Review: The Body at Carnival Bridge by Michelle Salter

I'm delighted to share my review, today, of The Body at Carnival Bridge by Michelle Salter.

It’s the latest instalment in the intriguing murder mystery series involving young Iris Woodmore. My thanks to Rachel's Random Resources and Boldwood Books for a copy.

The Body at Carnival Bridge

An Iris Woodmore Mystery

Michelle Salter

The Body at Carnival Bridge is the third adventure with intrepid, independent Iris Woodmore. I’ve reviewed the first two titles in the series, Death at Crookham Hall here, and Murder at Waldenmere Lake here, and I was looking forward to reading more of Iris’ adventures.

This latest instalment begins after Iris returned from her travels, her reputation in tatters. But Iris is unconventional, the daughter of a suffragette, and she tends to shrug off criticism of her behaviour. Having to deal with unexpected changes at home, she wonders what to do with herself. Then her friend Constance is threatened, and Iris returns to Walden to investigate.

When a body is found, she suspects the threats had a more sinister background, and soon Iris is in the midst of investigations, her impetuousness leading her into trouble again. Can she solve the murder without a risk to her own life?

The Body at Carnival Bridge is set several months after Murder at Waldenmere Lake, when Iris and her friends suffered a great loss. She returns from her travels unsure of what to do. The threat to Constance gives her purpose, and it sets her off into the same direction where she left off in the previous book. 

Iris is stubborn and wilful, not exactly qualities appreciated in women in the early 1920s, and at times I felt she showed a nasty streak. Her behaviour is unconventional, and the reactions of those around her, close to her, reflect that. 

The setting and sense of change is very well portrayed here, as we see a young woman who questions existing rules. But we also get an idea of the restrictions of the times, the political upheaval, and men's overbearing attitude to a woman's place in society. The Body at Carnival Bridge reflects that with themes that were prevalent at the time, and the risks women often took to survive.

I liked that agenda, as it shows how women struggled to feed their children, post-war, and often widowed. They’d been good enough to work during the war, but were sent back to home and hearth afterwards. The author brings their dilemma vividly to life here. 

As for Iris, I must say I didn't like her at times, despite everything having made very easy for her on her return. She comes across as ungrateful and spoilt. I thought she was quite fortunate. But as the story progresses, she also learns a personal lesson, and realises that she doesn't know everything. She’s now in her early 20s, and the learning curve is still steep.

There are several recurring secondary characters, and there was a fine balance in portraying how their lives have changed, too. We come to like those characters too, as readers, and I'm curious where their paths will lead them. I'm especially fond of Elijah, the local newspaper editor. His role is developing very nicely.

I had a couple of suspicions early on about who’s behind the threats and the murder, which proved to be correct, but there were still plenty of red herrings for The Body at Carnival Bridge to be an intriguing, gripping murder mystery. It does work as a standalone novel, but I would recommend reading the titles in order, as it's as much about Iris’ life as it is about crime. A fabulous series for readers who love quirky whodunits.

I'm looking forward to the next book!  



How deadly is the fight for equality?

It’s 1922, and after spending a year travelling through Europe, Iris Woodmore returns home to find a changed Walden. Wealthy businesswoman Constance Timpson has introduced equal pay in her factories and allows women to retain their jobs after they marry.

But these radical new working practices have made her deadly enemies.

A mysterious sniper fires a single shot at Constance – is it a warning, or did they shoot to kill? When one of her female employees is murdered, it’s clear the threat is all too real – and it’s not just Constance in danger.

As amateur sleuth Iris investigates, she realises the sniper isn’t the only hidden enemy preying on women.

Buy Link:


About the Author:

Michelle Salter 

Michelle Salter is a historical crime fiction writer based in northeast Hampshire. Many local locations appear in her mystery novels. She's also a copywriter and has written features for national magazines. 

When she’s not writing, Michelle can be found knee-deep in mud at her local nature reserve. She enjoys working with a team of volunteers undertaking conservation activities.