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Cambridge Blue

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Gary Goodhew is intelligent, intuitive, and the youngest detective at Cambridge’s Parkside Station. When Gary discovers the first body in a series of murders involving an eccentric Cambridge family, he gets his chance to work on a homicide investigation. He must use his own initiative to flush out the killer, even though it means risking his job and discovering the truth a Gary Goodhew is intelligent, intuitive, and the youngest detective at Cambridge’s Parkside Station. When Gary discovers the first body in a series of murders involving an eccentric Cambridge family, he gets his chance to work on a homicide investigation. He must use his own initiative to flush out the killer, even though it means risking his job and discovering the truth about the one person he hopes is innocent. Alison Bruce was born in Surrey, United Kingdom, and now lives in Cambridge. She is the author of two previous nonfiction books, Cambridgeshire Murders and The Billingtons, Death in the Family.


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Gary Goodhew is intelligent, intuitive, and the youngest detective at Cambridge’s Parkside Station. When Gary discovers the first body in a series of murders involving an eccentric Cambridge family, he gets his chance to work on a homicide investigation. He must use his own initiative to flush out the killer, even though it means risking his job and discovering the truth a Gary Goodhew is intelligent, intuitive, and the youngest detective at Cambridge’s Parkside Station. When Gary discovers the first body in a series of murders involving an eccentric Cambridge family, he gets his chance to work on a homicide investigation. He must use his own initiative to flush out the killer, even though it means risking his job and discovering the truth about the one person he hopes is innocent. Alison Bruce was born in Surrey, United Kingdom, and now lives in Cambridge. She is the author of two previous nonfiction books, Cambridgeshire Murders and The Billingtons, Death in the Family.

30 review for Cambridge Blue

  1. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    A profoundly unattractive protagonist - whingeing rich boy who, despite living in his home town, has apparently only 1 friend - his grandmother. He was supposedly a brilliant student who engineers a meteoric rise in the police by breaking into people's houses, stealing evidence and then leaving anonymous tip-offs for his boss. And then he wanders around in the evening chatting to suspects about the crimes and generally ensuring there's no chance of a valid conviction. Gosh, I do hope that's how t A profoundly unattractive protagonist - whingeing rich boy who, despite living in his home town, has apparently only 1 friend - his grandmother. He was supposedly a brilliant student who engineers a meteoric rise in the police by breaking into people's houses, stealing evidence and then leaving anonymous tip-offs for his boss. And then he wanders around in the evening chatting to suspects about the crimes and generally ensuring there's no chance of a valid conviction. Gosh, I do hope that's how the police are solving crime in my neighbourhood.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Miles

    I always enjoy “discovering” new authors – you never quite know what to expect and I find it always allows a fresh, unhindered approach to a title or, as in this case, a series. Alison Bruce is the latest of my “discoveries” and her first title, Cambridge Blue, introduces us to young DC Gary Goodhew, a young, ambitious and resourceful detective still wet behind the ears. Although just shy of 300 pages in length, the novel is very well paced and with so much information packed in-between, it never I always enjoy “discovering” new authors – you never quite know what to expect and I find it always allows a fresh, unhindered approach to a title or, as in this case, a series. Alison Bruce is the latest of my “discoveries” and her first title, Cambridge Blue, introduces us to young DC Gary Goodhew, a young, ambitious and resourceful detective still wet behind the ears. Although just shy of 300 pages in length, the novel is very well paced and with so much information packed in-between, it never once gave off the feeling of a small book. Don’t get me wrong, 300 isn’t a small book by any means but given many of my recent reviews have weighed in at over 500 pages I had anticipated a short story! Wrong! I loved the feel of this book. I’m not sure why but as soon as I began reading Cambridge Blue, for whatever reason and one I can’t figure out myself, I had 1950’s spies in the back of my mind – certainly for the first half of the novel. There really is no reason other than the intense atmosphere Alison evokes with her wonderful style of writing. Cambridge Blue begins beside the beautiful River Cam, two eight-oared boats have just rowed upstream around the corner and Jackie Moran notices a stranger in the distance - she isn’t at all concerned. Walking with her dog Bridy she continues until she is level with the man – seconds later she’s fighting for her life. She somehow keeps the stranger at bay and after a despairing struggle strangles him, in self-defence, with the dog’s choke chain – she dumps the body and his knife in the river and walks away. We do of course find out the connection of this murder later in the book, Alison doing a great job of tying up all the loose ends as the book reaches its climactic dénouement. Alison Bruce weaves a complex web throughout introducing numerous characters along the way and you never really know who will have the final say - The ending is have to say is rather frenetic and incredibly tense. Full Review on my blog

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kupersmith

    I read this book again after about five years have elapsed & remembering nothing of the original plot or characters with no idea why I’d given it a four-star rating except that I must have liked it. That was enough to make me nominate it as an el cheapo read for the Kindle English Mystery Group.. Whilst I personally found it disappointing, many readers ought to enjoy it. Partly that was the setting. I love Cambridge but not a single don or undergraduate appears as a character & even the colleges I read this book again after about five years have elapsed & remembering nothing of the original plot or characters with no idea why I’d given it a four-star rating except that I must have liked it. That was enough to make me nominate it as an el cheapo read for the Kindle English Mystery Group.. Whilst I personally found it disappointing, many readers ought to enjoy it. Partly that was the setting. I love Cambridge but not a single don or undergraduate appears as a character & even the colleges are only part of the distant geographic background. For me imagining Oxford or Cambridge without academics would be like Tombstone or Dodge City without gunfights. That’s what these towns are there for! Also, the solution depends a lot on learning details from the back story that readers are allowed to discover only well into the book, so whilst the dynamics behind the crimes were obvious to an experienced reader of crime fiction, it simply wasn’t possible to form any likely hypotheses till our principal detective Gary Goodhew susses out what is going on for us. Gary reminds me a lot of Sophie Hannah’s Simon Waterhouse, an off-the-charts introvert who does everything his way. There is the usual superior who complains Gary is not a ‘team player’ – as if the team, esp. the sleazy Kincaide, could solve anything. But there is a big supply of interesting characters & it is satisfying finally to discover how Alison Bruce makes everything fit together. So I expect many readers, esp. those not like me so scholastically inclined or as fond of matching wits with an author who is willing to give the reader a fair whack @ a solve, may find this series a lot of fun..

  4. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This is the first book by Alison Bruce set in the Cambridge CID and focusing on DC Gary Goodhew a young and uniquely gifted detective; his methods are unusual,frenetic and unconventional. His working practices, leave his boss in two minds as to whether he can cut it in his department as frustratingly he far from a team player. Gary is an intuitive investigator who despite social gaffs can empathise and get witnesses to talk to him, above all he can crack cases and solve the most baffling crimes. This is the first book by Alison Bruce set in the Cambridge CID and focusing on DC Gary Goodhew a young and uniquely gifted detective; his methods are unusual,frenetic and unconventional. His working practices, leave his boss in two minds as to whether he can cut it in his department as frustratingly he far from a team player. Gary is an intuitive investigator who despite social gaffs can empathise and get witnesses to talk to him, above all he can crack cases and solve the most baffling crimes. Cambridge is rocked by the death of a young woman. It is time for Gary to shine or find another career. It was an interesting plot which keeps the reader's attention throughout, however it didn't fully engage me and the working of the detective team I found frustrating and over complicated; some of their practices appear amateurish and devoid of a responsibility for the criminal justice system interviewing suspects without thought of legal counsel. However, I did warm to the character of detective Goodhew and feel he is someone who will be worth reading more about and Alison Bruce's writing is fresh, interspersed with humour and clever observation. The prologue was wonderful in its tension and outcome; unfortunately the rest of the book rarely reached these heights for any sustained time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    It's always nice to read a story that is set in a location you're familiar with. That's what attracted me to the DC Gary Goodhew series. The plot itself was interesting though a little confusing at times, and as a police procedural, I found some things that went on completely unbelievable. But my biggest issue was the characters. They just didn't really come to life for me. It's always nice to read a story that is set in a location you're familiar with. That's what attracted me to the DC Gary Goodhew series. The plot itself was interesting though a little confusing at times, and as a police procedural, I found some things that went on completely unbelievable. But my biggest issue was the characters. They just didn't really come to life for me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Easy to read crime novel. A bit predictable, but makes a nice easy read after Jane Eyre!

  7. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    You lose a child and you do understand each other's grief at first, but if you get out of step with each other, it's all over. Suddenly each of you is alone. To be honest, I only picked this book up because it was a murder mystery set in Cambridge. That was it. Waterstones had it on a table of books set in Cambridge (along with The Grantchester Mysteries which I love the TV show of) and so I figured I'd trust Waterstones and read this. Not my best idea, I gotta admit. I should probably have gue You lose a child and you do understand each other's grief at first, but if you get out of step with each other, it's all over. Suddenly each of you is alone. To be honest, I only picked this book up because it was a murder mystery set in Cambridge. That was it. Waterstones had it on a table of books set in Cambridge (along with The Grantchester Mysteries which I love the TV show of) and so I figured I'd trust Waterstones and read this. Not my best idea, I gotta admit. I should probably have guessed as such. I already know that I'm seriously easily annoyed when it comes to authors who haven't got the simple fact of a language correct, so when it's a town I know and they haven't got it right? Uh oh. Which was the case here. I don't get it at all though, because apparently Alison Bruce lives in Cambridge, but the Cambridge she describes is not the one I know. For example: there is no "Rolfe Street" in Cambridge, nor a railway bridge that has railings you can look out over if you're heading out of town (and given where he was headed I assume it was Hills Road Bridge he was referring to which definitely doesn't have railings). Bradwell's Court hasn't existed since 2006 and this book was published in 2008. It's Christ's Pieces, not Christ's Piece. The flats on the Fen Causeway are not white and fancy. (Sorry I got carried away.) I know all these things might seem picky but they actually affect how easy I find it is to read the book. I kept stopping while reading it because the descriptions didn't make sense and I couldn't just let them go by. That wasn't the only problem I had with this book though. The writing wasn't amazing and seemed kind of clunky in places. Also, did it even have an editor? I picked up "exelsior", "futher", "definately", and "thougthfully". "Exelsior" even appeared twice in the same page. Neither did the mystery grab me all that much. The murderer was pretty obvious (especially when right at the beginning there's this comment about the guy being possessive. Like, if that's going to be the case, at least try make it a little less blindingly obvious maybe?) although the conclusion seemed pretty convoluted and I lost track of what was actually going on (something about a little brother being killed, and a girlfriend, and there was some incest thrown in there for good measure?). I did like Gary though. Even if there was a little of the Brilliant Detective Syndrome going on. And also that weird stalkerish behaviour with the receptionist I can't remember the name of. Even if he did admit to knowing it was stalkerish and deciding to stop, I'm still leery about it. Anyway, I'm going to go foist this book on my mum so we can have Deep Discussions over the incorrectness of the Cambridge descriptions.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sid Nuncius

    In spite of some good things about this book, I found it rather hard going. It has a decent plot (although I found the denouement very muddled) and at times Alison Bruce writes very well - I thought the post-mortem scene was excellently done, for example - and she generates a good sense of Cambridge, but stilted language too often made both narrative and dialogue feel rather forced to me. My biggest problem with the book, though, was that I found the character of the main protagonist, DC Gary Goo In spite of some good things about this book, I found it rather hard going. It has a decent plot (although I found the denouement very muddled) and at times Alison Bruce writes very well - I thought the post-mortem scene was excellently done, for example - and she generates a good sense of Cambridge, but stilted language too often made both narrative and dialogue feel rather forced to me. My biggest problem with the book, though, was that I found the character of the main protagonist, DC Gary Goodhew, increasingly implausible. I suspect that Ms Bruce is more than half in love with her creation - she makes him attractive but unaware of it, fabulously empathetic and non-sexist, far more intelligent and intuitive than any of his colleagues, and so bursting with integrity and the desire to do good that it's a wonder it doesn't give him a nose bleed. He even has cool taste in music. And just in case we haven't grasped the point, we get an anti-Gary against whom he can shine; a colleague who is vain, arrogant, bigoted, faithless, careless...and so on. The author's infatuation with her creation means that he is allowed to get away with frankly ridiculous behaviour. He constantly acts unprofessionally and sometimes illegally, but (of course) unearths vital clues which skilled and experienced teams of experts have missed. His DI takes him off the case (of course), but within a couple of hours he is reinstated and, although he is exceptionally young and totally inexperienced, the same DI immediately entrusts him with conducting the interviews with the prime suspects in a high-profile murder case on his own. There's rather a lot of this sort of thing and I'm afraid I ended up finding it absurd, irritating and very distracting. I didn't think this was a terrible book by any means, but it could have been far, far better. Alison Bruce is obviously setting Gary Goodhew up for a series of novels; if she sticks to writing in the unaffected style of the best parts of this book, cuts out the clichés of the genre and brings rather more discipline to her treatment of her characters the novels could turn out to be rather good, but I'm afraid I can only give this one a lukewarm recommendation.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Cambridge Blue is due to be published in paperback on 22 July 2010. My proof copy has a front-cover endorsement from R J Ellory, he says 'Menacing and insiduous, this is a great novel', with such a positive comment from one of my favourite crime authors, I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this one. Roger was spot-on, this is a thrilling and well-written page turner of a story. Cambridge Blue is the first in a new police detective series featuring DC Gary Goodhew; Goodhew is new to Cambridge Blue is due to be published in paperback on 22 July 2010. My proof copy has a front-cover endorsement from R J Ellory, he says 'Menacing and insiduous, this is a great novel', with such a positive comment from one of my favourite crime authors, I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this one. Roger was spot-on, this is a thrilling and well-written page turner of a story. Cambridge Blue is the first in a new police detective series featuring DC Gary Goodhew; Goodhew is new to the Cambridge force, newly promoted and still only 25 years old.. DC Goodhew is assigned to a murder case; Lorna Spence has been found murdered and at first it seems that she was well-liked and admired by everyone that knew her - it doesnt take Goodhew long to uncover some startling skeletons in her cupboard. What is refreshing about Goodhew's character is that he is a bit of a loose cannon - he is unconventional in his methods and his inexperience, eagerness and a little bit of naivity gives him something of an edge. He is not afraid to upset his superiors and he is not afraid to take risks. It certainly makes a nice change to read of a Detective who is not an 'almost alcoholic' or troubled by failed relationships. Saying that, Alison Bruce has definitely left it wide open to develop Goodhew's character throughout the series - there are hints of mystery about Goodhew - vague references to his sister and parents and he is unusual that he spends most of his spare time with his Grandmother - a wonderful character who appears to know him better than anything. The plot of this novel is fabulous, starting with Lorna's murder and quickly unravelling to implicate more and more very well-drawn characters. The tension builds throughout the story to an almost unbearable level at times, there are red-herrings, surprises, shocks and mysteries along the way, and I was certainly left guessing right up to the last page. This is a superbly crafted thriller, a perfect beginning to what I hope will continue to be an excellent series. DC Goodhew is only twenty-five, Alison Bruce has paved the way for a long-running crime series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    Listened to in audio format. I only discovered Alison Bruce last year when her books where on a two for one deal with Audible. I downloaded her first two books and then put them on my ever growing TBR list. I have finally got round to listening to Cambridge Blue this week and really enjoyed it. I have since discovered that Alison has written 6 books about Gary Goodhew so I have plenty to listen to these next few weeks. D.C. Gary Goodhew is 25 years old and the youngest detective at Cambridge polic Listened to in audio format. I only discovered Alison Bruce last year when her books where on a two for one deal with Audible. I downloaded her first two books and then put them on my ever growing TBR list. I have finally got round to listening to Cambridge Blue this week and really enjoyed it. I have since discovered that Alison has written 6 books about Gary Goodhew so I have plenty to listen to these next few weeks. D.C. Gary Goodhew is 25 years old and the youngest detective at Cambridge police. Gary is an interesting hero, he was sent to private school after his father died, while his Mother had a good try and spending his inheritance money. After School he joined the Police and worked his way up. Gary is very close to his grandmother, goes to her house to play chess and on one occasion see a band together. At work Gary's boss can see he is gifted and often insightful for his age. However Gary can be a bit of a loose cannon. He often picks up hunches without telling his colleagues what he is up to. The story begins with a girl called Victoria Moran. We do not know anything about her but she takes her dog Biddy out for a walk early one morning. She is walking by a river close to home. When a man tries to strangle her with a dog's lead. After a struggle Victoria manages to fight him off and he dies. Victoria doesn't know this man or why he would want to kill her. Panic stricken, Victoria pushes him in the river and watches him sink. Later Dr Richard Moran, Victoria's half brother rings the station because his Fiancee Lorna Spence has gone missing. Later Lorna is found murdered hidden behind some black rubbish bags. Gary Goodhew is allowed in his first murder case having found Lorna's body. He is made to work with fellow detective Kincaid who Gary does not like. I have only given this book 4 stars because of a couple of inconsistencies. When Gary interviewed Richard Moran and his sister Alice their interviews were not recorded. Also why did Gary tip off his boss new leads anonymously, why not just speak to his boss?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Noble

    I'm a big fan of the tv series Inspector Morse and its sequel Lewis. Love the mystery but also the Oxford/Cambridge setting, the architecture, etc so I was really looking forward to reading a different series set in the same place. A missing girl and a body in the canal make up the first case for Bruce's detective, Gary Goodhew. (I nicknamed him 'Duncan' in honour of the British swimmer). Unfortunately his name was the only (barely) interesting thing about this book. Good grief, it was almost a I'm a big fan of the tv series Inspector Morse and its sequel Lewis. Love the mystery but also the Oxford/Cambridge setting, the architecture, etc so I was really looking forward to reading a different series set in the same place. A missing girl and a body in the canal make up the first case for Bruce's detective, Gary Goodhew. (I nicknamed him 'Duncan' in honour of the British swimmer). Unfortunately his name was the only (barely) interesting thing about this book. Good grief, it was almost a cure for my insomnia. By the time we actually got to the interesting parts of the story, I couldn't have cared less. Apparently the next one is the series is really good. We'll see.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kemp

    Good story, clever plot. The relationship between siblings is put in the spotlight

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    Yes, I enjoyed this book, but it is not as exceptional as other mysteries that are set in England. This author does not spend much time describing the setting and naming specific places in England. Additionally, it takes some time to grasp parts of the story because she frequently gives incomplete information and reveals what is missing later. The first 25 pages were confusing, but suddenly the pieces connected and I could see how the characters related to each other. I will read the next book i Yes, I enjoyed this book, but it is not as exceptional as other mysteries that are set in England. This author does not spend much time describing the setting and naming specific places in England. Additionally, it takes some time to grasp parts of the story because she frequently gives incomplete information and reveals what is missing later. The first 25 pages were confusing, but suddenly the pieces connected and I could see how the characters related to each other. I will read the next book in the Gary Goodhew series and then will decide whether or not to continue with it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    I have to be honest and say that the major reason why I chose to read Cambridge Blue is because of the day I spent wandering the streets of that old city. It's a fascinating place, and I often felt as though I were in a completely different world. Alison Bruce certainly does not disappoint with her setting; I felt myself back on those streets once again, but this time with a very unusual police officer. Young Gary Goodhew isn't into casual relationships. He simply cannot separate the physical fro I have to be honest and say that the major reason why I chose to read Cambridge Blue is because of the day I spent wandering the streets of that old city. It's a fascinating place, and I often felt as though I were in a completely different world. Alison Bruce certainly does not disappoint with her setting; I felt myself back on those streets once again, but this time with a very unusual police officer. Young Gary Goodhew isn't into casual relationships. He simply cannot separate the physical from the emotional. His best friend is his grandmother. He's also something of a lone wolf-- a young man who's a police detective by day and then seemingly behaves like some sort of nocturnal super hero when he's off duty. He's a character who simultaneously threw me off balance and captured my attention. I just had to know how different he really is. Many things that Goodhew does are not by the book. Fortunately for him Detective Inspector Marks sees his potential and is willing to cut the young man some slack. However, as the investigation continues, Goodhew begins to take advantage of Marks, and the inspector has to draw the line. There's a very interesting dynamic between Goodhew and Marks as well as the other police officers he works with. The mystery is complex and makes for compelling reading-- even though I guessed the identity of the killer rather early on. It seems as though all the victims and suspects have hidden agendas, and that's what made the mystery for me: trying to piece together "what" and "how." With a Cambridge setting, a complex mystery, and the unconventional Gary Goodhew as the main character, Cambridge Blue is a very good read. I look forward to reading the other books in this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I'd prefer to mark this 3.5 stars, but that's not an option. A young, manipulative woman is found murdered and soon after a second woman dies. Investigating the first death, DC Gary Goodhew finds a trail of death going back 25 years. This is a first novel with definite potential. The writing is very good and with an interesting voice. The protagonist is likable although not fully fleshed out. On the downside, the plot was more convoluted than it had to be. In fact, at the end I had one body I wasn't ce I'd prefer to mark this 3.5 stars, but that's not an option. A young, manipulative woman is found murdered and soon after a second woman dies. Investigating the first death, DC Gary Goodhew finds a trail of death going back 25 years. This is a first novel with definite potential. The writing is very good and with an interesting voice. The protagonist is likable although not fully fleshed out. On the downside, the plot was more convoluted than it had to be. In fact, at the end I had one body I wasn't certain who was responsible for. I will still try another of hers to see if the potential pans out.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Icewineanne

    After the first 25 pages, I thought that this book was going to be a bust because of the number of shallow characters that the author had introduced. Well I kept reading & was happy to learn that I was wrong. The main detective, rookie DC Gary Goodhew is a delight. He's a very likeable character which is a nice change from all of the crime/suspense novels I have read lately where none of the characters were likeable. Hard to hate a character whose best friend is his grandmother! This book is an After the first 25 pages, I thought that this book was going to be a bust because of the number of shallow characters that the author had introduced. Well I kept reading & was happy to learn that I was wrong. The main detective, rookie DC Gary Goodhew is a delight. He's a very likeable character which is a nice change from all of the crime/suspense novels I have read lately where none of the characters were likeable. Hard to hate a character whose best friend is his grandmother! This book is an old fashioned whodunnit with a modern twist at the end. A terrific beach read for the summer. I'll definately be reading the next book in this series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    The only thing I really enjoyed was the setting - lots and lots of places around Cambridge. But I can see how that would be annoying to people who don't live here. Possibly a book to read after you've visited if you need a beach book? Even so I didn't care about any of the characters, not even the main detective dude. Also some odd details about exercise and food...and some real sexist crap...so not recommended. The only thing I really enjoyed was the setting - lots and lots of places around Cambridge. But I can see how that would be annoying to people who don't live here. Possibly a book to read after you've visited if you need a beach book? Even so I didn't care about any of the characters, not even the main detective dude. Also some odd details about exercise and food...and some real sexist crap...so not recommended.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Darbyshire

    The first installment in a new crime series. I found DC Gary Goodhew a bit too good to be true, and I thought there were a couple of holes in the mystery plot (or perhaps I was just missing things). But overall I enjoyed reading the book, it was a quick holiday read, and I will probably read another in the future.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Found it too confusing with all the characters and slow. It had good writing so will still read the rest in the series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Keith Harrison

    Re-reading, as we are off to Cambridge for a holiday in February.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Cambridge Blue is the first book in the DC Gary Goodhew Mystery series written by Alison Bruce and centered on Gary Goodhew, a Detective Constable in Cambridge Parkside Station. Gary Goodhew is an idealistic twenty-five-year-old, who has recently been promoted to Detective Constable at Cambridge's Parkside Station. He gets a chance to prove himself to Parkside's seasoned veterans after the discovery of a young woman’s body atop a heap of trash bags on Midsummer Common. The late Lorna Spence worked Cambridge Blue is the first book in the DC Gary Goodhew Mystery series written by Alison Bruce and centered on Gary Goodhew, a Detective Constable in Cambridge Parkside Station. Gary Goodhew is an idealistic twenty-five-year-old, who has recently been promoted to Detective Constable at Cambridge's Parkside Station. He gets a chance to prove himself to Parkside's seasoned veterans after the discovery of a young woman’s body atop a heap of trash bags on Midsummer Common. The late Lorna Spence worked at the Excelsior Clinic, dated her boss Richard Moran and was a friend to his sister Alice Goodhew. Paired with smart, ambitious, unfaithful DC Kincaide, Goodhew soon wanders off on his own path of investigation after he finds that an old schoolmate was an acquaintance of the dead girl. The Moran family becomes a center of interest when Richard's younger sister Jackie, who lives in the country with her beloved horses, is named a possible suspect in a cold case: the disappearance of Jackie’s college friend Emma after she briefly dated Richard. Though Goodhew irritates his boss by working well outside police protocol, his quirky methods ultimately solve the mystery. Cambridge Blue is written rather well. Like many a British police procedural, the novel opens with a flurry of activity and the introduction of numerous characters, but the action soon slows to a series of scenes, marked by descriptive passages full of precise details, in which the victim's actions leading to her murder come into focus. Fortunately, halfway through, the pace picks up as the workaholic Goodhew pursues every twist in the case. By the end, I had been flipping back to certain passages to suss out those clues that I may have missed – a good sign of a wonderful mystery. As a former Cantabrigian, it is wonderful to read about the city the series is based on. It brought back many happy memories about my undergraduate years and brought a bought of nostalgia when reading about certain places that I have visited. All in all, Cambridge Blue is written rather well and is a strong start to what would hopefully be a wonderful series, which I plan to read in the very near future.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anne, Unfinished Woman

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a convoluted story of a dysfunctional and perverted family, and two women who are vying for the attention of a wealthy man. The Morans are complicated. It appears that Richard and Alice are overly affectionate, and that Jackie is outside the circle. Lorna Spence who is dead early in the story had a hostile and competitive relationship with Victoria Nugent, in the beginning over Alex Moran the father. It appears that Jackie was thought to have killed her brother, David when he was a baby. This is a convoluted story of a dysfunctional and perverted family, and two women who are vying for the attention of a wealthy man. The Morans are complicated. It appears that Richard and Alice are overly affectionate, and that Jackie is outside the circle. Lorna Spence who is dead early in the story had a hostile and competitive relationship with Victoria Nugent, in the beginning over Alex Moran the father. It appears that Jackie was thought to have killed her brother, David when he was a baby...at least the reader is lead to believe the father thinks that. But Jackie is targeted for killing and escapes, in fact killing her attacker, Colin Willis, and throwing his body in the river. He had relationships with the two women as well as Bryn O'Brien. Then Victoria is killed. A page from a journal (and later the full journal) that had been kept by Alex Moran sheds some light on the otherwise frustrating evidence, and uncovers the slimy life of Alex, David's paternity and the secrets of this most distasteful family. Into this mix is DC Gary Goodhew, the youngest Detective in the Cambridge unit. He's impulsive and his boss, DI Marks, is pissed at his going off on his own, not following orders and keeping information he unearths to himself. But Goodhew is talented, and intuitive, and clever in his interviewing suspects, and Marks finally decides to give him some slack and use his abilities, thus solving the case. I liked Goodhew's character. He is independently wealthy, has a strong relationship with his grandmother, and is smart and tenacious. He loves what he does. He has a lot of maturing to achieve, but his career in the police seems in good order as the book ends.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Larraine

    After reading the second and third in the series, I realized I had to read the first to get a better handle on the main character, DC Gary Goodhew. Goodhew is a an enigmatic figure to his fellow detectives and a source of annoyance to his boss, DI Marks, because he follows his own instincts even when they bring him to a dead end. He is a university graduate, a young man who had something of a meteoric rise which annoys one of his fellow detectives in particular, Michael Kincaid. Kincaid is a wom After reading the second and third in the series, I realized I had to read the first to get a better handle on the main character, DC Gary Goodhew. Goodhew is a an enigmatic figure to his fellow detectives and a source of annoyance to his boss, DI Marks, because he follows his own instincts even when they bring him to a dead end. He is a university graduate, a young man who had something of a meteoric rise which annoys one of his fellow detectives in particular, Michael Kincaid. Kincaid is a womanizer and a dandy who spends a lot on expensive clothing and regularly cheats on his wife. Goodhew is just the opposite. He hasn't had a long term relationship since his university days and he doesn't care a bit about what he's wearing or how his hair looks. He has a tiny apartment in a building owned by his grandmother and insists on paying her market rates. The book opens with a clue to some recent rapes that DI Marks finds on his desk. It was delivered by Gary Goodhew who did it very carefully with no trace of DNA. He gets the information from his grandmother although that is left dangling. In the meantime a pretty young woman named Lorna Spence is found murdered. Her boss and lover had reported her missing and the team soon realizes that the body was indeed the same woman. This was quite a complicated and interesting mystery. I had an idea of the murderer but not why. It's the story of family secrets and a young woman who likes to play with other peoples' lives. I really like this series. The author's last book was 2017. I hope she has a new one coming.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    Would have given 0 if possible. Struggled to read this, whilst reading 2 other crime fictions, which were better written and far more interesting. Not sure why,but found it hard to care about any of the characters and to keep up with who was sleeping with who....Only selected this book because of the Cambridge reference. But, while an author of fiction has license to write what they want and didn't expect book to be a travel guide, there have to be some reality checks. However, there were no ref Would have given 0 if possible. Struggled to read this, whilst reading 2 other crime fictions, which were better written and far more interesting. Not sure why,but found it hard to care about any of the characters and to keep up with who was sleeping with who....Only selected this book because of the Cambridge reference. But, while an author of fiction has license to write what they want and didn't expect book to be a travel guide, there have to be some reality checks. However, there were no references to the numerous students and cycles that a Cambridge-based detective would undoubtedly come across. No reference to the cows that roam freely and ignore pedestrians on the Fen causeway. No mention of the numerous (groups of) tourists in Cambridge or bookshops, old and new littered around town. Little mention of the punters on the river. Missed opportunities to refer to the numerous cafes/bars. where people enjoy drinking by the waters edge, watching the punters. No reference to the colleges, or even Kings College, and beautiful gardens with restricted access to staff and students (and probably detectives!). The main character, Detective Goodhew, was ridiculous - meeting potential suspects late night alone, leaving school-boy notes for his boss, spending all his free time with his grandmother (a young man in a city- really!), many descriptive scenes were convoluted and hard to follow. Reading this became a chore and the ending was so tediuous and confused, it was laughably ignorable. Waste of my time and money.....

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karen Broughton

    this book was bought originally as a present but they already owned a copy. which is possibly why I struggled with reading it. It has all the makings of a fine story but I found it an uphill slog to connect with it. At around 180 pages it started to come together, I was reading to find out what happened next rather than get to the end of the chapter. I find it a personal failure to give up on a story and have only done it once in my 40 odd years of reading, so we were in it to the end. A fter 18 this book was bought originally as a present but they already owned a copy. which is possibly why I struggled with reading it. It has all the makings of a fine story but I found it an uphill slog to connect with it. At around 180 pages it started to come together, I was reading to find out what happened next rather than get to the end of the chapter. I find it a personal failure to give up on a story and have only done it once in my 40 odd years of reading, so we were in it to the end. A fter 180 said pages I was able to see a little light as to where "gary" and the story was going. 3I really wasn't sure whether Gary was a good or bad guy for most of the story even though the description of his character was plentiful. I have to admit though that by the end of the book I was fairly racing to the conclusion. I wish I had felt that earlier in the book. all in all a good story just a shame about the slow start.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Part of what drew me to this book was its setting. I enjoyed reading familiar place having lived in Cambridge for a few years. However, something about Cambridge Blue didn't quite click for me. It featured an interesting, twisty mystery, but something was missing. Plot When Cambridge is rocked by the murder of a young woman, young detective Gary Goodhew is determined to solve the case - whatever it takes. He is drawn into a complicated web of lies and deceit centering around a family with a lot t Part of what drew me to this book was its setting. I enjoyed reading familiar place having lived in Cambridge for a few years. However, something about Cambridge Blue didn't quite click for me. It featured an interesting, twisty mystery, but something was missing. Plot When Cambridge is rocked by the murder of a young woman, young detective Gary Goodhew is determined to solve the case - whatever it takes. He is drawn into a complicated web of lies and deceit centering around a family with a lot to hide. The plot was quite complicated but kept you hooked until the end. Characters I think my main isue was the character of Gary. I could see what Alison Bruce was aiming for, but Gary's reluctance to follow the rules ended up just irritating me. Maybe he will develop into a more lovable character in later books, but his obsessional crush and his general attitude put me off.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anne Robinson

    First of all, I must apologise for the poor quality of this review. I actually finished the book a few days ago but now can hardly remember enough about the book to do it justice! This is not the author’s fault. The reason that I can’t remember is that I had a stroke in the Autumn and my short-term memory is very poor. I should have written this straight away before the details faded. I must have enjoyed the book because I have already downloaded the next two in the series! I can also remember be First of all, I must apologise for the poor quality of this review. I actually finished the book a few days ago but now can hardly remember enough about the book to do it justice! This is not the author’s fault. The reason that I can’t remember is that I had a stroke in the Autumn and my short-term memory is very poor. I should have written this straight away before the details faded. I must have enjoyed the book because I have already downloaded the next two in the series! I can also remember being slightly irritated by the constant mentioning of every single road and street over and over again. This is why I have only given three stars. The plot was good and the characters were interesting and well drawn, but this “road atlas” writing needs toning down.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bodil Enoksson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I got this book as it is set in Cambridge and I did like that I know some of the places mentioned quite well – and understand that an author wants to invent a few new places to avoid upsetting locals. Who wants to live in a murdered girl’s flat?! Although the story is somewhat complicated, the book on the whole well-written and kept me reading. The “hero police” is not easy to understand; may be a bit of Asperger’s? Anyhow, he visits witnesses in the middle of the night, follows his one hunches I got this book as it is set in Cambridge and I did like that I know some of the places mentioned quite well – and understand that an author wants to invent a few new places to avoid upsetting locals. Who wants to live in a murdered girl’s flat?! Although the story is somewhat complicated, the book on the whole well-written and kept me reading. The “hero police” is not easy to understand; may be a bit of Asperger’s? Anyhow, he visits witnesses in the middle of the night, follows his one hunches and is no team worker. But he solves the case in the end, with my main suspect indeed being the murderer (or main murderer so to speak). Will I read the next book in the series? Not unlikely although in no hurry.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jane Shand

    This was slightly harder to rate than some of the others I’ve done recently. At the beginning I couldn’t decide if it was 3 or 4. We are introduced to a couple of characters that either don’t show up again for quite a while, or are only in it for a short time. I also took some time to decide what I thought of the detective. Do detectives all have to be completely messed up? Virtually all of them in this have deep problems! However, the plot is clever and it is well written. The characters may ha This was slightly harder to rate than some of the others I’ve done recently. At the beginning I couldn’t decide if it was 3 or 4. We are introduced to a couple of characters that either don’t show up again for quite a while, or are only in it for a short time. I also took some time to decide what I thought of the detective. Do detectives all have to be completely messed up? Virtually all of them in this have deep problems! However, the plot is clever and it is well written. The characters may have lots of problems/flaws but they are not flat. The further into the story I got the more I enjoyed it and had to read on. The ending was satisfying and I had warmed to the detective by then too!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    This is a fairly interesting first book, in a series of five, featuring Gary Goodhew, a very young, rash police detective in Cambridge, England. The modern crimes have a strong sexual component and a mysterious set of siblings attached and may even have other crimes associated with them going back many years. It turns out that there are a lot of psychologically messed up people involved. Nonetheless, I am intrigued and interested in reading another in the series.

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