What they say:
Grumbling guests and escaping piglets are precisely what Martha doesn’t need. She’s alreadystruggling to run a holiday cottage and a rather large smallholding single-handedly. Since her husband Mark died, three years ago, her rural property in France, beautiful as it is, has become an increasingly heavy millstone around her neck.
So whilst she’s horrified to stumble across a corpse at the local farm supplies shop, it does at leastdistract her from her own woes. Best friend Lottie, the cheese to Martha’s chalk, swoops in to offermoral support, and encourages Martha to join her in some unofficial sleuthing. Meanwhile, police officer Philippe Prudhomme, a former fellow chess-player of Mark’s, undertakes a rather moreprofessional investigation.
However, despite everyone’s efforts the killer remains at large. And when more bodies (one and a bit, to be precise) come Martha’s way, it definitely feels like he’s closing in on her…
There’s suspense, humour and excitement in this entertaining cosy mystery set in the French countryside.
The Review: Well! How could you not love a book that touts itself with the sentence ‘There’s suspense, humour and excitement in this entertaining cosy mystery set in the French countryside?’
From the second I began to read and I had our lead, Martha, speaking about cows and piglets and the drama that comes with guests switching off the electric fence because the radio waves were interfering with their radio listening I was in!! I’m sorry to bring up the fact that we have an older protagonist than I’m used to, but I have to admit when I heard her husband of twenty seven years had died three years ago I was happy. Not … not happy he died, geez, how could you think that?!?! Happy because I’m thirty eight now and more and more books I’m finding have people my age and older (our lead here is in her fifties) as opposed when I started blogging and everyone was twenty something and it was a little off putting because I wasn’t.
Martha is a nice mix of pleasant and slightly cranky, and put with the charm of the farm (ouch, that doesn’t sound right, does it?;)), the french countryside and some equally as cranky people, I was happy out. (There were less cranky people as we moved on and I loved Martha and warmed to her throughout).
I don’t read cosy mysteries very often and have to admit when we encountered a dead body in the perfectly set circumstances (think “oh they’re not around, but then they’re not always…” kind of thing) I almost jumped up and down and thought ‘I really need to start properly reading this genre!’
The settings were great and put you right there
“Crickets chirped, songbirds sang lullabies to their nestlings, bats flittered in the early dusk and swallows still swooped by, on a quest for supper for their babies before, at long last, folding their weary wings and resting for the night. The sun sank gracefully towards its bed.”
This was joined with a great range of characters, from the whiny Carol, to Philippe, her lovely contact in the police department, to her excellent alpa friend Lottie. Put this with the sleuthing, the ‘another dead body?’, the realistic every day reasons for Martha to be put in certain situations, the murders themselves, farming related, which were quite shocking in this setting, the mystery and intrigue that was nicely added, and charm, romance and “have to read on” ness (what?!) and I have to say I devoured this book and can’t wait to read more, both from this author and from the genre. Thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for the book in return for an honest review and for allowing me to take part in this publication day push. And my advice on Hate Bale? Beyond recommended!
Author Bio –
I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral- sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie of animals, has made for exciting times. The current array of creatures ranges from alpacas to zebra finches, with pretty much everything in- between! Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve.
I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.
I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. Aswell as being an author, I’m also a part-time editor and, with Chris, manager of three carp fishing lakes. My hobbies are cycling, geocaching, knitting and sewing.
Social Media Links – @llamamum