Shadows in Sussex by Emma Dakin


Shadows in Sussex  by Emma Dakin

Shadows in Sussex

by Emma Dakin


GENRE: Cozy Mystery 


BLURB: Shadows in Sussex  by Emma Dakin

Barclay and her band of tourists are full of enthusiasm for her trip to Sussex
and Kent, the beautiful southeastern part of England. A tragic death of a young
man the son of the guest house manager sends Claire into comforting mode and
makes it more difficult for her to provide a bright and carefree holiday. Laura
was not surprised at her son’s death as he had been a drug user and she
expected he had taken contaminated drugs, a common fate. But the police lab
said otherwise. He was murdered. Claire’s fiancĂ©, Detective Inspector Mark
Evans, investigates, so Claire is involved and privy to much information. Too
much. In spite of her busy life with demanding guests, she discovers the motive
for the murder and finds herself in danger.

 A fun tour of Sussex with the extra treat for
mystery lovers as Emma Dakin ties places to favourite books

—Rhys Bowen (NYT bestselling author of the

Molly Murphy and Royal Spyness series

 If you are looking for a cosy crime novel that
evokes a wonderful sense of place - look no further. Emma Dakin skilfully
weaves a new mystery into a fascinating and informative tour of Southern
England featuring heroine and literary tour guide, Claire Barclay, and a host
of interesting characters.

—Julie Wassmer, Author of The Whitstable Pearl

This engaging story will appeal to traditional mystery lovers who like their murders set against the authentic backdrop of
quaint English villages.

—Clara Benson, USA Today bestselling author of the
Angela Marchmont Mysteries



Approaching the small
town of Rye, I marked the route to Canterbury and the road to Hastings where
I’d take my guests later in the week, I didn’t know this area well but had done
two quick reconnaissance trips earlier. Jacqueline Winspear set her books near
here in the war years. Her descriptions had given me a sense of familiarity
with the green land around me, but the miles of delta before the sea surprised
me. Rother Manor, our guest hotel, was large, but not, I was sure, large enough
to have ever been a manor house. The name was probably applied to the house
recently to attract tourists. The common meaning of ‘manor’ was a large house
on a huge estate, but sometimes it just meant a large house. Mark told me that
his colleagues sometimes called their police district their manor. I ruminated
on the application of the word. I tended to do that. I’d not brought guests
here before, but it looked ideal, sufficiently old to satisfy the North
American appetite for a romantic setting but not so old it was decrepit. Laura
Wright, the manager, had seemed organized and experienced.

 I loved trying
out new guest hotels and the whole experience of taking a tour of the sites of
mystery novels. The tourists shared my itch for mysteries and were usually
interested in what I offered. I’d had a career as a teacher of English to
executives in many parts of the world. I enjoyed it as I was fascinated by
linguistics and the way people use language. Now at forty-eight, I had achieved
stability with a reliable partner, my own house and tour business and a legacy
from my much-missed step-father. I should be able to feel comfortable, not
always expecting a disaster. I admonished myself.
This time the tour will go
smoothly. This is a beautiful house; you will enjoy it here.

 Rother Manor
House was a three-storey rambling Victorian and was as close to a gracious
house as was possible at the edge of Rye. The grounds were beautiful. Laura's
son, Reece Martin, looked after them she’d told me. He was in his late twenties
and committed to creating beauty. The owners of the guest house were glad to
hire him, Laura had told me, as staff was hard to find. It was unusual to see
so much land around a house of this age in a town but it made a picturesque
setting for my visitors. Across the street and well below it lay the cricket
grounds, still green in the July heat. Beyond the grounds, the salt marsh
stretched to the sea. The tourists would love this view.

 I pulled my
eyes away from the vista and turned into the car park, a gravelled area to the
left of the entrance. After unloading my small suitcase, knapsack and briefcase
from the van, I climbed a few steps to the front door. It was unlocked. I
entered into a long hallway and saw a side table with an open guest book and a
prominent bell. I called for Laura but there was no answer. I hit the bell. No
one came. I hadn’t told her the exact time I’d be here. She was likely nearby.
I wandered into the lounge which was off the hallway. A small table held two
cups and saucers, sugar a milk jug and a plate of cake. My guests weren’t
arriving until tomorrow. She could have other guests tonight, but I hoped that
cake was for me. I dropped my luggage on a chair in the lounge and walked down
the hallway to the rear of the house. There was no one in the kitchen. I pushed
through the back door and stepped into the garden. The minute I opened the door
I heard the keening of a woman in distress, a soft, desperate cry that rose in
the air and hung there. There was anguish in every tone. The hairs on my
forearms rose and I stood frozen for a moment.

  The wail receded, then rose again. It came
from the area at the back of the property. I walked towards a shed. I moved
cautiously to the open door and peered in.

 Laura was
sitting on the floor beside a young man who lay still. His skin on his arms was
pale, deadly pale. His head was turned so I just saw his dark hair. He was
muscular, wearing a black T-shirt, denim jeans, and black trainers. At first, I
thought he’d fallen or had a seizure of some sort. Then I saw the Prenoxade kit
open and the syringe on the floor nearby. Prenoxade, naloxone, the life-saving
remedy for drug poisoning. Tour guides carried it; police carried it; teachers
had it handy and, apparently, so did mothers.


 Emma Dakin


of Shadows in Sussex: The British Book Tour Mysteries Book 6

Author's choice

do mysteries have so many bodies? Well, bodies are important, personal and
seemingly impossible to understand which are elements of a good mystery.
Occasionally, we have a mystery without a body, Josephine Tey’s The Franchise Affair for one, but a body catapults the
story into answering the questions: who, how, why, and when.

 It is difficult to make bodies that repeatedly
show up in a small town believable. Readers simply suspend belief on that
point. Bodies turning up often are more likely in a city such as Anne Cleeve’s
Newcastle and Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs London. Authors get around
this problem by having their protagonist in cities or have them go from place
to place like Claire in
The British Book Tour Mysteries

 Readers most often don’t care about the body
because the author has taken great care to make sure they don’t. The deceased
is someone the readers don’t know or who was universally hated and acts as a
device to propel the rest of the story. Mind you, the death must make sense. It
must be important that this particular person died. So, authors must create a
long and involved back story of the deceased’s life which she may spend days or
even weeks creating only to dribble bits and pieces of that past life throughout
the story. By the end of the story, the reader comes to understand the
unfortunate victim. In
Crime in Cornwall my victim was, at first read,
unsympathetic, really quite an unpleasant person, but the more I understood him,
the more fascinating I found him. In
Shadows in Sussex, the victim is
admirable and I wished he hadn’t died. It was reasonable that he died: he was a
personal victim and a societal victim but I liked him and regretted his death. However,
victims are required in a mystery. They are sometimes our most interesting

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AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Emma Dakin writes a series of mysteries set in Britain. Her
protagonist is a tour guide who takes different characters in each book to the
sites of mystery novels in the countryside. She appreciates the elegance, people
and humour of each area. But in that idyllic country, Claire stumbles on murder.
Author Emma Dakin has five books so far in this series with the latest release on September 12th 2023. A historical mystery set in Vancouver in 1886 is due out
soon. She won a prestigious 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s Community History Award
for her non-fiction account of life in the 60s.







Emma Dakin will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a
randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Post a Comment


  1. What is your favorite time of day to do your writing?

    1. Hi Tracie, I write every weekday morning. (And weekends when I am part of a tour). I stop at noon or 1 and try to balance my life with other activities like paddling outrigger canoes, line dancing, and playing the fiddle.

  2. This should be a promising read. Thanks for hosting.