When Sam Dee moves to the beautiful Wiltshire village of Bishops Well, he expects a quiet life of country walks and pub lunches. OK, so his new neighbour, Maggie Kaye, is a little peculiar, but she’s very nice – and his old pal Richard Ruta lives just down the road.
But when Richard throws one of his famous parties, things take a sinister turn. Sam, Maggie and the rest of the guests are dumbfounded when Richard falls down dead. A horrible tragedy – or a cunningly planned murder?
With a village full of suspects – and plenty of dark secrets – just who exactly would want to bump off their host? Is there a connection to another mysterious death, nearly twenty years before?
Armed with her local knowledge, Maggie – with Sam’s reluctant but indispensable help – is soon on the case. But when the body count starts to rise, will sleepy Bishops Well ever be the same again?
I received a copy of this book from Headline Accent via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This book, the first in The Shires Mysteries’series is a fusion of cosy and murder mystery with a twenty-first-century twist. Set in a small Wiltshire town, the inhabitants are ordinary but beneath the respectable exterior are the secrets that lead to murder.
Sam, a retired barrister, relocates to the town to escape the memories of his dead wife, which haunt him. Maggie is his neighbour with an unusual talent for seeing the dead. The unlikely couple, drawn together as amateur sleuths when one of the town’s celebrities dies in suspicious circumstances.
Intricate world-building slows the novel’s pace, but it’s essential to create a believable setting for this type of story. Excellent characterisation, so vital for this genre, draws the reader into the story. The suspects are numerous and the motives plentiful, and it’s fun to work out the perpetrator and motive. Authentically flawed characters, many with less than politically correct views, make this relatable. The older protagonists will appeal to many cosy mystery fans, but the story has a contemporary edge that widens its reader appeal.
Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. Murder isn’t the only thing on her mind. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dark humorous comedy, through magic realism to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.