel Blood, a detective in her mid-fifties.


Isabel lives with her husband Nathan and teenage daughter Ellie. Having two older children, Isabel found she was 41 when she as pregnant with Ellie. We get to see how older parents deal with kids of younger gen. Nathan, an illustrator who works from home, seems to be adjusting well to the modern gen peeps while the same cannot be said about Isabel.

We also have the angle of Isabel’s father’s disappearance forty years ago. Her mum refused to reveal the details, no matter how much Isabel would beg her to. When the body is found on the property, there is a moment where Isabel actually believes her mum might have killed her dad and buried him in the garden.

I love stories in which the detectives handle a cold case. With most of the evidence dating back to the pre-tech era, searching through mass amounts of files, looking for witnesses – there’s always a chance that some of them would have passed away, and gathering new evidence that supports the crime committed decades ago – this is a huge task. Quite challenging too.


I wouldn’t reveal the details of the forensic findings and make this review a spoiler. But I can tell you this, Yes, the body found is that of a cold case. Isabel gets in touch with the lady next door – an old neighbor who remembers Isabel and her family – and gets to the bottom of this case.

There’s a twist in the story when it comes to the identity of the victim – a wowza twist, as I would like to call it. The mystery behind their ‘accidental death’ or ‘murder’ is simply superb. Like I said before, this is a cold case and it is not easy to gain new insights. But DI Blood is good at what she does. A startling insight on the case is what leads her to the killer.

Speaking of the killer, their identity was no surprise. As more clues are gathered, it is pretty clear as to who the killer might be. In Cold Blood is not just a story of a cop solving a cold case. We also get to see how Isabel juggles between her work as a DI and a mum to a teenage daughter. Isabel also needs a closure on her father’s mysterious disappearance. Her mother never told her the real story. Would finding the body in their old house open old wounds? Will Isabel be able to digest the real reason behind her father’s disappearance?

Kudos to Jane Brittany for the amount of research she’s put into writing this book. A mind-blowing story with a wowza twist, this book has made its way into my best books of 2020 list. The mystery is well-maintained throughout the story. As a first in the series, the character introduction and development is excellent. I am certainly looking forward to reading DI Blood’s next adventure.

Many thanks to HQDigital and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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