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Book Review | The Corfe Castle Murders by Rachel McLean

We’re delighted to be sharing Elena’s thoughts about The Corfe Castle Murders by Rachel McLean.

Corfe Castle shrouded in mist on the book cover for The Corfe Castle Murders by Rachel McLean
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ackroyd Publishing (15 July 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1913401111
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1913401115

Meet DCI Lesley Clarke. She’s a straight-talking city copper who doesn’t suffer fools gladly… and she’s been transferred to rural Dorset.

After being injured in a bomb attack, Lesley is presented with a choice – early retirement, or a period of respite in a calmer location.

But things don’t stay calm for long.

Before she’s even started her new job, Lesley is dragged into investigating a murder at one of England’s most iconic landmarks, the imposing Corfe Castle.

Lesley must hit the ground running. Can she get along with her new partner DS Dennis Frampton, a traditionalist who doesn’t appreciate her style? How will she navigate the politics of a smaller force where she’s a bigger, and less welcome, fish? And most importantly, can she solve the murder before the killer strikes again?

The Corfe Castle Murders is a compelling, character-driven mystery perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves, Faith Martin and Joy Ellis.

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Book Review

DCI Lesley Clarke has been posted to rural Dorset to recover from the bombing she was unwittingly caught up with in Birmingham where she lives and works.

Married to Terry and with a daughter, it feels strange to be away from them for six months and the difference in the work and pace of life in Dorset is so different to what she is used to.

She has a new partner, Dennis who is her total opposite and who isn’t a fan of having a female boss and who imposes a ‘swear jar’ on his colleagues. This infuriates Lesley and she doesn’t know whether she can cope with how different life in Corfe Castle is to what she’s used to. 

On the eve of her first day working for Dorset Police, she quickly becomes involved in a murder at an archaeological dig at Corfe Castle. One of the group has been brutally murdered. As they go deeper into the investigation it becomes clear that the case is much more complicated than anyone ever thought.

Tasked with solving the mystery while her personal life is spiralling out of control, will Lesley uncover the truth about what has been happening in Corfe Castle?

I was eager to read The Corfe Castle Murders as I don’t live too far from Corfe and we visit regularly. It was so interesting to actually be able to picture accurately the setting in the book and the nearby locations of Poole, Bournemouth and Wareham which also feature. 

The writing is fast paced and chapters short, meaning I read this quickly and eagerly. 

Lesley is a likeable and no-nonsense character who is at odds with her new quiet location and ‘local’ colleagues and life is so different to what she’s used to but she soon realises that it’s not only the big cities that have the juiciest cases!

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I devoured this fantastic crime novel and as it is Part One of a series I would absolutely love to read any follow ups.

Thoroughly recommend this exciting page-turner. 


My name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club. I’ll send you a weekly (sometimes fortnightly) email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

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