Book Review: An Old, Cold Grave by Iona Whishaw (Lane Winslow #3)


AnOldColdGraveCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: It’s early spring of 1947 in idyllic King’s Cove, and the Hughes ladies, mere et filles, are gardening and sorting through the jars of food that have been put up for the winter. But while cleaning up after the roof of their root cellar has caved in slightly, they are horrified to discover a small skeletal hand embedded in the mess. Panicked, they call Lane Winslow, the ex-British secret service agent, and, not without some misgivings about the state of their tense relationship, Lane calls Inspector Darling.

Before long the police crew discover the body of a young child buried almost 40 years before. Who is the child, and why has it not been buried in the local cemetery? Inspector Darling, already busy dealing with a teenage girl who has gone on a destructive rampage at a local mill, asks Lane for help in unearthing the long-forgotten secrets of the early life of the tiny town, and the identity of the long-forgotten child.

This delightful new historical mystery series will appeal to fans of Maisie Dobbs and Bess Crawford.

Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: 1947 British Columbia, with flashbacks to the early 1900s and 1930s

***I received a copy of An Old, Cold Grave from the publisher, TouchWood Editions***

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Review: Another excellent mystery from Iona Whishaw! An Old, Cold Grave takes us back to British Columbia in the late 40s, and back into the world of the mysterious Lane Winslow and the town of King’s Cove. This entry deals almost entirely with a cold case, and reading this book really reminded me of how much I miss the television show Cold Case that was on awhile back. If you’re familiar with that television show at all, this book is somewhat similar in format. There are flashbacks to earlier times, so the reader gets a complete idea of what happened, as the timeline bounces between past and present. I really enjoy mysteries in this format, and as a result, loved An Old, Cold Grave.

The mystery is solid here, but it is on the sad side. There was a weight to this book that I didn’t feel in the previous installments, and that is fitting with the crime. Since the skeleton is discovered in the Hughes’s root cellar, we see a lot of Gladys and her daughters Mabel and Gwen (the daughters are in their fifties). These three are ever so much fun, and I was thrilled to spend more time with them. Gladys steals every scene she’s in, and I just really enjoyed reading about them.

“There’s no point in having the vapours. We need to do something. We’ll call Lane Winslow.”

Lane Winslow helps to solve the crime, and her and Inspector Darling have tension and chemistry. I really enjoyed reading their interactions with each other, and am reminded here that I like the amateur sleuth/official detective relationship trope (Sleuth Dates Cop) in mysteries when it’s done right, with true chemistry evident between the characters.

Lane leaned forward. “Here’s what I think,” she said. “I think people are going to die, but what matters is making sure their story is not lost. Every time you solve a crime, a murder, you recapture some of the story. This little girl has a story. You will find it out, and it will matter to someone.”

Besides the main cold case, there is a modern mystery of sorts involving a teenage girl who vandalizes a local sawmill. This plotline brings in gender roles, and the changing opportunities that young women had during this time period. I thought this side plot felt more cohesive with the main mystery than in previous books, and enjoyed this side mystery.

When they were all sitting, Gladys frowned at her daughters, a bite of chicken midway to her mouth. “What’s going on with you two? There’s atmosphere. I’m not keen on atmosphere at dinner.”

The historical aspect of this book talks about Home Children, and I think this is the first book I’ve read that talks about these children and what happened to them. I love how this series brings something new to my attention in every book. It’s why I love reading historical fiction, and why I love reading historical mysteries. I’ve got two more books in this series to read: Book four: It Begins In Betrayal, and Book Five: A Sorrowful Sanctuary, which releases in September, and I’m excited to see what’s next for the characters!

Bottom Line: Another excellent mystery in the Lane Winslow series!

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Author Website
My Review of A Killer in King’s Cove (Lane Winslow #1)
My Review of Death in a Darkening Mist (Lane Winslow #2)

Do you enjoy learning new things while you read? What is your favorite time period for historical mysteries?


19 thoughts on “Book Review: An Old, Cold Grave by Iona Whishaw (Lane Winslow #3)

    1. Trying to find out who the skeleton is, and then later on how they died. As the community is so small, all of the townspeople start thinking back to who lived in the area a long time ago, and old suspicions and relationships are talked about.


        1. Yeah, I like it when there’s something other than murder. And I have no idea about the detectives job – in the mysteries I read, they usually are just trying to solve “whodunit”, but in this particular series, there is usually a side plot involving something different. The side plot in the second book was money disappearing from a bank, and in this one it is trying to help a young girl accused of vandalism (she ends up running away after the vandalism incident).


  1. Great review, Ami! I am unfamiliar with this series, but it sounds solid. Historical mysteries– not a genre I think of often! Do you feel like the world building is effective? Does it feel like the 1940s? I don’t know if I’ve ever read a historical mystery– I need to branch out more! XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I do think the world building is great here – it does feel like the 1940s! Historical mysteries are so much fun – I love how I learn new things about the time period when I read them, and the mysteries are usually a bit more meaty/weighty than the typical modern cozy mystery (many will bring up social issues), but they don’t have a tremendous amount of gore. It is one of my favorite genres!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re welcome! I hope you enjoy them 🙂 I’m not a big fan of gore, and I really love historical mysteries. I try to stay away from the ones with the grittier covers, as they give the impression to me that they’ll be gory.

          Liked by 1 person

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