The Body at Carnival Bridge by Michelle Salter

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for The Body at Carnival Bridge by Michelle Salter. Many thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invite.

Title: The Body at Carnival Bridge (Iris Woodmore Mystery #3)

Author: Michelle Salter

Published on: 11 May 2023

Genre: Historical Mystery

Buy on Amazon: Kindle | Paperback

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Body at Carnival Bridge is the third book in Michelle Salter’s Iris Woodmore Mysteries.

Iris Woodmore Mysteries is one of my favorite historical mystery series. I love the main character Iris Woodmore, the setting, the storyline, and of course, the writing. I came across this series in the beginning of this year and so far, I have nothing but praises (and more of it) for this fantabulous historical series.

Michelle’s Salter’s attention to detail and the historical facts are to the point. Each installment concentrates on a murder mystery as well as some progress in Iris’ personal life. Iris has been through a lot – lost her mum at a young age (she was a suffragette), has a turbulent relationship with her dad (Iris and her dad are alike in many ways, hence the clashes), and of late, Iris seems to be making a lot of bad decisions when it comes to affairs of ze heart. Mon Dieu!!

The Body at Carnival Bridge begins with Iris back in England. She went on a trip across Europe with George. It wasn’t the right decision for her, but she wanted to escape from the traumatic experiences back home – her best friend was brutally murdered and the man she thought she could have a relationship with betrayed her. Almost a year later, she’s back with tail between her legs. She and George didn’t get along well, money was running short, so Iris left it all and came home.

She now has a reputation in Walden – not the good kind. People know she lived with a man (without marrying him.) She’s at the event hosted by Constance Timpson, a wealthy businesswoman who has introduced equal pay in her factories and allows women to retain their job after marrying. This was caused quite a stir in the region. Men who returned from war aren’t happy as they have lost their jobs and also seem to be suffering from shellshock (war-related PTSD).

Constance has been receiving threatening notes and at the event, someone shoots at her. The perp might have purposely missed the target or not, but one thing is clear. The threat is real. Someone wants Constance out of the picture. But why?

Then, one of the young girls who work at Constance’s biscuit factory goes missing. The factory is co-owned by Constance and the former factory owner. When Iris meets with him, she cannot stop herself from wondering that he has something to hide. Then, the missing girl is found dead. Iris finds her body in a boat at the Carnival Bridge.

Apart from the murder mystery, various issues are highlighted here. Abortion rights – women (married/unmarried) desperate to abort a child have to go through the procedure illegally. They are being educated on birth control methods, but some are helpless as they are controlled by their husbands.

“Most women don’t have a choice over whether they get pregnant. Their husbands aren’t going to give the time of day to these methods.”

Then, there are young girls like Rosie (the victim) who look for alternative options – pills advertised in newspapers claiming to ‘remove obstructions.’ I had no idea that pills and alternative medicines used to be advertised in the newspaper. Not just women related issues, there were pills for men too.

One such advertisement reads: New life and vigour. Stimulates the functions of various organs, increases their secretions.

In case of an abusive marriage, there was no question of divorce either. Unless there’s a ‘valid’ reason, the courts wouldn’t approve.

“A man can beat his wife black and blue, in a court of law that’s not a good enough reason to get divorced. “

Coming to Iris’ choices in men – gosh, someone please tell her that bad boys aren’t for her! This is probably the second time she’s attracted to someone who’s not of the nicer kind. Well, technically this is the third time, but Percy has improved since their last fight. To be honest, of all the men Iris was attracted to, Percy is the decent kind. I also wouldn’t mind if Iris and Ben get together. They have known each other for a long time.

There are two mysteries here – murder of a young girl and multiple sniper attacks on Constance and other women in power. Both mysteries kept me guessing till the end. The side story that melted my heart was that of young Rosie’s – the poor thing went through a lot of struggles before she was murdered.

Though each book in this series can be read as a standalone, I suggest you start from the beginning. The Body at Carnival Bridge by Michelle Salter is a fantabulous historical mystery. Engrossing, unique and riveting. Highly recommended!

Additional Reading:

Book #1: Death at Crookham Hall by Michelle Salter

Book #2: Murder at Waldenmere Lake by Michelle Salter

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