Blood Will Tell by Jeanne M Dams

Blood Will TellDorothy Martin and her husband, ex-police inspector Alan Nesbitt are in Cambridge for a police conference. Dorothy is dreading the experience – student accommodation and all that – but the rooms are actually rather nice. The college is a bit of a maze though, and when looking around, Dorothy stumbles into a lab. While the real mystery is what a laboratory is doing inside a Cambridge college, Dorothy is more interested in the pool of blood that she finds on the floor. But you’ll never guess what – yup, when she returns with her husband in tow, the blood has disappeared.

Without any proof of what happened (and no conveniently missing members of the college), Dorothy is determined to prove what she saw. But when an attempt is made on her life, and a young scientist whose help has been enlisted disappears, it seems that there is a dangerous person involved…

OK, this one kind of bends the rules on the blog. One of my reviewing rules is that if I am asked for a review (or request it from NetGalley) and I don’t enjoy it, then I don’t finish it and don’t review it. But I finished this one…

I was enjoying it. It’s not my usual favourite set-up. The “What-the-hell-is-going-on” style of mystery is a tough plot-type to pull off – without suspects and victims, it is hard to keep things moving. Dorothy is a charming and human lead, even if she thinks we don’t know the word “sycamore” over here (she’s an ex-US national) and refer to the Tourist Information as “TI”. But as the story progresses, the plot tends to go round in circles for a long time.

So at the end of the day, the quality of the read comes down to the ending – hence me finishing the book – and it didn’t really work for me. The plot had a few holes in it – soap and water doesn’t remove all traces of blood but it takes an age to think of this – but at the end of the day, it just seemed that not much of consequence really happened.

This is the seventeenth in the series, so I’m sure that there are plenty of faithful readers who will enjoy this one. But it wasn’t for me.


  1. I’m all for negative reviews–as long as they’re fair and not just bashing for the sake of bashing. I like to know from bloggers I trust whether a book is worth my time or not. I’m sorry to hear that this one didn’t meet the grade–I’ve enjoyed this series on and off over the years (I’m a few books behind–including this one).

    I try to be very choosy on the books that I accept for review (to try and prevent negative reviews for current authors). But I have done it a couple of times I do try to give constructive criticism where I can. So far, what response I’ve had from authors has been decent and one even thanked me for suggestions on improving weak points.


    • I’ll admit to the occasional bash – Ellis Peter and M C Beaton are the usual recipients – but even then I try and constructive. It’s the drawback to my obsession with trying to find why some authors who are generally derided by the blogging community are so revered. But even then, I do try and dwell on the good points.

      And yes, I try and pick stuff that I think is my thought of thing – I’ve started turning down review requests more often now, usually from publishers who glance at the blog title and miss the point of what a mystery is.

      And feedback is great – it’s always great to get a thank you or a retweet, but it always makes me laugh. It’s the authors who made the effort to write the book – I just read it amd wrote a few lines…


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