“Murder at Hawthorn Cottage” by Betty Rowlands – Book Review

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.

Titles 1 – 8 of the series as released by Bookouture

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.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Bookouture, Mystery fiction, NetGalley and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to “Murder at Hawthorn Cottage” by Betty Rowlands – Book Review

  1. As someone who is particularly picky about cozies, I agree with you wholeheartedly that the covers often do them in for me. If the cover is silly or trite, I expect the same of the book, and truth be told, I’m not one for silly books. Light, yes. Silly, no. That said, I also requested this book because the cover was much more to my taste. Glad to see you liked it! However, I have to say…M.C. Beaton is a recommend against for me. I’ve given her a go (three times!), and she is one of the few authors I really, really don’t care for. 😦


  2. Just made a glance of the cover and the series I wanted to read them all.
    It’s a kind of treasure!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those covers are amazing, but would have to agree. I think I’ve OD’d on cozies.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I do love this cover, and have wanted to try this one!!! So glad you loved it 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Holly B / Dressedtoread says:

    I agree these covers are fabulous and intriguing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fantastic review! I quite like the sound of this one as I enjoyed the Agatha Raisin series.


  7. Priyasha says:

    Great review 💗

    Liked by 1 person

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