Sarah Reviews… Expiry Date by Rachel Ward

Good morning! I’m changing my schedule a little bit and switching my adult reviews to a Friday! Today I’m reviewing Expiry Date the third story in the Ant and Bea Mysteries series. I meant to share this review last month but as you’re probably tired of me saying by now everything got a bit much and nothing happened here on SWB! I’ve previously reviewed the first two books in the series The Cost Of Living and Dead Stock and was lucky enough to meet Rachel at a Sandstone Press event in Edinburgh back in 2018, so when I spotted Expiry Date appear on NetGalley I knew I had to request it!

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Title: Expiry Date

Author: Rachel Ward

Publisher: Sandstone Press

Publication Date: 18th June 2020

Format: eARC

This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review

About The Book…

Bea’s favourite customer, Julie, hasn’t been seen for weeks. Her abusive husband claims she left him but when a corpse is found, it seems to confirm Bea’s worst fears. As Bea investigates, the truth she and Ant uncovers will threaten everything Bea believed about her own family.

What I Thought…

Once again Ant and Bea have managed to find themselves in the middle of a mystery, and this time it is extra personal for Bea. As always I’m not going to say too much about the plotline because it’s a mystery novel and I certainly don’t wanna spoil that for anyone. What I will say is that as ever Rachel has managed to write a story that captures your attention from a mystery perspective, but also draws you in from a personal aspect. I think Expiry Date pulls on that personal aspect to an even greater extent than the previous two novels in the series because of the extra link that Bea has with this case and the way it affects her family. I was certainly hooked by the story and probably stayed up reading far later than I should have done because I wanted an outcome both in terms of the satisfaction of actually knowing the truth what happened but also being genuinely concerned about how the truth, whatever it may be, would affect Bea and Queenie in the long run.

I’m just going to give a very quick mention to a couple of the supporting characters before talking a little about Ant and Bea. I’ve really enjoyed seeing Queenie develop over the course of the three books as she’s worked to overcome her agoraphobia, she has plenty to deal with in this book but I like to think she’s come out stronger at the end of it. Dot as ever had some wonderful lines that made me chuckle.

I had some mixed feelings about Bea in Expiry Date. Now don’t get me wrong I still really enjoyed following her on her quest to find out the truth but there was some points where I wanted to give her a bit of a shake and tell her not to be so silly. Without giving too much away there were a few times that I thought Bea was being just a little bit (or a lot) too reckless, I completely understand why she was so driven to investigate, and why she was so desperate to get answers, I just wish she’d thought about her own safety a little more! I did love the fact that Bea’s consideration for others still shines through, whether it’s showing concern for Julie, or looking out for Ant.

As always I have this huge soft spot for Ant. I think he’s definitely had a rough start in life, and has made some poor decisions in the past but at the same time I do genuinely think he has a heart of gold. I loved that Bea managed to get him into the library for their adult learning to read program, and I liked the fact that he opened up to her and let himself be vulnerable enough to do that. I definitely think he got dealt a rough hand during Expiry Date, particularly with his living situation and I genuinely just wanted to give him a hug for a fair amount of the book. I was so pleased that as the story wrapped up things were beginning to look much more positive for him. Again without giving anything away I adored the ending and I’m so looking forward to finding out what is next for our mystery solving pair personally and in terms of what mischief they managed to find themselves in!

Final Thoughts…

Rachel has absolutely done it again, what a fabulous third addition to the Ant & Bea Mysteries series. I read this back at the end of May, having survived several months of lockdown and with the realistic prospect of it being several months more before I would actually get to see my friends in person, the joys of living by myself in a different town to everyone else and not driving! Catching up with Ant & Bea was just the balm I needed to put a smile on my face. I’ll be ready and waiting for a fourth adventure!

The Ant & Bea Mysteries on Goodreads

More Rachel Ward on SWB

About The Author…

Rachel Ward is a best-selling writer for young adults. Her first book, Numbers, was published in 2009 and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. An avid reader of detective fiction, Dead Stock is her second book for adults. Her first, The Cost of Living, was published in 2017. Rachel lives in Bath with her husband, and has two grown-up children

Connect With Rachel

Website // Twitter

Want To Buy It?


As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?

3 thoughts on “Sarah Reviews… Expiry Date by Rachel Ward

    1. Sarah - SWB

      Ooh it’s been a while since I read a Stephanie Plum book, although I have fond memories of my grandma chuckling away to some of the early books when I was a teenager! But yes, the central characters are fairly young so I think that gives it a bit of a unique twist. I must confess I don’t read many cozies for comparison though!

      Liked by 1 person

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