Today it’s my great pleasure to be sharing my thoughts on the brand new cosy crime mystery from author Lisa Cutts, Murder In The Village. Really enjoyed having a break away from my darker crime reads with this one and have to say a big thanks to publisher Bookouture for the advance review copy and for allowing me to join in the publication day celebrations. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Meet Belinda Penshurst. Castle owner, dog lover… crime solver?
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. Fans of M.C. Beaton, H.Y. Hanna and Emily Organ will love the first novel in the Belinda Penshurst series!
I really enjoyed this book. Fun, full of mystery and with characters I really enjoyed getting to know, if this is a sign of things to come then sign me up. Welcome to Little Callham, a small village where everyone knows everyone else … at least, they think they do. Right up until one of them becomes a killer and then all bets are off. Was it the butcher? The rival landlord(s)? The dog food delivery guy? Okay – probably not him as he’s a former police officer and one half of the village’s unofficial detecting duo – Belinda Penshurst and Harry Powell.
This is top notch cosy crime. Plenty of scene setting, a really relaxed vibe to the story but with an undercurrent of tension, not only between the characters – small village, it’s expected – but also in the strange goings on surrounding the canine community. It is exactly that which captures the attention of Harry Powell, a slight contrast to the more serious case that Belinda has her sights set on. The murder of the local pub landlord. The who, what, why and when is slowly uncovered, a seemingly never ending list of suspects allowing the real culprit to hide in plain sight. And with a kind of twist in the story that has Belinda suspecting someone close to her, you never know quite where the story may be leading. Or what might be in the soup …
I really liked the characters of Belinda and Harry. Yes, as Belinda’s family are quite the presence around town, there was a time at the beginning that I wondered if she was going to be just that little bit too prim or too posh maybe for me to gel with. But she is a woman of hidden depths and the more I learned about her, the more I saw her in action, the more I liked her. The story behind how she first came to meet Harry was certainly an eye-opener! As for Harry, we don’t learn all there is to know about him this time around, I’ve a feeling there is still more to come, but what I did learn, I liked. He’s a very different personality to Belinda, but they compliment each other perfectly and the chemistry – and humour – really set off the story like a dream.
The whole thing has a kind of Midsomer Murders vibe and in spite of the murderer on the loose, kept me smiling from start to finish. There was a real sense of place, the author capturing that close community vibe perfectly, and a wonderful array of memorable characters to bring the story to life. And it’s not just the two legged variety that stick in the mind – the four-legged friends are determined to get their fifteen minutes of fame too. Some of those scenes really had me laughing and I could picture them perfectly. The motives in play … well one was all too believable and the other kind of honourable (ish) but very, very flawed. I can honestly say I did not see some of it coming, but it was all wrapped up neatly by the end. Good job there was plenty of shrink wrap on hand …
A fabulous start to the series and I can’t wait to see what this fabulous duo get up to next. Fans of cosy mysteries (and dog lovers) are just going to eat this up.
About the Author
Lisa Cutts is a full-time detective constable investigating murders for a living. When off duty she writes a fictitious version of her day job. She lives and works within the county of Kent with her husband and Labrador.
She is the author of the DC Nina Foster books, Never Forget and Remember, Remember. Never Forgot was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award 2013 and the winner of the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award 2014 for Best Thriller. She has also written four books in the East Rise Incident Room series, Mercy Killing, Buried Secrets, Lost Lives and Don’t Trust Him. All four centre around DI Harry Powell and his Major Crime Team battling to solve the latest murders within the county. Currently she is writing the Little Challham mysteries, cosy mysteries set in a fictional village in Kent.
She writes a monthly column, Behind the Tape, for Writing Magazine answering police procedural questions from other writers. In early 2016, she was honoured to become the Patron of Rochester Literature Festival and help establish Murderous Medway, an annual crime fiction festival packed full of amazing author panels. As well as being on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book, Lisa has twice appeared on This Morning to chat about TV crime dramas Broadchurch and Line of Duty.
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