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My review of The Birthday Girl by Sarah Ward

I was lucky enough to receive an advance reading copy of The Birthday Girl by Derbyshire based writer, Sarah Ward. The book is the first in her Pembrokeshire Crime series and - as I lived in Pembrokeshire for seven years in the early 2000s - I was especially keen to read this novel. It was a gripping read that left me eager for the next book in the series. Here's my review:

The Birthday Girl by Sarah Ward

Becoming the night manager of a boutique island hotel seems like the perfect place for ex copper, Mallory Dawson, to work while she recovers from the injury that caused her to quit the force. She dealt with plenty of difficult people in her old job, and isn’t fazed by the prospect of a few petulant hotel guests. The job should be a doddle, right?


But then the weather takes a turn for the worse and the murders begin…


Trapped on Eldey Island by a fierce storm, Mallory finds herself unexpectedly running the hotel, doing her best to protect its guests, and hunting a killer – and not just any killer either. One of the guests staying incognito on the island is the schoolgirl dubbed The Birthday Girl, who murdered three of her friends at her eleventh birthday party back in 1996.


Cut off from the mainland with no phone signal, it is up to Mallory to identify the killer in their midst. Using her skills of detection, she whittles down her list of suspects to three women: artist, Mona; new mother, Beth; and unhappily married Charlotte. But which one of them is The Birthday Girl, and will Mallory be able to stop her before she kills again?


The Birthday Girl is cleverly plotted, full of twists and intrigue, with an ending that is both dramatic and satisfying

This book hooked me from the very first line. Set on a beautiful but deadly Pembrokeshire island, The Birthday Girl is cleverly plotted, full of twists and intrigue, with an ending that is both dramatic and satisfying.


To my delight, the resolution of the case also opened up an opportunity for Mallory to work on more cases with Dyfed Powys police. I can’t wait for the next book in this fantastic new series.


With thanks to Canelo for providing an ARC in exchange for a review.



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