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Murder at Hawthorn Cottage

A Melissa Craig Mystery, Book 1
Narrated by: Joan Walker
Series: A Melissa Craig Mystery, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
4 out of 5 stars (298 ratings)

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Summary

Meet Melissa: cat lover, caring mother… daring detective?

Melissa Craig is absolutely delighted with her new life in an old crumbling cottage, spending her days pruning the primroses and getting to know Binkie, the ginger cat next door. She only wishes she had made the move to the countryside sooner.

But when a knock at the door brings news of a shocking discovery, she suddenly finds herself thrown in to the middle of a baffling mystery: the bones of a young woman have been found in the woods just behind her new home.

Perhaps the little village of Upper Bembury is not as idyllic as it first seemed?

Strange phone calls in the night convince Melissa that the police are barking up completely the wrong tree, so she can’t resist doing a little digging of her own. From the bingo hall to the beauty salon and beyond, her search ruffles a few feathers and uncovers many of the village’s most scandalous secrets, but gets her no closer to finding the culprit.

The discovery of a tatty old photograph in a drawer is the final piece of the puzzle she needs, but as a newcomer in this close-knit community, does Melissa have what it takes to get to the bottom of this extraordinary murder mystery alone?

A joy to read! An absolutely unpausable whodunnit for fans of Agatha Christie, P.D. James and Faith Martin.

This book was previously published as A Little Gentle Sleuthing.

©2018 Betty Rowlands (P)2018 Bookouture

What members say

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another place to be.

I’ve enjoyed this beautifully narrated and highly descriptive story thoroughly both, whilst washing the car and in the gym. The time just flew by with a well paced and beautifully written, twisting tale that took me to another place.
Murder in the morning next!

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Sadly disappointing

When I saw that this was the first of a series I was so pleased as I love following sleuths from one book to the next. It was sad for me, as I was totally uncaptivated by the characters and the story. I plodded on for quite some time and in the end had to give up as I simply didn't care what happened next. Obviously there are listeners who enjoy this story line but unfortunately I am not one of them

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr
  • 22-09-18

A great story

Hi great story line. a star writer
you feel you could be there in the story
on to next book

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story,

The storyline was good. I didn’t see the end coming. The narrators voice grated. Her normal narration of Melissa was good and a pleasant easy to listen to voice, but the voice she put on for the other characters male and female, young and old, all seemed a bit like a cackling witch.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Oh so slow!

Frustratingly slow story line. I found the characters bland. The narrator frequently read in an over enunciated and dramatic manner where I found there to be nothing of suspense or significance in the story line requiring this. For me, this book was a waste of a credit.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

The book I feel had no real story to it. It just drifted along with odd clues here and there and a disappointing ending.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Charming story spoiled by the narration.

I liked the story but struggled with the narration. It was touch and go as to whether I sent it back or not.
The narrator seems to want to end most of her sentences on an up note, rather than a normal English voice which ends sentences on a down note. I managed to get over this annoyance by speeding up the narration slightly which somehow reduced my irritation.

Whether I can stand going through this on the next book remains to be seen. Perhaps the narrator will have altered her narration to be less simpering.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Really poor narration and unbelievable story

The narrator was awful, with poor intonation and everyone sounds like a bumpkin. The story was also frustrating as it didn’t hang together well with massive leaps of logic, poorly drawn characters who are unbelievable and cartoonish, and improbable story line. There is nothing ‘cozy’ about this story just annoying, the author swings from poetic imagery that doesn’t fit the style of story but would fit a Magnus opus and makes the story clunky to cliches that are like nails down a blackboard.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

excellent

thoroughly enjoyed the plot, superb narration which brought the characters to life making the tale even more believable

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Murder at Hawthorn Cottage

Excellent. Really enjoyed it. Kept guessing until the end. Will definitely read other books by this author

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sally
  • 27-10-18

Good clean mystery.

I enjoyed this novel. It is interesting and full of twists. Would recommend to anyone who likes a well written mystery.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Deborah
  • 16-06-19

Narrator’s voice gives entire cast grey hair & wrinkles

Another reviewer did warn about this narrator; she sounds like an intelligent, cultured woman of @65- nothing wrong with that, unless one is asked to voice a character or cast of characters in their 30s-40s. Something in the tone of her voice just ages
everyone. Story was not bad, maybe a bit boring


10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 09-09-18

Without A Doubt,.. The Strangest Narration I Have EVER Heard

Yikes,..!!.. A book can be absolutely stellar... but if you choose the wrong narrator,.. and give her free reign to muddle the accents of everyone in the entire book..(except the heroine) you are sure to have a recipe for disaster.
A quirky , regional inflection, not unlike a peculiar aunt is FINE for one character,.. but she did it for men, women,young,old, good ,bad .. impossible not to be peevish by the time it was blessedly over...

54 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • LM
  • 26-03-19

Grating Narration and Unrealistic Characters

I've read and enjoyed several Betty Rowlands mysteries, but I couldn't even finish listening to this one. Melissa, the main character, is uncharacteristically feeble and a bit slow. Iris the next door neighbor is an irritating mix of bossy bohemian artist ("even the smell of meat will make me puke!") and neurotic, judgmental spinster (strippers who were assaulted "were asking for it" or "had it coming to them," yet she lusted after the married vicar -- goodness knows why). The mystery took many, many chapters to kick in and was so underwhelming that I lost track of it.

The worst part, however, was the narrator, whose reading was affected and overdone. My biggest peeve was that she over-pronounced her "sh" sounds to a jarring degree, so that "measure" sounded like "meaSHure," as though she were channeling Sean Connery. She also, weirdly, used high pitched voices for the men (though the screechiest voice was saved for Iris) and varied the volume so much that she went from almost a whisper to a shriek within the same conversation.

I don't know if the author simply took a few books to find her footing so the weak characters and plot in this one were aberrations, but the narrator is a deal breaker. No more for me.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Beatrice
  • 11-11-18

4 stars

The story started off slowly, creating the characters and establishing the setting. I almost gave up on it. But, I continued to listen and it was worth it. Murder at Hawthorne Cottage is a realistic story with engaging and believable characters. The supporting cast is also interesting and adds to the feeling of genuineness of the mystery. There are several twists and turns and the villain is a complete surprise. I look forward to the next book.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kozz
  • 15-09-18

Top-notch

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Audible really brings a book to life. On to Betty's next cozy mystery!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • LOVETOQUILT
  • 23-02-19

Good plot but very drawn out

Could not be sure of Melissa’s age. Perhaps she is about 45. Reader has the voice of a much older woman. But then she might have adjusted herself to seem older.
The plot was good but rather too drawn out in the retelling and rehashing to other characters. Will have to wait to see if I will get another Audible book by this author.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • joan gourley
  • 30-12-18

Great surprise

After reading many mysteries including several cozy ones. This was a great book. I would rate this one of my favorites. The characters were fun so interesting.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • John S.
  • 02-01-19

Mixed feelings

I wasn't keen on the main character at the beginning, but as she softened a bit later in the story I felt she was okay. Other reviewers have mentioned that they didn't care for the narrator's male voices, but I was fine with them as a matter of fact, I believe the audio edition works well with the crusty next door neighbor.

Unfortunately, I felt the plot itself was rather silly. Also, I wasn't real keen on the minister and his wife. He came off as dippy enough that his later revealed role in the plotline was difficult to swallow.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Nola A. Stewart
  • 25-10-18

What a waste of my time!

Could not even finish this book. Poor plot, even worse story telling. The narrator though her voice beautiful had a difficult time creating characters that were believable. It was a slow build to a not so interesting mystery with unbelievable characters and choppy ending. I skipped to the end of the book to find that out.

11 people found this helpful