Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

Murder in the Village Lisa Cutts 4* Review #BrendaPenshurstMystery @LisaCuttsAuthor @bookouture #MurderMystery #cosymystery #Village #England #BookReview #MurderintheVillage

Nothing ever happens in Little Challham… until the local pub owner is drowned in his own ale. Belinda Penshurst, owner of Challham Castle, is on the case!

Belinda Penshurst loves her home village Little Challham, with its shady lanes, two pubs and weekly market, and she’s determined to keep it peaceful. She may live in Challham Castle but she knows almost everything that goes on under her nose. So when irritable pub landlord Tipper is found dead in his cellar, she’s perfectly placed to investigate.

Retired detective Harry Powell moved to Little Challham for a quiet life. He didn’t expect to be dragged into a murder investigation. But the police don’t seem half as enthusiastic as Belinda about the case, and there are strange things happening in the village. Particularly the number of dogs that have disappeared lately…

Is there a dognapper snaffling schnauzers and luring away Labradors? Is Belinda barking mad to be worried that her brother Marcus was arguing with Tipper on the day he died? Belinda and Harry track down the suspects: the rival landlord, the outraged barmaid, the mysterious man in the black car following dogwalkers around. But are the dogged detectives running out of time to sniff out the killer, before he starts hounding them?

A charming cozy mystery full of laughs and eccentric characters. 

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Belinda Penshurst lives in the castle that overlooks the village. An active participant in village life, she uses her finances and influence to rejuvenate local businesses. Naturally, she is perturbed when the landlord of the pub she’s invested in is murdered. Harry is an ex-detective, working as a dog food delivery driver who uncovers a dog knapping plot. The two join forces to investigate. There is an intriguing dynamic between Belinda and Harry. Their dialogue is humorous, and they are both vibrant characters with pasts and secrets. The mystery is well-written, with multiple suspects and twists.

The intricate world-building is relatable. The characters and setting are easy to imagine, and an immersive writing style draws the reader into the village world. It’s an easy and entertaining read.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

A Death at Candlewick Castle Emma Jameson 4*#Review @bookouture @msemmajameson #MurderMystery #JemimaJagoMystery #Mystery #IslesofScilly #BookReview #ADeathatCandlewickCastle #cosymystery

Off the coast of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly are a balmy haven with never-ending beaches and aqua-blue sea. But unbeknown to the happy tourists and cheerful locals, someone is about to commit a terrible crime…

Librarian Jemima Jago’s summer is off to a delightful start. By day she works on cataloguing the oldest library in Cornwall, and by night she can be found catching up over tea and chocolate biscuits with her old friend Pauley Gwynn.

When the body of Hermie Castleberry is found on the beach at Candlewick Castle, Jem’s perfect summer is turned upside down. Jem doesn’t want to get involved, but when somebody close to her is arrested for murder, she springs into action to clear their name.

Jem soon discovers that Hermie had already ruffled a few feathers in St Morwenna and she’s worried that the police seem to have overlooked other suspects. Could Jimmy the scorned salesman or Seth the shifty scout leader have killed Hermie? As she hunts down more leads, she butts heads with the handsome Sergeant Hackman. If their relationship is purely professional, why does Jem blush every time she catches his eye?

The discovery of another victim, this time in the island’s picturesque harbor, leaves Jem reeling. Can she catch the culprit before the sun sets on summer in St Morwenna?

A charming cozy mystery from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Emma Jameson.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Although this book’s setting is English, the writing style is reminiscent of American cozy mysteries with an eclectic collection of characters and an enigmatic main protagonist in Jemima. This time a body is discovered on a small island in the Isles of Scilly that is the setting for Candlewick castle.

The characters are unique and have a good friendship dynamic that allows them to be successful amateur sleuths. The romantic tension between Jemima and Hack, the police detective, intensifies, which she struggles to understand. Their fledgling investigative relationship flourishes, as Jemima’s knack of seeing things from a different perspective, proves invaluable to Hack’s inquiry.

This is another engagingly quirky book in a series that is well worth reading.

Read my review of A Death at Seascape House

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery, New Books, Suspense

Death Comes to Bishop Well: The Shires Mysteries Anna Legat 5*#Review @LegatWriter @AccentPress # #CrimeFiction #Wiltshire #DeathComestoBishopWell #TheShiresMysteries #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources

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?

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from Headline Accent via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

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

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.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Historical Crime Fiction, New Books

A Deadly Coincidence Keth Finney 3*#Review @lume_books @ukcozymystery #cozymystery #Norfolk #WW2 @lovebookstours @lovebooksgroup #BookTour #BookReview #Ad #Gifted #ADeadlyCoincidence #ALiptonStFaithMystery

A deadly secret in the heart of a quiet country village.

In sleepy Lipton St Faith, the locals are getting used to their new rationing books and blackout curtains. The Second World War has brought much change to the small Norfolk village, as well as Lieutenant Eddie Elsner, on a mission all the way from America. But when the local postman is found dead, suddenly the war feels much closer to home…

The police are quick to declare it an unfortunate accident, but young, spirited Anna Grix is less convinced. After striking up a fast friendship with the newly arrived American, she teams up with Eddie to dig into this apparent accident. Full of unexpected twists and turns.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set in Norfolk during WW2, this is a cosy style mystery. The well-described setting and pertinent historical details set the scene for the two amateur sleuths independent, vicar’s daughter Anna and American Lieutenant Eddie Elsner, to solve the death of the local postman.

The story’s quick pacing engages the reader, and there is an interesting array of characters. The mystery has the necessary twists and a surprising ending. The dynamic between the two main protagonists is amusing but a little overdone. The dialogue reflects the historical period, but like some of the characters is a little stereotypical.

Overall this is a lighthearted cosy mystery in an atmospheric setting with a partnership that could develop into something special.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, New Books

The Murders at Foxglove Close Rose Temple 4*#Review @Hodder_Studio @HodderBooks A Neighbourhood Watch Mystery @HodderPublicity #cosymystery #rural #Sussex #MurdersatFoxgloveClose

The sleepy village of Little Cote was meant to be a quieter pace of life for ex-Met PC Jemima Cotton. But she soon discovers, here a petty rivalry can erupt into full-blown murder . . .

Police Officer Jemima Cotton expected Little Cote to be a quieter pace of life. But, unlike London, everyone knows everyone, and beyond the cake sales and coffee mornings, tea parties and village fetes, the neighbours aren’t all the best of friends . . .

When Jemima is unpacking her mugs and teabags in her new home on Foxglove Close, she’s called to attend her first murder investigation. She’s excited, until she discovers it’s only a few doors down from her. And she hasn’t even met her new neighbours yet! As she steps out of her house in full uniform, Jemima can feel the eyes on the back of her neck, and she can see the curtains and blinds twitching.

But the crucial question is why did the lonely gentleman at the end of the road get murdered, eating dinner alone at his garden table, tucking into a new bottle of Chablis? As she digs deeper into the murder, Jemima discovers that here in Little Cote, underneath the surface, tensions bubble away . . . and the smallest vendetta can erupt into full blown murder.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton -Hodder Studio via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An enjoyable cosy mystery set in a Sussex village with a rural police officer as the main protagonist. This is not a traditional police procedural, although the authenticity of the procedures is evident. This is a study of human nature, village dynamics tinged with humour, mystery and romance.

PC Cotton is an engaging protagonist and a resourceful sleuth. The rural police team are convincingly portrayed. The vibrantly created villagers provide Jemima Cotton with many suspects and constant interference in her personal life.

The plot is well thought-out and, this promises to be an entertaining cosy mystery series with noteworthy originality.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery, New Books

Blooming Murder Simon Whaley 4*#Review @simonwhaley @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #cozymystery #cosymystery #WelshBorders #BloomingMurder #TheMarquessofMortifordeMysteries

MURDER IS BLOSSOMING IN THE WELSH BORDERS.

Aldermaston’s having a bad day. A falling hanging-basket has killed the town’s mayor, and a second narrowly missed him. His wife wants him to build her new greenhouse in three days, and some nutter is sending him death threats.

This isn’t the quiet life he expected as the new Marquess of Mortiforde.

It’s the annual Borders in Blossom competition, and Mortiforde is battling with Portley Ridge in the final. But this is no parochial flower competition. The mayor’s mishap looks like murder, and there’s another body in the river. Someone desperately wants Portley Ridge to win for the fifteenth successive year.

So when a mysterious group of guerrilla gardeners suddenly carpet bomb Mortiforde with a series of stunning floral delights one night, a chain reaction of floral retaliation ensues.

Can Aldermaston survive long enough to uncover who is trying to kill him, and why? And can he get his wife’s greenhouse built in time?

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

With its distinctive characters and quirky humour, this cosy mystery is absorbing and addictive.

The amateur detective is likeable with a kind and intelligent personality that shines through. Exuberant characters remain credible, and the plot is full of suspects and twists that keep the reader guessing. It’s a quintessential English cosy mystery despite being set on the Welsh borders and will appeal to anyone who enjoys a laugh whilst trying to work out whodunnit?

I look forward to reading more in this original series.

Simon Whaley

Simon Whaley is an author, writer and photographer who lives in the hilly bit of Shropshire. Blooming Murder is the first in his Marquess of Mortiforde Mysteries, set in the idyllic Welsh Borders – a place many people struggle to locate on a map (including by some of those who live here). He’s written several non-fiction books, many of which contain his humorous take on the world, including the bestselling One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human and two editions in the hugely popular Bluffer’s Guide series (The Bluffer’s Guide to Dogs and The Bluffer’s Guide to Hiking). His short stories have appeared in ‘Take A Break, Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special, The Weekly News and The People’s Friend. Meanwhile, his magazine articles have delighted readers in a variety of publications including BBC Countryfile, The People’s Friend, Coast, The Simple Things and Country Walking.

Simon lives in Shropshire (which just happens to be a Welsh Border county) and, when he gets stuck with his writing, he tramps the Shropshire hills looking for inspiration and something to photograph. Some of his photographs appear on the national and regional BBC weather broadcasts under his BBC WeatherWatcher nickname of Snapper Simon. (For those of you who don’t know, they get a lot of weather in Shropshire.)

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Humour, Literary Humour, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

Death and Croissants Ian Moore 4*#Review @MonsieurLeMoore @farragobooks @BGLitAgency @RandomTTours #cozymystery #France #Rural #MurderMystery #humour #mystery #FolletValleyMystery #DeathandCroissants #BlogTour #BookReview #publicationday

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and Farrago Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an originally styled cosy mystery set in rural France with an unexciting Englishman and a mysterious French woman as the amateur sleuths. The writing is full of sensory imagery, which makes the reading experience enjoyable. It’s easy to imagine the characters and settings. It would translate well to television.

Richard is eccentric and innately humorous. Valerie is glamorous and secretive, and they form an unlikely but mutually beneficial crime-fighting alliance. Whilst the plot is simple, the characters’ dialogue and the vividly described action make this enjoyable.

Ian Moore

Ian Moore is a leading stand-up comedian, known for his sharp, entertaining punditry. A TV/radio regular, he stars in Dave’s satirical TV show Unspun and Channel 5’s topical comedy Big Mouths. He is also the author of two memoirs on life in France. À la Mod and C’est Modnifique. Ian lives in the Loire and commutes back to the UK every week. In his spare time, he makes mean chutneys and jams.

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Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Friendship, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books

A Death at Seascape House Emma Jameson 4*#Review @bookouture @msemmajameson #MurderMystery #JemimaJagoMystery #Mystery #IslesofScilly #BookReview #ADeathatSeascapeHouse

With its sweeping sandy beaches and rolling emerald hills, the island of St. Morwenna is an idyllic escape. But behind the perfectly pruned primroses and neighborly smiles a killer lies in wait…

When librarian Jemima Jago is offered the opportunity to catalogue Cornwall’s largest collection of antique shipwreck records it is a dream come true. The only problem? The collection is housed on the island of St. Morwenna, the childhood home she left years ago and vowed never to return to.

Shortly after Jem arrives back in town, island busybody and notorious grump Edith Reddy is found dead, with duct tape clamped over her mouth and nose. Jem, caught seemingly red-handed at the scene of the crime, mistakenly becomes the police’s number one suspect. The handsome Sergeant Hackman in particular can’t seem to leave Jem alone…

Jem must take matters into her own hands if she wants to clear her name. Snooping around Edith’s once-grand home, she is struck by the mess before her. The bedroom is completely ransacked and in the living room all the photographs have been removed from their frames. Was Edith’s death simply a break-in gone wrong, or is there more to the mystery that the police are missing?

Jem has a sharp eye for a clue and she soon realizes that many of the island’s eccentric residents had reason for wanting Edith out of the way. Could Declan, the curious café owner, or Bart, the fishy ferryman have killed Edith? Jem won’t rest until she uncovers the truth, but doing so will put her right in the killer’s line of sight…

A totally charming cozy mystery from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Emma Jameson. Brimming with intrigue and warm humor,

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a likeable murder mystery set on a fictional island in the Scilly Isles. Jemima Jago is a complex and flawed character who carries emotional damage from her previous time on the island where she now finds herself. Now a respectable librarian, she is hired to catalogue a library of rare local artefacts donated by a childhood friend still living on the island. Emotionally she is wary of returning, but the job is too good to surpass.

Her meeting with the nemesis who made her teenage years so difficult is not what she expected, but she still ends up looking guilty. Determined to face her past demons and clear her name, she becomes an amateur sleuth in a bid to find the culprit.

This is an intriguing murder mystery with an edgy main protagonist who appears to revert to her teenage persona when she encounters people from her past. She is likeable once you appreciate why she is so prickly. New friendships and possible romantic entanglements add authenticity and depth to this story. The islanders are quirky characters. There are numerous suspects, twists and a satisfying and suspenseful resolution.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Humour, Murder Mystery

Banana Devil Cake Susan A. King 4*#Review @SusanKing63 @EyeAndLightning @rararesources #CosyMystery #Villagelife #humour #WI #BlogTour #BookReview #BananaDevilCake

With the murder of last year’s fête judge now but a hazy memory, the village of Elmesbury has retired to its former tranquil existence. That is, until a mysterious newcomer sets in motion a series of events that will see members of the W.I. crossing wooden spoons at dawn.

In the midst of preparing for her long-awaited engagement party, redoubtable village busybody Beattie Bramshaw not only finds herself embroiled in a one-woman campaign to save the elm tree from which the village gets its name, but having to contend with an outbreak of unrest within her beloved W.I. group. Rivalry to win favour with the judge of this year’s fête has fuelled dissent within the ranks and, when two members are found dead in mysterious circumstances, suspicions run rife.

Confident the devil is not only in the cake but in the detail, Beattie determines to uncover the clues that will ultimately lead to the killer’s conviction. But can she solve the mystery before another member of the W.I. is picked off?

Banana Devil Cake is a comedy crime caper in the spirit of Agatha Raisin and one that is guaranteed to lift your spirits. Prepare yourself for a tale of tea, cake and riotous goings-on from the author of Marrow Jam.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An entertaining, quintessentially English cosy mystery featuring amateur sleuth Beattie and the ladies of the Elmesbury Women’s Institute(WI). It reads well as a standalone, but to get to know the characters and village, read ‘Marrow Jam’ first.

What makes this enjoyable are the distinctive characters and the carefully plotted mystery, which engages and enthrals the reader. Humorous and witty, this is a charming read for lovers of English cosy mystery. The writing is full of sensory imagery, making it easy to visualise. It would make a great series for television.

Susan A. King

Susan A. King lives with her husband in a quiet suburb in Hampshire. Between them they have four grown-up sons.

The inspiration for her Beattie Bramshaw novels comes from her long experience and observation of competitors at the local Romsey Show, where she regularly aspires to win Best in Show with her floral arrangements.

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Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Murder Mystery

The Thursday Murder Club Richard Osman 5*#Review @richardosman @VikingBooks @PenguinBooksUK #TheThursdayMurderClub #BookReview

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved killings.

But when a local property developer shows up dead, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

The four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron, might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK-Viking via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a fun but insightful character-driven cosy mystery.

Wonderfully eccentric characters, all have illustrious pasts, investigative and observational skills and a desire for justice. The twisty mystery has numerous suspects and misinformation holding the readers’ interest. Whilst aspects of this story seem unlikely that doesn’t deter from the well-crafted plot and the authentic characterisation that defines it.

There’s recognisable English humour blended with emotion making makes the characters easy to empathise and relatable. The vivid sensory imagery makes the characters and setting come to life.