Last Seen Alive by Jane Bettany

Blog tour: 15 to 19 April 2022


When Anna Matheson fails to collect her son from the babysitter after a works party, the police are swiftly called. Anna is a stickler for time and a good mother – she would never abandon her baby. Her disappearance is totally out of character and DI Isabel Blood and her team soon suspect foul play.

CCTV footage shows Anna was last seen at precisely 11.11pm, as she collected her coat to leave the party. But the cameras outside the venue have failed to pick up her exit from the car park – how could she have vanished in plain sight?

Rumour has it that Anna was set to make big changes in the workplace, and Isabel can’t help but think someone wanted her out of the way.

Everyone at the party is a suspect, and all the clues point to murder…

My review

Last Seen Alive is the third instalment in the Detective Inspector (DI) Isabel Blood series and, after really enjoying the other two books, I couldn’t wait to get started on this one!

The series is set in the fictional Derbyshire town of Bainbridge and the novel’s main protagonist is DI Isabel Blood, wife of Nathan and mum to Kate (who lives in nearby Wirksworth), Ellie and son, Bailey.

When marketing manager, Anna Matheson, 36, is late to collect her five-month-old son, Benedict, after attending a 60th anniversary party at the sweet factory, Allwood Confectionary, where she works, her best friend and babysitter, Lauren Talbot, is very concerned and phones the police at 1am.

Anna is a single mum and drove to the work do as she doesn’t drink. She’s reliable and never late. She was due home at half 11 but there’s no sign of her anywhere and she hasn’t called and her mobile phone is switched off.

As the police investigate Anna’s private life and question her mum, friends and work colleagues, there’s still no sign of her and it’s beginning to look like the worst has happened. There are some interesting connections amongst the work force at Allwood and Anna is hiding some secrets herself.

This was another gripping and well-paced police procedural from the author and I really enjoyed the way the cleverly plotted investigation slowly unfolded, with its dead ends and confusing elements, before things eventually came together and the case was solved. It’s an engaging and satisfying read and I raced through it in a few hours.

The story was very entertaining, with some intriguing revelations and surprising twists and turns. I had several theories about what had happened, as we met various suspects and learnt more about their relationships to others, but didn’t predict how it would all turn out.

I really like Isabel Blood – she’s dedicated to her job, methodical and thorough, and seems quite normal for a police detective, with a lovely husband and children. She has an interesting past, which adds another dimension to her character’s story.

Overall, I’m really enjoying this series with its good old-fashioned police work and I hope it won’t be too long before there’s another case in Bainbridge to solve! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next and how things develop with the main characters.

Buy the book

Last Seen Alive by Jane Bettany can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle now and in paperback on 23 June 2022, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks. See also Ethical Book Search.

About the author

Jane Bettany is the author of In Cold Blood, a crime novel featuring DI Isabel Blood and set in the fictional Derbyshire town of Bainbridge. The book won the 2019 Gransnet and HQ writing competition, which was for women writers over the age of 40 who had written a novel with a protagonist in the same age range.

In Cold Blood and Without a Trace were her first two novels, but she has been writing short stories and non-fiction articles for over 20 years, many of which have appeared in women’s magazines, literary magazines, newspapers and online.

She lives in Derby and has an MA in Creative Writing.

Twitter: @JaneBettany
Facebook: @JaneBettanyAuthor
Instagram: @bettanyjane

Blog tour

Thanks to Alliya Bouyis at HQ Stories for my digital copy of Last Seen Alive and for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.


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