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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

A Grave in the Cotswold by Rebecca Tope

Thea Osborne and her loyal spaniel Hepzie are still pursuing their occupation as house-sitters, despite the disastrous incidents of the past. At the moment they are staying in the late Greta Simmonds' house, which is currently between ownership. But when a body is discovered in a nearby field, Thea finds herself embroiled in a murder investigation once again. After befriending undertaker Drew Slocombe, she soon finds she's aligned herself with the police's only suspect. Believing him to be innocent, Thea works together with Drew to clear his name, although it slowly dawns on them that in a village simmering with secrets, a means and a motive could be laid at anybody's door.

I was first introduced to Rebecca Tope's books set in the Cotswolds, which is near to where i used to live, during the Worcester Literary Festival, and was lucky to meet her by chance in a local charity bookshop. I reviewed the first book in the series, A cotswold killing, earlier this month. It was in this book that the readers were introduced to Thea Osborne and her loyal spaniel Hepzie, a house sitter and her dog who travels around the Cotswolds looking after  houses for owners while they are away.

The first book was written in the third person and had Thea as the main character, however I was surprised to find this book was written in the first person, the undertaker, Drew Slocombe. However, once i had got used to this, which didn't take too long, I enjoyed the book. As I have already said in my review of  the first book, I enjoyed the slower pace of the book, being similar to a Midsommer Murder rather than a Silent Witness or Reubus.

Drew Slocombe, an alternative undertaker, who specialises in natural burials, in non religious services, has been asked to conduct the funeral of the late Greta Simmmonds. Following the service, Drew finds that there is a problem with the ownership of the land of the field that Greta has been buried in. Drew meets with the council official who oversees the dispute, but is later considered a suspect when the official is found dead in a field that Drew walked through alone earlier in the day.

I really enjoyed Rebecca's descriptions of the villages, the landscape and surrounding area. The village sounds like typical country village and is full of the usual characters - the nosy neighbours, the gossips and local. I did not like Drew as  the main character, I missed following Thea as she solved the murder, in this book it all came at the end. However this will not put me off reading other books from this series as I find them perfect to pick up when i want something easy to read.

Thank you to Allison and Busby for sending me this book to review.

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