A few days into their stay, a pile of human bones is discovered at the base of an uprooted tree. The locals all have their theories about their identity and rumours abound. Thea and Phil discover that the village turns out to have more than its fair share of secrets, including a strong connection to the Knights Templar.
The couple finds their relationship tested to the limits as they try to prevent another murder investigation from threatening the quiet solitude they hold so dear.
©2008 Rebecca Tope; (P)2008 Soundings
Starting a New Year with a can of Danish Oil in one hand and a pack of sandpaper and bundle of wire wool in the other, and staring balefully at long-neglected wooden worktops in the kitchen isn't my idea of a great start to 2009. However, the hours have flown by, as I had the sensible idea of playing Blood in the Cotswolds as I worked.
With this title you basically get what it says on the tin (well, not excessive amounts of blood, but plenty of Cotswolds and lots of mystery). The narrator does an excellent job and, having recently returned from a weekend in the Cotswolds, the descriptions are spot-on. Characterisations are good and it's an enjoyable whodunnit set in a comfortably familiar setting. Not overly demanding, but that's no criticism.
When faced with a time-consuming but not mentally taxing task such as beech worktop restoration, I heartily recommend that you consider this title as a welcome diversion!
Too much crabbiness between Thea and Phil, too much 'my back hurts' 'oh, shut up, I'm a bad nurse'. The actual murder case becomes a backdrop and understandably so. It is convoluted and confused.
"Enjoyable, but Not Exciting"
I wish that I could give this book three and a half stars because I really did think it was better than just three which I tend to think of as just "listenable." I did enjoy this novel, but at the same time, I was never compelled to find more time to listen. I even listened to other books while I finished this one.
The reader did a good job of differentiating characters as she read, although the men tended to all sound similarly gruff. Her voice was pleasant, and she helped move the story along.
If you are looking for a cozy English country mystery, then this novel stands a good chance of satisfying you. If you are looking for an exciting listen, look elsewhere. The pace of this novel is very sedate. I chose it looking for something to listen to after I fell in love with the single Stella Whitelaw novel Audible has. This novel was not as entertaining as that one, but it still provided a nice diversion.
"Gentle murder mystery"
Thea Osborne is a historian and house-sitter whose current job takes her to the village of Temple Guiting. Her boyfriend, senior policeman Phil Hollis, joins her for the weekend but while there slips a disc in his back and has to stay on longer to recuperate. He is therefore present when a large tree is uprooted and a skeleton is uncovered. The bones turn out to be relatively recent and a full-blown murder investigation ensues, though Hollis is on sick leave and has to sit painfully on the sidelines while the official investigation is carried out.
My primary reason for selecting this book was fond memories of staying in the Cotswolds several times and in that respect I was not disappointed. The story's village setting is depicted exactly as I imagined where any crime is relatively gentle and the suspect pool consists of a handful of characters who share complicated family connections and long histories and everyone is very civilised. Even when one of the suspects holds one of the protagonists at gunpoint it's all done in quite a gentlemanly way and it never feels like anyone is in much actual danger of getting hurt. To take one's mind off the criminal element there's a pet snake, snippets of Templar history and an English version of a hot summer.
Thea Osborne is quite a strong female character, especially as her civil libertarian leanings are at odds with her boyfriend's job and she doesn't automatically fall into a nursemaid role when Hollis is injured but Hollis is a bit wet. Having experienced the same back injury myself I can appreciate that the author has captured his pain and frustration well but there is a limit to how interesting someone else's ailments can be and, for me anyway, that limit was reached before the end of this book.
Although it was a pleasant tale it wasn't terribly original but if you're a fan of Misdomer Murders I think you'd probably enjoy this book. Lennon's narration is understated, suiting the tone of the writing.
I probably would have eliminated a couple of characters.
Too many characters and plot lines for listening, although to read the physical book probably wouldn't have been as much of a challenge since once could flip back through the pages for clarification on various points.
It was "okay".
I have read the previous books in this series and enjoyed them (4 stars) so this story was rather a disappointment. I am not sure if it was the plot, the characters, the narrator or a combination of all 3. Just possibly changing the voices would have made this book more enjoyable and easier to follow.
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