Banking On Murder – Book Review

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Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“It felt that this case became more complicated and confusing by each turn. The more she knew, the less she felt she understood. It was infuriating and fascinating in equal measure.”

This book really brightened up my week! I had no idea what to expect but it exceeded all my expectations, combining my love of humour and murder mystery to make the perfect cosy read. I’m so so happy to be joining this blog tour for the book – make sure you check out all the reviews from these other amazing book bloggers!

Martha Parker runs a small private detective agency in Glasgow with her two sisters, Helen and Geri. They specialise in catching cheating partners and those playing away from home.

The Parkers are hired by the reclusive wife of a wealthy banker she suspects is breaking their vows, but when he shows up murdered, it’s up to Martha, Helen, and Geri to prove the wife’s innocence in their most dangerous case yet.

The beginning

I loved how this story started with a very sneaky cat – something I never knew I needed! The detective theme is apparent straight away, and already, I loved everything from the easy-to-read tone of voice to the memorable characters, who already had me invested in their stories. The Parker sisters are just the most funny and determined of characters, and reading about their lives was such a delight. Their work stood out a mile and created the basis for such an exciting story – a private detective agency specialising in catching unfaithful partners! This reminded me of that really strange reality show on TV (I think it was literally called ‘Cheaters’) where partners are caught in the act with a sneaky television crew and some dodgey camera work. However, you’ll be glad to know that this story had a much better plot and when a murder is discovered, Parkers Investigations have much more serious job on their hands… More on that later!

We soon meet Tracey, a woman who is in desperate need of help from Parkers Investigations. The author has created this character well, making us feel so sorry for her, but also giving us the feeling that something wasn’t right, that perhaps she was a little too upset and unstable. Was there something beneath the surface that the sisters needed to uncover? I was pulled into this story very early on and was already desperate to learn more about Tracey’s husband. Was there something much more serious on the cards, and would Martha and the other sisters really have their work cut out this time? Reading this book seemed to be a constant balance of playing detective, laughing my head off at the sisters’ banter and just sitting back and enjoying the author’s flawless writing talent. Such a great opening to the book and I was enjoying every second. I knew this would continue to the end!

Geri, the youngest of the Parker sisters, was hilarious and incredibly confident. So confident in fact that she manages to get Tracey’s husband’s phone number without arousing any suspicion! The story was most definitely taking a turn I didn’t expect, and Gordon seemed to be the exact person we all expected him to be – flirty with everyone and willing to invite three women he didn’t know to a fancy party. Of course, if they had any chance of finding out more about this mystery man, they’d have to attend, no matter how out of Martha and Helen’s comfort zone it was! The banter between these sisters is constant, and even though we’d soon have a mystery on our hands, I loved just how fun and involving the story was. It already felt like we’d known these characters for a lifetime and I couldn’t wait to see how they progressed in their unexpected task. Would they succeed, or get drawn into something which was much bigger than anything they’d ever encountered before?

“Increasing feelings of decrepitude notwithstanding, she was in the thick of it now.”

As Martha gets into a spot of bother with a young woman, she finds out some VERY juicy news that made me go, “NO WAY!” Gordon seemed to be the slimeball we all predicted and it seemed the Parker sisters would have quite substantial evidence of this soon enough. Even though we’re in the middle of a subtle investigation, I loved how every scene is just so entertaining, and the author has really thought about a number of things to keep the pace of the story just right. In some aspects, it felt like the author had written two stories in one! I found it easy to imagine myself in a scene and to understand everything that was going on, and already, the book had me asking important questions and got me eager to learn more about Gordon Coulthard. I could sense something big was about to go down – there was no way the sisters could back out of this one now!

The middle

It’s amazing how one single phone call can really turn up the heat, and the author well and truly nailed it! As a reader, we feel a sense of urgency and the need to panic as Tracey goes missing, and even though the hilarity is still there, we now feel much more involved in the mystery element of the book than ever before. The balance between the mystery and the humour was something so unique, and I found myself laughing at Helen’s hangover at the same time as I was working out what happened to Tracey! Something was certainly not right here, and this is where my inner detective shone through. The sisters have wandered into something much bigger than them, and there is no way they can ignore the facts at this stage. They’d have to do what was right, even though it most certainly wasn’t in their job description! I was so looking forward to what came next…

The story gets so exciting so quickly and I couldn’t contain myself! As the Parker sisters come face to face with a murder of a character, their lives suddenly get much more confusing. Just what had happened here and who was responsible? I found myself going through every character we’d met so far in the book, thinking about whether they had an alibi or whether they could have been involved in some way. At this point, I really couldn’t pin the blame on anyone! Their initial investigation had gotten so much deeper and I loved how the sisters worked so well together to decide on the right direction to take for their desired outcome. Things were getting juicy and I couldn’t wait to find out more about who had really committed the murder. Could the sisters ever find out the truth? Had we already met the murderer, or would a brand new character step in and take us all by surprise?

Martha, Helen and Geri’s detective skills impressed me and I loved how they looked at the evidence and ran through so many possibilities. This made the book so much more addictive to me! With so many thoughts whizzing around in Martha’s head, she and Geri decide they need to take matters into their own hands. Their bravery and determination to get the truth about the murder takes them to a morgue – could they really stomach breaking in to try and find the evidence they needed? The three sisters begin a whole new journey together which made for incredibly nail-biting reading, but I secretly loved how dangerous and unexpected things were becoming! New information is uncovered and there was definitely something fishy going on. I had a few vague ideas for where the plot would go, but this story is far from predictable – the author always seems to keep us on our toes and the clues are kept to a minimum!

“Every move, every twitch of the housekeeper’s body screamed secrets. There was much more to what was going on in this house.”

The author has done a brilliant job of portraying Detective Pope – we’re forced to fear her a little, even loathe her for how she treats and speaks to the Parker sisters, but we also begin to feel a bit sorry for her as this case is proving more and more difficult to solve. In fact, all the main characters in the book are consistently brilliant, keeping us on our toes and invested in the story so deeply. Each piece of evidence and information we get builds up the story so well and is sure to make any reader curious about what will happen next. I loved how Martha was always looking for the morally right way to do things – even though Tracey wasn’t the nicest of people, she wanted to do her best to help her and the entire situation. Just how would the case close? How far away were we from finding out those crucial pieces of information to solve the case? I couldn’t wait for the ending of the story!

The end

We’re forced to focus on an old character from early on in the book, one that seemed to be the last person we’d expect to commit a murder… but could it be?! It felt like we were closing in on the right person, but at this point, anything could happen! The sisters plan a way to get the information they need out of this person, but it’s clear they’d be treading well out of their comfort zone. Their risk taking and immense determination here was brilliant and I began to hold my breath in parts, anxious for what was about to happen. The author sure knows how to keep readers gripped to the very end – I simply couldn’t stop reading until I had all the information we needed to pin the blame on someone! Would their plan work? Or would they end up getting themselves into some serious trouble for delving too deeply into this case?

As Helen runs into trouble, Martha and Geri must act fast – her safety depended on it! This was some of the most fast-paced and exciting text in the book, and it was really satisfying to read. Pope and the sisters must work together, something which us readers never thought would happen in a million years. I did love how they came together by the end of the book – it was quite a heartwarming feeling, despite how much I disliked Pope throughout the majority of the book. When I get to the ending of a book, I always like to think back to the beginning to see how the plot has developed and how the characters have grown, and I’m so happy to report that all this was flawless. I was completely unable to tear myself away from the story here and was desperate to see how Helen would escape the danger she’d found herself in.

We hear some childhood stories from the sisters which almost brought a tear to my eye! This really makes us think back to the Parker sisters’ past lives and that they are, in fact, only human. I liked this touch to the book and just how it took us away from the danger the women were experiencing, if only for a little while. However, this is cut short by a sudden discovery, linking another character with the potential murderer. Even with so little of the book left to go, the excitement was off the scale, and it was only a matter of time before we found out all the answers we needed! I was surprised with just how terrifying some of the final scenes were, as Martha and Geri had to do some sneaking around to save their sister. Just how would the ending go?! Would they be able to save their sister and also solve the mystery of the murder?

“If things hadn’t been so serious, Martha would have found the situation farcical. Only this wasn’t a farce. This was very very real. And they were very much in danger.”

The ending of the story was so detailed and just brilliant – we uncover the truth and even revisit some details that we didn’t think twice about at the time, but which had a significant impact on how the murder played out. The whole thing had been constructed so well and everything was as shocking as it was relieving. The future of Parkers Investigations looks bright, and I’m so excited to read more about their adventures in the future! Would they ever get a case quite like this one? A brilliant first book in the series and one that I will definitely be recommending far and wide. Five stars for this one without a doubt and perfect for murder mystery fans and lovers of a humourous read!

Overall thoughts

An utterly perfect murder mystery with some of the most hilarious characters you’ll ever come across in this genre of book! This author has instantly become one that I’ll be looking out for in future – the plot has been created with such attention to detail, kept as entertaining as possible and forces you to become incredibly attached to the Parker sisters, almost like they’re your own! I loved this book from start to finish, and as a huge murder mystery fan, this one is definitely in my top three. I’m looking forward to reading book two in the Parker Sisters Mysteries!

A huge thank you to the author, J.D. Whitelaw and Red Dog Press for my copy of this book and my place on the tour! You can purchase your own copy of Banking On Murder on Amazon or the Red Dog Press website now. Make sure you’re following the author over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates!

Looking for book reviews?

If you’re in need of reviews for your own book, do get in touch to get on my submissions list! All the information you need is on my book reviews page.

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