The Island Murders by Rachel McLean

The Island Murders by Rachel MacLean

16th August 2023.

The body of a National Trust worker washes up on the shores of Brownlea Island, a nature reserve in Poole Harbour. Suddenly, the closed community of workers and volunteers is faced with an awful truth – there could be a killer in their midst. For DCI Lesley Clarke, the problems are quite different – she and her team have to get to and from the island during their investigation.

The victim is a well-liked member of the main team on the island. No one can understand why she was killed. But someone knows more and it’s up to the detectives to discover these secrets. Lesley also has problems at home, compounded by her ‘isolation’ on the island.

It all adds up to an original and intriguing murder mystery that highlights both sides of living on a small island. There’s plenty of tension in the team and outside as Lesley’s hold on her private life is threatened on a couple of fronts. She’s not the only one in the team with concerns, adding to the problems.

The balance of backstory and murder mystery helps the reader get to know the characters better, which is always a bonus. While there are no major surprises or twists, the high level of conflict, with the tension it brings, ensures this is a gripping read, and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

If you want to get to know the main players better, you should go back to the start of the series for the maximum reading pleasure.


An isolated community… a web of secrets… a mysterious death.

When a body washes up on the shores of Brownsea Island, DCI Lesley Clarke initially suspects suicide. But as she gets closer to the island’s close-knit community, she starts to suspect foul play.

Why did the victim argue with her closest friend days before her death? What secrets is the victim’s manager keeping? And can Lesley get to the bottom of the mystery before someone else dies?

The Island Murders is a tense, gripping crime novel perfect for anyone who’s imagined living in a coastal idyll, and wondered if it’s really all it seems.

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