A Village Murder by Frances Evesham is a cozy and comforting English murder mystery.
I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie’s Poirot series, owning most of the series in hardback. I also really love TV shows such as Midsomer Murders. There’s just something cozy about them (despite the subject of murder being quite gruesome!), so I was really excited to read this book.
A Village Murder is set in the Somerset village of Lower Hembrow. Adam Hennessey is a retired police officer, now landlord of The Plough and is hoping for a quiet life (or so he says!). Meanwhile, Imogen Bishop has recently inherited The Streamside Hotel, opposite the pub — after he father died in a car accident. Her father was popular in the village, a councillor, philanthropist and entrepreneur. The police have blamed his car accident on slippery roads, fly-tipped rubbish and thinning tyres — until Imogen’s husband is found dead in the hotel orangery on the day of the funeral. Adam and Imogen then form a partnership to try and solve both deaths and bring the killer to justice.
A Village Murder begins with a stray dog barrelling through the door of Adam’s pub. He later names the dog Harley and finds him a new loving home. How could I hate a book that has a dog as such a central part of the story?!
I really liked both Adam and Imogen’s characters. Adam is very positive and upbeat, and I could feel his warmth and kindness through the pages. His background as a well-known detective makes the story very plausible. Imogen herself is incredibly strong, smart and resilient. I especially liked that her friends from school and Adam describe her as being totally different to how she sees herself. One of her school friends even says: “She looked like a Greek goddess.” Something I think everyone could learn from!
While investigating the murder, Imogen learns a lot about her father and about her late husband — some things she knew about, as well as other areas that she didn’t. It feels like it gave her some closure to know the truth about them both at last. She also reconnects with old friends from school who she hadn’t seen since leaving the village.
There are also lots of quirky characters in the village, such as Helen Pickles, the local vicar, and Maria Rostropova, a beautiful Romanian woman who uses her charms to persuade others in the village to help her.
The story itself moves along at a good pace with some surprises along the way. There are some interludes, for example with Adam and Imogen hosting a charity concert for Maria. It ends in the traditional way, with the suspects in a room together while Adam and Imogen talk us through it until the murderer is revealed. I thought I had guessed who the murderer would be, but it turns out that there were a lot of red herrings!
This was a really fun read — I enjoyed it and would love to read more from Adam and Imogen (and Harley!). They made a great team!
The blurb for A Village Murder
An English village can be deadly, when your past catches up with you…
In the beautiful rural Somerset village of Lower Hembrow, crammed full with English eccentrics, something is amiss…
Landscape gardener Imogen Bishop has spent the last thirty years trying to forget one fateful school night but when her estranged husband Greg Bishop is found dead in the grounds of her fathers Georgian hotel, danger threatens to overwhelm her.
Retired police officer Adam Hennessey, hoping for a peaceful life running his traditional Somerset country pub, finds himself drawn into the unfolding drama in the hotel across the road.
Imogen, Adam and Harley the stray dog form an unlikely partnership as they try to untangle a knot of secrets, solve a murder mystery, and bring a killer to justice.
About the author, Frances Evesham
One day, Frances Evesham walked on a beach in peaceful Somerset and came upon a unique nine-legged Victorian lighthouse. Her first cozy crime story, Murder at the Lighthouse, was born.
Now, she writes mystery stories: the Exham on Sea contemporary cozy crime series set in a small Somerset seaside town, and the Thatcham Hall Mysteries, 19th Century historical mystery romances set in Victorian England.
She collects poison recipes and cooks with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other, her head full of ingenious ways to dispatch her victims — in fiction, of course.
She’s been a speech therapist and a road sweeper, and worked in the criminal courts seeing crime from all points of view: victim, prosecution and defence. Spending time in the dock and the witness box alongside witnesses taught her more about motive, means and opportunity than she could ever have imagined.
Blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources
I reviewed A Village Murder as part of a book tour organised by Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out the other bloggers taking part in this book tour for more reviews, extracts and guest posts!