The Curious Dispatch of Daniel Costello: (The Stonebridge Mysteries Book 1) by Chris McDonald | Book Review | @cmacwritescrime @RedDogTweets

Published by Red Dog Press (12 January 2021)
Available in ebook and paperback
94 pages
Source: Copy provided for review


Wedding bells are chiming in the idyllic, coastal town of Stonebridge. For Sam and Emily, it should be the happiest day of their lives. But, on the morning of the ceremony, the best man is found dead. The police quickly write his death off as a tragic accident, but something doesn’t seem right to wedding guest and groomsman, Adam Whyte.

Armed with an encyclopaedic, but ultimately ridiculous knowledge of television detective shows and an unwarranted confidence in his own abilities, Adam and his best friend (and willing Watson) Colin, set out to uncover what actually happened to Daniel Costello.


With apologies to the publisher for the lateness of this blog post which was due yesterday. Life is getting in the way big time at the moment. My thanks to Meggy at Red Dog for the ecopy to review and also for being understanding.

The first in a new series and set in Northern Ireland, this novella is an entertaining start to a cozy crime series featuring two amateur sleuths.

Adam Whyte is a bit of loser in the job stakes, having dropped out of University, he hasn’t been able to stick at anything but loves watching crime shows on TV. His best friend Colin works in a care home and loves his job and whilst he is just as capable of flashes of inspiration, here he is relegated by Adam’s inner Sherlock to the role of Watson.

The two of them are at a wedding, Adam being a friend of the groom, when he discovers a dead body. However when it’s regarded as an accidental death by the authorities, Adam and Colin think otherwise. They believe that certain things don’t add up so they decide to make their own investigations however without any official authority, they have to be careful.

As this is such a short read I don’t want to give away any spoilers about the plot but suffice to say there is something endearing about the two characters and the way they go about crime solving – Adam immediately taking charge and being methodical in his thinking. They did work well together even if Adam could be rather crass at times, whereas Colin perhaps because of his job, was more thoughtful and considerate.

This may have been short in length but the story didn’t feel rushed at all and the pace felt perfectly natural. This engaging novella kept me guessing until the final reveal.  I thought I’d worked it out but was wrong!  This is a much lighter crime read with a touch of humour and is an intriguing and fun read to while away an hour or two.


Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime. A Wash of Black is his first attempt at writing a book. He came up with the initial idea whilst feeding his baby in the middle of the night, which may not be the best thing to admit, considering the content. He is a fan of 5-a-side football, heavy metal and dogs. Whispers in the Dark is the second installment in the DI Erika Piper series, and Chris is currently working on his latest series, The Stonebridge Mysteries, to be published by Red Dog Press in 2021.

Author Links:
Twitter | Goodreads


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