The Third Breath - Malcolm Hollingdrake - 3D Book Cover
Detective, Mystery & Thriller

The Third Breath – Malcolm Hollingdrake

What an absolute delight it is to once again be reconnected to my ‘old’ friends, DCI Cyril Bennett, DS David Owen, pathologist, Dr Julie Pritchett, and many more. I LOVE The Third Breath, the writing style, the excellently described and deviously twisted… yes, wouldn’t you like to know?!

This seventh book in The Harrogate Crime Series feels special as it not only has a thrilling new case and a cold-blooded murderer but also reflects on previous investigations and colleagues no longer there, haunting memories of the past, combined with a perfect mixture of personal life and police investigation. Harrogate, once again, is the centre of attention…

Highly recommended!

The Harrogate Crime Series #7


“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”
_John Donne, 1624, dedicated to Prince – later Charles I of England, beheaded in 1649

There are times when Cyril Bennett would prefer a criminal investigation above what he has to do: to journey back to the past. Bury his father. Perhaps even his “ice-like emotions” towards his family. With Julie at his side, pathologist Dr Julie Pritchard, he has to face it, least of all, the demons in his head…

Meanwhile, a creepy character dares to compare their ‘work’ with us, the readers, eager to turn the pages, to find out what will happen next… “We are not too dissimilar,” they say which makes our blood boil. Though we too tremble in anticipation…


Back at the place he promised himself never to visit again, Cyril learns much about his mother and father, about Wendy, the woman his father married after Cyril’s mother died. If only he had known… but he did not and those images from long ago keep haunting his mind. Being here, where his father lived, and processing it all takes time but can he be missed? It does not take long for his DS, David Owen, to call him and announce a new case to investigate. No, Bennett is not a man who thrives on murder but to be frank, an investigation to distract him from his personal struggles is most welcome. ‘Castle Greyskull’ is what Owen calls the police station, the place Bennett is eager to return to.

His team is on the case already, investigating whether David Stephens, whose body was found in a car park, had been murdered. His sudden death came as no surprise to his family and business partner but we are fully aware of how Stephens died as we have been privy to the murderer’s preparations. Discovering both a cocktail glass and a potato in the car makes Owen curious enough to delve deeper into the case. Stephens was an investor and as such, had his hands in many a business. The team, among which DC April Richmond, better make haste because our murderer is not finished yet…

The manipulative and evil perpetrator engages the police in a murderous game of cat and mouse. Until now, the murderer is holding all the strings like a depraved puppet master. Will they be able to get to the bottom of the case before more murders are committed? Whilst Owen seems to leave more crumbles than ever, our killer is careful to leave none. As if Bennett has not enough on his plate in his personal life!

My Thoughts

Gosh, I LOVE this seventh book in The Harrogate Crime Series! With his eloquent and engaging style, the author draws you in completely. The intricate sentences, beautiful descriptions, and gripping storyline fascinated me. I delighted in the way the author carried out the transitions in the book – from the murderer’s contemplations, ending with “a flash” seamlessly over to Cyril in the next paragraph – if there is anyone who does not understand this, where have you been? Surely not reading my reviews of The Harrogate Crime Series! The references made me smile wistfully, somehow a loving memory is woven into the storyline and again I felt the loss of that special someone…

I cannot divulge too much but those, who are familiar with the series (and their number keeps growing as the series is successful!) know who I am talking about.’The Third Breath’ has a wonderful, one could say sentimental, feel because of the many layers, subtly woven into the story, the references to previous investigations, events and characters, as well as historical facts and ‘real-life’ people. It is not only the reader who feels sentimental but also our beloved DI, Cyril Bennett. With the team, Cyril and David and all those others, such as Julie and her assistant, Hannah, we have experienced harrowing cases and devastating grief – this book gives us room for reflection.

I smiled about Owen’s clumsiness (can he have become clumsier still? The answer is yes!) but was proud to see how well he (co-)leads the investigation. Oh, and did I mention the Harrogate Tearooms? One day I will visit! I had to chuckle seeing Cyril at the auction, blushing a bit when receiving unwanted attention and desperately trying to focus on his next painting. Everything about The Third Breath feels special to me. I highly recommend this engrossing thriller – a novel to devour and cherish.

Reading The Harrogate Crime Series in order enhances the reading experience – you will enjoy the tales so much more!

Books by Malcolm Hollingdrake

Bridging the Gulf

The Harrogate Crime Series:
#1 Only the Dead – my review
#2 Hell’s Gate – my review
#3 Flesh Evidence – my review
#4 Game Point  my review
#5 Dying Art  – my review
#6 Crossed Out – my review
#7 The Third Breath

#8 Treble Clef

About Malcolm Hollingdrake

Malcolm Hollingdrake Author Image

You could say that the writing was clearly written on the wall for anyone born in a library that they might aspire to be an author but to get to that point, Malcolm Hollingdrake has travelled a circuitous route. The author worked in education for many years, even teaching for a period in Cairo before he started writing, a challenge he had longed to tackle for more years than he cares to remember. Malcolm Hollingdrake has written a number of successful short stories and has six books now available, as well as Only the Dead and Hell’s Gate in Audiobook format. Presently, he is concentrating on a series of crime novels set in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

Born in Bradford and spending three years in Ripon, Malcolm Hollingdrake has never lost his love for his home county, a passion reflected in the settings for all his novels. Malcolm has enjoyed many hobbies including collecting works by Northern artists; the art auctions offer a degree of excitement when both buying and certainly when selling. It is a hobby he has bestowed on DCI Cyril Bennett, the protagonist of The Harrogate Crime Series.

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Book Info

The Third Breath is available at Amazon

Pages              242
ASIN (ebook) B07Q47GYDM

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