Sunday, 3 July 2011
A Cotswold Killing by Rebecca Tope
Nestled in the fertile hills of the Cotswolds, the village of Duntisbourne Abbots is a well-kept secret: beautiful, timeless and quintessentially English. When recently widowed Thea Osborne arrives to house-sit for a local couple, her only fear is that three weeks there might prove a little dull.
I had not heard of Rebecca Tope until she had a book signing in Waterstones, Worcester last month as part of the Worcester Literary Festival. Deciding to investigate her books I visited the local Oxfam charity book shop and found this book, however please imagine my embarressment when, while paying, I found that Rebecca Tope was actually standing behind me, waiting to pay for a pile of books for herself. After Rebecca identified herself as the author we had a lovely chat about her books, the oxfam manager talked about the possibility of future author events and I left her to carry on her shopping.
I started this book as soon as I got to the school playground and devoured the first chapter while waiting for my children to come out at the end of the day. It is the first book in a series of books set in the Cotswolds, which are not too far from me and I enjoy reading books set in places i know which enable me to picture the scene more vividly- the cotswolds countryside is beautiful.
The main character of the book is Thea Osbourne, who is starting a new business of house sitting while the occupants are away on holiday etc, however the new business does not start very well as the first night house sitting leads to the body of Joel Jennison, the neighbour, being found in the grounds of the house. It is later found that the body is that of the neighbour, whos brother was also killed just ten weeks ago. Thea's brother in law is a superintendent in the police force and Thea soon finds herself becoming detective to try and understand the complicated family politics of the Jennison family.
I really enjoyed this book. There is a murder and subsequent police investigation, however it is not a gruesome read, I found myself relating it to Midsommer Murders or Rosemary and Thyme rather than Silent Witness or Reubus. A good murder mystery to loose yourself in on a sunday afternoon.
Rebecca Tope sets the scene well of village life, with lots of characters which could be found in any country village in England; the local busybody, the village shop keeper etc. I would like to visit Duntisbourne Abbots in the future to see the scene of the crime! It is a book that you could loose yourself in for an afternoon. It is not too long a book at 349 pages, great for a relaxing weekend.
I think that this book should be recommended to fans of Agatha Raisin. I will be looking out for other books in the series to see how Thea develops.