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

Mystery at Apple Tree Cottage (An Eve Mallow Mystery Book 2) Clare Chase 4* #Review @ClareChase_ @bookouture #CozyMystery #MurderMystery #Suffolk #Mystery #Village #Coastal #BookReview #EveMallowMystery

Obituary writer and amateur sleuth Eve Mallow is enjoying life in sleepy Saxford St Peter – until a mysterious murder lands right at her door…

It’s spring in Saxford St Peter – time to get back in the garden, listen to the birds, and take gentle strolls in the woods. But for some, it’s the season for murder.

Eve Mallow is relishing the gentle pace of the village until a new arrival stirs everyone up. Ashton Foley is back: a teenage tearaway turned interior designer to the stars. He’s mad, bad and dangerous to know, but charming too – as Eve herself can testify – and every house in Saxford opens its doors to him.

So when he’s found murdered in the woods near his mother’s home, Apple Tree Cottage, there’s no shortage of suspects. A jealous husband? A spurned lover? Or has someone from his past life caught up with him?

The police soon hit on a simple solution, and arrest his mother’s partner Howard. Ashton always hated him, and he bears all the marks of a recent fight. But Ashton’s mother, miles away in New Zealand, is convinced he’s innocent and enlists Eve’s help to prove it.

There’s just one problem. Eve saw Howard sniffing around Apple Tree Cottage on the morning of the murder, and she’s fairly sure he’s guilty, too…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Despite living in London for years American Eve fits effortlessly into the little Sussex coastal village she calls home. Working in the village cafe for her friend Viv and writing obituaries she is enjoying the slower pace of life. The downside is she attracts murder and has a unique talent for solving them. It’s lovely to reacquaint, with characters introduced in book one, but this is a complete mystery and reads as a standalone.

When Ashton returns to the village, reformed and rich, there’s something about him that unsettles Eve. The victim has a chequered past and is a player, the possible suspects are many, including the person the police arrest.

Eve asked to help by Ashton’s mother uses her communication and observation skills to good effect. The plot is fast-paced with subtle twists. The characters are complex and suit the cosy mystery ethos.

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

Mystery on Hidden Lane Clare Chase 4*#Review @bookouture @ClareChase_ #MurderMystery #cozymystery #Suffolk #Village #Writer #amateursleuth

Meet Eve Mallow: an American far from home, a professional busybody… and an amateur detective?

Seasoned obituary writer Eve Mallow has a new assignment: to tell the life story of famed musician Bernard Fitzpatrick. A chance to spend a few days in the sweet little village of Saxford St Peter, walking the country lanes with her beloved dachshund Gus and meeting new people sounds like a dream. But it turns out that Bernard’s life was much less interesting than his death. On the day she arrives, news breaks that the charismatic cellist was the victim of a grisly murder. Could this quaint English village be hiding a dark secret?

As Eve starts to interview Bernard’s friends and colleagues, she finds that he’d ruffled a few feathers. In fact, from the keepers of the Cross Keys Inn to his own staff at High House, there’s barely a person in town who doesn’t have some reason to hate him… is one of the friendly villagers a cold-blooded killer?

Eve hoped Saxford St Peter would be the perfect escape from her busy city life. But there is darkness even in the most sunlit of settings. And when a second body is found, Eve becomes certain that one of the people she’s met must be the murderer. She has never done any detective work before… but is there something in her notes that can crack the case?

An unputdownable page-turner

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The essence of a good British murder mystery is an intelligent amateur sleuth. Good observational skills, an unassuming manner, which encourages confidences and an unbridled fearlessness, to confront, potentially dangerous people, and situations head-on. Writer Eve Mallow has these qualities.

Eve Mallow writes obituaries. An American, living in London, she is divorced, and her twins are now grown-up. She takes a job writing an obituary for a famous cellist and visits the Suffolk village where he lives to find out more about him.

Observant, she soon realises that this is not a straightforward death. Finding out her subject was murdered, draws her further into his previous life, to find the truth. She quickly endears herself to the villagers and begins to uncover some surprising revelations.

The setting is perfect for a murder mystery, unspoilt, picturesque, remote, with many unobserved places, perfect for committing murder. The cast of characters is complex, eccentric, and flawed. They are the sort you may find in any English village, which makes them relatable. The plot has twists and misinformation. and many suspects. The first victim had many unpalatable traits and so there is a veritable queue of people who may want him out of the way.

Eve is relentless in her investigation and willing to put herself at risk, unsurprisingly she solves the case. There is lots of scope in this series, both in terms of the protagonist and the setting, and I look forward to reading the next book.

Posted in Book Review

The House of Birds and Butterflies – Cressida McLaughlin – 5* Review

Abby Field loves every inch of Meadowsweet Nature Reserve on the idyllic Suffolk coast where she lives and works. Especially Swallowtail House, the rambling but empty country house that seems to look out at her each time she passes its shut-up windows.

When a TV wildlife programme chooses a rival location for their new series, Meadowsweet is under threat – unless Abby can whip up a plan to keep the visitors flocking. But she finds herself distracted by the arrival of a brooding – and annoyingly handsome new neighbour… bad-boy novelist, Jack Westcoat.

With the pressure on, Abby and her cute rescue huskie, Raffle, must pull something special out of the bag. But with Jack in need of a good friend – and Abby feeling the pull of attraction, she can sense her resolve fluttering away…

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

I read three-quarters of this lovely story as a serial, so I have reviewed the complete book in four parts:

The Dawn Chorus -I love the title and the cover, both epitomise the book’s ethos perfectly. Set against the background of a nature reserve on the Suffolk coast, ‘The Dawn Chorus’ the first part of the book introduces the mysterious house, abandoned in heartbreak on the edge of the reserve and a cast of delightfully quirky characters whose love of nature brings them together.

Abby loves her job, which brings her into direct contact with the public and the inhabitants of the reserve on a daily basis. She is fascinated by the faded glory of the large house, belonging to the reserve’s owner Penelope. No longer lived it possesses a mysterious, tragic quality that Abby longs to explore. Abby guards her heart fiercely. Let down by her father and drawn to toxic relationships she prefers to share life with Raffle her husky.

The Lovebirds– New Year starts off part two. Abby’s hoping for new beginnings, and when she unexpectedly spends New Years Day alone with her mother, she finds her parent wanting to build bridges.

The nature reserve is still in need of new ideas to keep it afloat, and Jack seems determined to be involved. Penelope, the owner of the sanctuary, is keeping secrets and Abby realises she needs to find out what they are if she’s going to help.

Abby’s fascination with Swallowtail house continues, and Jack seems to share her interest, leading to sharing and insights into both their troubled pasts. Their chequered relationship dominates, and this part of the book ends with more secrets than solutions.

Twilight Song – Spring is a time of new beginnings, and while this is true for the inhabitants of the Nature Reserve, problems loom on the horizon that threatens its future.

The couple’s gentle romance dominates this third part of the book. Abby and Jack’s behaviour and willingness to help the other signify their deepening emotions but their pasts make them cautious.

Penelope still keeps her problems secret, but Abby sees another side to her boss, which surprises her. Abby’s plans for the reserve are a success but will they be enough?

When you think this part of the story is ending on a high, someone from the past threatens Abby’s happiness. The mystery of the house remains untold and with the cliffhanger ending reading the final part of this charming story is a given for me.

Birds of a Feather- The final part lives up to my expectations. Abby and Jack’s relationship deepens in the face of adversity, but events force them to part to achieve their individual career goals and help the people and animals who depend on them.

New challenges for both Abby and Jack and finally we discover the answers to the secrets of Swallowtail house. The romance in this part of the story is sublime.

I will miss the characters of Meadowsweet, especially the adorable Raffle. The bird and butterfly life featured at the beginning of each chapter makes this story unique, adding depth to the authentic romantic tale.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction, Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

5* Review -Twilight Song #3 The House of the Birds and the Butterflies – Cressida McLaughlin

 

Spring is blooming at Meadowsweet nature reserve. Although the sunshine is drawing in the visitors like never before, events coordinator Abby knows she’s treading on thin ice. She’s spending more and more time with village newcomer Jack, and she’ll need to make a real success of the springtime camping extravaganza at the reserve if she’s to keep her disgruntled boss off her back.

Abby hasn’t thrown too many questions at Jack about his shadowy past – she’s enjoying the budding romance, so why break the spell? But when the secrets start spilling out and a glamorous blonde presenter from the nature show, Wild Wonders, turns Jack’s head, Abby knows it’s time to face the music…

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Spring is a time of new beginnings, and while this is true for the inhabitants of the Nature Reserve, problems loom on the horizon that threatens its future.

The couple’s gentle romance dominates this third part of the serial. Abby and Jack’s behaviour and willingness to help the other signify their deepening emotions but their pasts make them cautious.
Penelope still keeps her problems secret, but Abby sees another side to her boss, which surprises her. Abby’s plans for the reserve are a success but will they be enough?

When you think this part of the serial is ending on a high, someone from the past threatens Abby’s happiness. The mystery of the house remains untold and with the cliffhanger ending reading the final instalment is a given for me.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction, Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review

The LoveBirds – Cressida McLaughlin – #2 The House of Birds and Butterflies – 5* Review

 

It’s winter at Meadowsweet nature reserve. Wildlife-lover Abby is busy trying to lure in the crowds, and although her event planning is a little on the whacky side, her creative efforts are helping to keep Meadowsweet afloat. She’s not having quite the same luck, however, in getting to know the elusive village newcomer, disgraced celebrity author Jack. It’s clear that Jack has mysterious reasons for staying out of the limelight, and the village rumour mill is in overdrive.

Abby’s passion for the great outdoors is nothing short of infectious and when Jack joins her on a special nature walk, sparks unexpectedly start to fly.

As their relationship thaws, should Abby be on high alert? Or would a new romance be the most natural thing in the world…

Amazon UK

Amazon

 My Thoughts…

New Year starts off the second book in ‘The House of Birds and Butterflies series. Abby’s hoping for new beginnings, and when she unexpectedly spends New Years Day alone with her mother, she finds her parent wanting to build bridges.

The nature reserve is still in need of new ideas to keep it afloat, and Jack seems determined to be involved. Penelope, the owner of the reserve, is keeping secrets and Abby realises she needs to find out what if she’s going to help.

Abby’s fascination with Swallowtail house continues, and Jack seems to share her interest, leading to sharing and insights into both their troubled pasts. Their chequered relationship dominates ‘The Lovebirds, which ends with more secrets than solutions.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction, Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

The Dawn Chorus – Cressida McLaughlin – #1 The House of Birds and Butterflies – 5* Review

Abby Field is living the dream. As events coordinator at the Meadowsweet nature reserve on the idyllic Suffolk coast, every day is an adventure with the birds and the butterflies, and she couldn’t feel more at home. When another local nature reserve is chosen as the hot location for a new television series, however, Meadowsweet looks set for seasonal hibernation – unless Abby can whip up a creative plan to keep the visitors flocking.

With the help of the Meadowgreen villagers, and her cute rescue huskie, Raffle, can Abby rescue the nature reserve from oblivion? Or will she be distracted by the arrival of a brooding – and annoyingly handsome – new neighbour…

Amazon UK 

Amazon

My Thoughts…

I love the title of this new series from Cressida McLaughlin. The cover epitomises the book’s ethos perfectly. Set against the background of a nature reserve on the Suffolk coast, ‘The Dawn Chorus’ the first book in the series, introduces the mysterious house, abandoned in heartbreak on the edge of the reserve and a cast of delightfully quirky characters whose love of nature brings them together.

Abby loves her job, which brings her into direct contact with the public and the inhabitants of the reserve on a daily basis. She is fascinated by the faded glory of the large house, belonging to the reserve’s owner Penelope. No longer lived it possesses a mysterious, tragic quality that Abby longs to explore. Abby guards her heart fiercely. Let down by her father and drawn to toxic relationships she prefers to share life with Raffle her husky.

The arrival of Jack disrupts her uneventful life, and I can’t wait to read book 2, ‘The Lovebirds’ to see what happens next.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction, Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.