I have heard so much about this author, and as I am really becoming a big fan of the cosy mystery genre, I was excited to give this one a go.
The narrative focuses on Isabelle Darby, who is known throughout the book as Issie. When Isabelle Darby moves to the delightfully cosy village of Lower Dimblebrook, she’s searching for peace and quiet as well as a chance to escape from heartbreak. After making friends with Fiona Lambourne, another newcomer to the village, Issie is left reeling when tragedy strikes and Fiona is murdered, the second wife Anthony Lambourne has lost in unfortunate circumstances. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the local gossips insist that Fiona had been embroiled in an affair before her death, something which Issie knows not to be the case. Determined to clear her friend’s reputation and solve the mystery of the rumours, Issie takes on both the gossips and the handsome but stern DI Wainwright, making both friends and enemies along the way!
This has been, as expected, a nice, comfortable and easy read. There are many conventions of the cosy mystery genre here which I have enjoyed. Firstly, there was the engaging opening which sets us up for the mystery we are dealing with – an unexpected murder of an upper class village wife. We are told that a woman has been found dead in a car park. There is very scant details or evidence apart from that to begin, and it is up to the investigators, the villagers, and us to come up with a theory or conclusion as to what happened and why.
I have felt totally immersed in village life and all the highs and lows of it. Throughout the book, the author touches on elements such as community spirit, friendship and loyalty, but also explores in some detail the issues of a village rumour mill and village gossip.
The elements of friendship and hints at romance within the book provide a lighter tone, again fitting in with this wonderful aspect of the cosy mystery genre. I thought it would be a challenge to make the development of the relationship between Issie and DI Wainwright seem authentic and genuine, whilst maintaining the integrity of the investigation and the main plot, but this talented author does so with ease.
In summary, this is a comfortable, easy going read for fans of, or newbies to the cosy mystery genre, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to reading the next in the series, and seeing what’s next for the wonderfully eccentric characters I have met in Dimblebrook!