July 15, 2024

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Book Reviews, And Author Interviews

Love Finlay Donovan? Welcome to The Delightful Expectant Detectives By Kat Ailes

The Expectant Detectives By Kat Ailes-Summary

Goodreads Summary (review below) of The Expectant Detectives By Kat Ailes:

For Alice and her partner Joe, moving to the sleepy Cotswold village of Penton is a chance to embrace country life and prepare for the birth of their unexpected first child. He can take up woodwork; maybe she’ll learn to make jam. But the rural idyll they’d hoped for doesn’t quite pan out when a dead body is discovered at their local antenatal class, and they find themselves suspects in a murder investigation.

With a cloud of suspicion hanging over the heads of the whole group, Alice sets out to solve the mystery and clear her name with the help of her troublesome dog, Helen. However, there are more secrets and tensions in the heart of Penton than first meets the eye. Between the discovery of a shady commune up in the woods, the unearthing of a mysterious death years earlier, and the near-tragic poisoning of Helen, Alice is soon in way over her head.


The Expectant Detective is the first in the Expectant Detective Series. Dead Tired (book #2) will be released just six months after The Expectant Detectives on June 4th.


Nope. This is not a “five reasons to read” review. There is too much interwoven to separate the NUMEROUS reasons to read The Expectant Detectives.

I should mention that I’m not a mother. I’m Mother of Cats (not dragons- they don’t breathe fire), but not children. So, I know nothing of pregnancy or motherhood. That did not stop me from laughing out loud as I read The Expectant Detectives. Kat Ailes provides the perfect mix of humor, heart, and mystery. Grant me the long quotes; they are worth it.

‘Your cervix isn’t ripe yet,’ she announced, withdrawing. ‘I beg your parden?’ Something about having a teenager for a mid-wife was apparently making me speak like a  maiden aunt. ‘When you’re approaching birth your cervix will ripen… like a peach.’ Well thank you for ruining peaches for me.

‘I just hope you don’t go through wht my poor sister is going through right now…Nearly two days now and still nothing. First the baby was breech, which makes it very hard for there to be a natural birth without signifcant damage to the mother, if you know what I mean’ Being pregnant is like wearing a huge sign on your face saying ‘tell me the worst labor story you can dredge up: the more blood and screaming the better’.

While much humor centers around pregnancy and pending parenthood, it also comes through in other moments. During pivotal points in the mystery, Alice’s relationship with Joe, and life experience, the spirit of The Expectant Detectives is always there, making it a perfect refresher mystery after a string of dark reads.

In crime dramas the moment where they find the body never involves hiking up and down through woodland for twenty minutes holding your phone above your head to get a signal. Nor does it involve having to physically restrain your dog from peeing on the corpse. There could have been at least three ad breaks before Poppy remembered that you don’t even need a signal to dial the emergency services.

And this comes from a dark heart reader, aka, the darker, the better. However, I also love the Finlay Donovan Series by Elle Cosimano (link to summary/review and interview with Elle Cosimano provided), which provides the same feel as The Expectant Detectives. Even if you don’t love Finlay Donovan, I would highly suggest giving The Expectant Detectives a go.

The Expectant Detectives By Kat Ailes Summary Review

Thank you to Minotaur Books and Macmillan Audio for an advance copy of The Expectant Detective by Kat Ailes, which releases on January 9th.

All the main characters are thoughtfully written. Pregnancy and parenthood do not become a monolith but are individual to each character. Similarly, how each partner (except Ailsa, who doesn’t have a partner and faces everything independently) responds is different. Ailsa is the perfect compliment to the rest of the ladies. Not because she is a pending single mother but because her entire lifestyle contradicts the other women’s. Ailsa lives on a commune, off the earth, is vegan, and is more conscious of the environment. Meanwhile, the other characters live a more typical lifestyle.

Joe’s approach to housekeeping is even more lax than mine… Our child will either have the immune system of a superhero, or cholera.

Speaking of characters, we must talk about Helen, who often steals the show. Helen is Alice and Joe’s dog (which is constantly by Alice’s side), sometimes to the detriment of evidence and sometimes discovering it unwillingly. Helen is a constant source of mischief and joy.

What I got was Helen; the Legally Blonde of the dog world… Helen is also exceptionally stupid. You know the hot blonde in Mean Girls who thinks she can predict the weather with her boobs? That’s Helen.

The mystery is loaded with red herrings and various “who done its”. While there was one character I was suspicious of from the beginning, I could never guess the resolution. Even that character’s involvement was a complete surprise to me. Additionally, I found the idea of pregnant amateur sleuths was a unique and witty twist on the recent light-hearted mystery releases.

Overall, Kat Ailes has kicked off a series that has charmed and captivated me with its wit, heart, and sense of mystery.


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