In Daphne, Clark has crafted an ideal cozy mystery sleuth, an appealing and inquisitive woman engaged in a lively profession that allows her to observe people in moments of pitched emotion without attracting their attention. She’s confident yet relatable, having to tell herself, at times, to “stop babbling,” and her love for her job (“Being a celebrant means the world to me”) and fear of losing clients is endearing. As an older woman without connections to the police, Daphne may be discounted by those around her as someone lacking investigative skills, which makes her success as an amateur sleuth all the more believable.
The introduction of multiple suspects adds to the suspense as Clark gradually reveals information about the long-standing feud between the Tanning and Brooker families. Considering her history, the bride can’t be discounted as a potential black widow type, but Clark keeps the pages turning with smooth plotting as Daphne journeys in her caravan, charming yet dogged in the first of what looks to be many investigations to uncover a killer.
Takeaway: A charming wedding officiant turned amateur sleuth pursues the identity of a murderer after a newlywed's death.
Great for fans of: Tonya Kappes’s Beaches, Bungalows and Burglaries, Emma Jameson’s A Death at Seascape House.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A