Melissa Craig is a mystery novelist in her mid-forties. Single, and the mother of a grown son, she has just moved from London into an isolated Cotswold cottage where she intends to write her next book. One of her other reasons for moving was to distance herself from Aubrey, a married man who loves her, but whom she does not love back. He has become to clingy and solicitous.
Melissa meets her new neighbour, Iris, who is a vegan fabric designer and accomplished organic gardener. Iris has a wonderful cat named Binkie who adds some feline presence to the book.
Melissa meets some colorful residents. A clergyman with secrets, a vivacious cleaning lady, and a grounds-keeper who wants to find ‘tid-bits’ that she might use in her next mystery novel.
Only a week after her move, a body is found by her next-door neighbour as she digs leaf mulch for her garden. The corpse has been buried in the wood for several months.
With the aid of a young journalist, Melissa does some ‘gentle sleuthing’ and helps to uncover the seamier side of the idyllic Cotswolds. Murder suspects are discovered, and danger lurks…
On the cover, beneath the author’s name is the tagline: “An absolutely gripping cozy mystery“. It is exactly that! A while back I wrote a post about cozy mystery covers and how some of the more cartoonish of them might do them a disservice. I think this is true even more now that I’ve read a cozy. The beautiful covers of this series (published by Bookouture) are what drew me to the novel. I would never have requested it if it had one of those typical ‘cozy’ covers.
This is the first in a series of 13 books featuring the fictional crime novelist Melissa Craig (many of which were published previously under different titles). Undoubtedly a series that will be enjoyed by lovers of the ‘cozy’ mystery sub-genre. It was reminiscent of the Agatha Raisin mysteries by M.C. Beaton.
The Cotswold setting was divine. The protagonist, Melissa Craig, was engaging. The mystery was interesting. What more could you ask for in a light, easy to read, escapist whodunit?
NOTE: “Murder at Hawthorn Cottage” was originally published under the title
“A little gentle sleuthing“. Other titles in this series have differing titles as well.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Bookouture via NetGalley. This review is my way of saying thank you.