Published by Fahrenheit Press
Publication date – 18 November 2015
Source – own copy
“Danny Bird is having a very bad day. In the space of just a few hours he lost his job, his partner and his home.
Ever the optimist, Danny throws himself headlong into his dream to turn the grimmest pub in London into the coolest nightspot south of the river. Sadly, everything doesn’t go quite as planned when his star turn is found strangled hours before opening night.
Danny becomes the prime suspect in the crime, and then the gangster who really owns the pub starts asking where his share of the takings has gone… it seems things are going to get worse for Danny before they get better. “
You lose your job of 16 years and on the same day you break up with your boyfriend and have to leave your home. What do you do? If you are Danny Bird, you take a job as the landlord of a less than reputable London pub, run by a notorious local gangster. And you hire a well-known celebrity famed for her demanding ways. What you don’t expect is for said diva to end up strangled just before she’s due on stage…
I loved the characterisation in the book. Danny is a great character, kind, funny and a great mixture of world weary and naïve. Caz, or Lady Caroline if she’s trying to charm, or get something. If I were to be an unemployed offspring of a peer of the realm with little regard for other people’s opinions, an ability to consume vast quantities of gin and an elastic viewpoint on legalities I would want to be Lady Caz. The relationship between Danny and Caz is great, their banter and Caz’s often biting comments add a lovely comedic element to the story.
This isn’t a gruesome murder mystery. It could perhaps be classed as a cosy crime in that it has amateur detectives as the protagonists and a not very gory murder. But there is violence and swearing unlike in most cosy mysteries. This book therefore perhaps bridges the gap between such books and traditional gritty crime novels. In any event and more importantly it is well written, funny and throughly entertaining.
The clues are dotted throughout the novel, allowing the reader to work out whodunnit before the reveal and I have great fun seeing how the penny dropped with Danny.
I soon found myself speeding through this funny, engaging book. This is the first novel from Derek Farrell and I’m pleased to say it isn’t his last. As soon as I finished reading Death of a Diva I bought the second novel to feature Danny and Lady Caz, Death of a Nobody. I can only hope a third book will be out soon.