With the war finally over the residents of Westleham village are trying to reclaim a sense of normality and the upcoming village show is proving to be a popular event!
Newcomer, Martha Miller, has high hopes for the village show. Since her husband Stan left for work one day and never returned, some of the villagers have treated Martha with suspicion – why would a good man like Stan simply up and leave? Was it something Martha did?
All Martha knows is that she’s hoping that she can win people over and hopefully they’ll buy her delicious homemade plum gin, too and she’ll be able to make ends meet.
But as glasses of Martha’s gin are passed around, disaster strikes. Alice Warren, Chairwoman of the village show slumps to the ground after taking a sip. It’s clear she’s been poisoned!
Martha is shocked, but not surprised when fingers of suspicion once again point her way. Determined to prove her innocence, Martha sets about trying to find the real culprit. But who would kill Alice and why?
Ably helped by the new vicar, Luke Walker, Martha quickly tries to get to the bottom of this mystery. But with the villagers closing ranks, it quickly becomes apparent that the only person with a motive is Martha herself…
Will Luke and Martha discover who is behind the poisoning before it’s too late?
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Set in post world war two rural England, the first Martha Miller mystery has all the ingredients of a compelling cosy mystery. A gossipy village community, a mysterious disappearance, a murder, and a likeable and intelligent amateur sleuth. Martha is already the subject of village conjecture when her husband leaves for work one day and doesn’t return. Some villagers believe she was lacking as a wife, some believe something sinister is afoot, and Martha is the instigator. So the chance to help with the village show an opportunity to enjoy everyday village life after the war is taken eagerly by Martha, but things do not go to plan.
Finding herself the subject of villagers’ insinuations once again, Martha sets out to find out who wanted to kill the head of the Village show committee and why? Helped by her sister and the attractive, kind new vicar, the mystery unfolds with numerous suspects.
In a character-driven mystery, the reader gets to know Martha and her friends, and they are likeable and relatable characters. The investigation into the murder is engaging, and the broader puzzle of Martha’s husband’s disappearance draws the reader into Martha’s world.
The well-described postwar rural setting makes it easy to visualise the characters and the village. This book is a promising start to the Martha Miller Mystery series.
The daughter of a military father, Catherine was born in Germany and lived most of the first 14 years of her life abroad. She spent her school years devouring everything her school library had to offer! Catherine writes cosy mysteries that take place in the English countryside. Her extremely popular Tommy & Evelyn Christie mysteries are set in 1920s North Yorkshire. Catherine lives in northeast England with her two spoiled dogs who have no idea they are not human!