You already know that I often come across free ebooks as starters of a series, meant to induce readers to become interested enough to buy the following books. "Cold Comfort" by Trevor Douglas was one of those; it is #1 in the Bidgette Cash Mystery Thriller series. Similarly, "Murder on the Oxford Canal" by Faith Martin is first in the DI Hillary Greene Mystery series.
Both stories have female detectives for their main character, but that's pretty much where the similarities end.
# 10: Cold Comfort by Trevor Douglas
Bridgette Cash is a rookie detective, working her first murder case together with an elderly detective soon to retire. The story is set in Australia, making a difference to my mostly UK-based reading.
Fresh from the academy (but with a navy career already under her belt), Bridgette looks at the murder from a different angle and finds that a lot points towards it being the work of a serial killer. Nobody believes her at first, but of course she is right. Can she stop the killer before he finds his next victim?
Her past keeps haunting her; when she was a little girl, her father, who was also with the police, was suspected to have killed her mother and then disappeared. Can he still be alive after having been in hiding for 20 years, and did he really shoot his wife and left his young daughter behind to be raised by relatives?
It was a good read, but did not quite engage me enough to want to read more cases (and buy the series).
You can read about the author and his books here.
# 15: Murder on the Oxford Canal by Faith Martin
Hillary Greene is older than Bridgette Cash. A seasoned detective, she has recently become divorced, then widowed.
Her late ex-husband, also on the force, was running a lucrative side business smuggling illegal animal parts. He also had affairs left, right and centre - with his wife being unaware of both. Still, she is now under internal investigation herself, since it is believed she was in on her husband's activities and is only biding her time until she can safely get hold of the large amounts of money that must be stashed away somewhere.
Circumstances for her are far from good, but when a body is found in the Oxford canal, she is made part of the investigation - last but not least because she happens to temporarily live on a canal boat herself.
While everyone else is quick to believe it was just a boating accident, Hillary's gut feeling says otherwise, and of course she is right. Together, the team untangle a dark web of drug dealing and personal relationships. More people die before the case is solved, and all the while Hillary is under investigation herself.
I liked the Oxford setting and the canal boat way of life. I also liked some of Hillary's collagues, but could not entirely warm to her. A good read altogether, with the solution not easily guessed (but still making sense).
Faith Martin's website is here, with plenty of information about her and her books.