The Study (Marlowe Flint #2), by Kathy Garthwaite

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to Kathy Garthwaite for providing me with a copy of this novel, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Kathy Garthwaite has certainly made a name for herself with these wonderful Canadian police procedurals, many of which are able to capture the small-town feel without becoming too hokey. The second in the Sergeant Marlowe Flint series is wonderfully developed and yet keeps a local feel to it throughout. While the small community on Vancouver Island is excited to gather at a local castle for a time capsule unveiling, everything slams to a halt when a man is found murdered. Sergeant Flint is not sure who might have wanted to do anything so drastic, but all is soon revealed, in this impactful thriller that takes readers on quite a ride. Garthwaite has a way with words and writing that is sure to impress many who give her a try.

The bucolic nature of Vancouver Island that has always impressed RCMP Sergeant Marlowe Flint, even if there is the odd crime to investigate. It’s an exciting day, as the community gathers to unveil the contents of a time capsule buried four decades before. However, before things can get underway, there is new that a man’s been found dead inside the castle’s study, having struck his head.

After some preliminary forensics, it’s determined that it was murder and the mayor—who happens to be Flint’s current beau— was seen leaving the study not long before the body was discovered. With a murder on site and little to go on, Sergeant Flint will have to piece things together delicately. She’s not yet ready to assume the witness was entirely correct, but there’s no discounting it either.

All eyes turn to motive, though nothing comes to mind. However, it is only after someone suggests cataloguing the contents of the time capsule that things begin to make a little more sense. Losses and gains soon become the theme and it is only a matter of time before all is completely revealed, leaving Sergeant Flint to hone in on the responsible party. A great thriller that reads quickly, allowing readers to discover the wonders of Kathy Garthwaite and her style of writing.

I stumbled upon Kathy Garthwaite last summer and devoured all the books she’d written, shining a light on Canada and offering some well-paced police procedurals. While many in the genre seek to utilise big city storylines, Garthwaite has used local haunts and, at times, smaller venues to tell her stories, as she did in this piece. The writing is strong and the descriptions like little else I have enjoyed before. It’s a treat for anyone who loves a good police procedural and wants the story tied up in short order.

Sergeant Marlowe Flint is back for another go-round in this piece, which offers readers something wonderful while also promoting women in a position of authority. Flint has a family, who are showcased here to balance against her gritty work within the RCMP. Flint leads a team effectively and does not let work interfere with what’s important, a daughter, though both are quite dear to her. Flint finds ways to keep her eyes on the prize and digs a little deeper throughout this book to find the killer, without causing mayhem during the investigation.

The handful of supporting characters that Garthwaite uses really resonate well for this small-town piece. Each individual has their own backstory and offers the reader some unique insights, all without getting too wrapped up in themselves. While there are many names to keep straight, Garthwaite does entertain the reader with the vast number of interactions that enrich the story here and throughout the reading experience. Some complement Marlowe Flint, which others add depth to the backstory and plot.

The story was well-paced and flowed well, showing that a police procedural can clip along and yet still hit all the marks. Kathy Garthwaite enriches the piece with her bucolic setting, adding description that helps it pop on the page. The plot flowed throughout the piece, building momentum as the narrative advanced. It had a true ‘Canadian’ feel to it, which may only be noticeable to those who have spent a great deal of time in this wonderful country. Gritty, without being over the top, and full of detail (while being light on the apologies)., this book checks all the boxes for a great read I have come to really enjoy Kathy Garthwaite and her writing, hoping that others will soon discover her work and enjoy future publications.

Kudos, Madam Garthwaite, for another winner. I cannot wait to see what’s next and how Vancouver Island will play a role in the overall story!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: