A Cotswold Killing by Rebecca Tope
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
OK, I have to start this review with a little story. As my blog followers know, I belong to an international postcard club. I receive cards from all over the world from interesting people. It's been great fun.
Recently, I received a nice card from the UK by a woman who enjoys writing. Well, I am supportive of aspiring writers and told her I would like to read some of her stuff. She directed me to Amazon where I bought a Kindle version of a Cotswold Killing. Shortly into the book I realized that if this was an aspiring writer she was extremely good. I've read and reviewed so much tripe from people asking me to review their book that I've stopped accepting review requests.
This was not tripe. This was a great read. I believe it falls under the category of cozy mystery and it was just a lot of fun. I should also mention that Rebecca Tope is not an aspiring writer but has three best selling crime series under her belt. Yes, my face is a little red.
But who cares? I'm glad to discover more wonderful weekend reads.
A newly widowed woman, Thea, and her spaniel Hepzibah, have decided to house sit around the Cotswalds. Her first job house sitting brings her to a murder in her very backyard.
And that is the premise. I don't want to give any of the plot away, because the whole point of a mystery is to be mystified until the end.
But I want to tell you what I liked about the story in order to allow all of you to be able to make an informed decision about whether Ms. Tope's writing is your cup of tea or not. I say that because some of the reviewers on Amazon were critical of the very thing that I liked about her story.
We read the story from Thea's perspective in the limited third perspective. This is my favorite method of narration. Either in first person or limited third, I like following along inside the head of one person, getting their perspective, whether reliable or not, because a good writer can present reality through an unreliable narrator.
Thea is a flawed individual. She's depressed. The pain of losing her husband is very raw. She's tired of hurting and she tries to distract herself by hurting herself and by getting out of the environment she spent with her husband. I'll admit that someone hurting herself (not self-mutilation, she keeps a thumbnail sore and bleeding with a pin) was a bit strange to me.
But I decided that this really happens. People who are severely depressed are trying to crawl out of their hole. Other than that little bit, Thea is pretty normal.
Thea's character as well as the other characters are very real and convincing. At first I felt the other characters were all going to be mere shadows. Unpleasant people who make Thea feel like an outsider and they initially come across that way: distant, suspicious, unhelpful.
However, a number of them start to thaw and show a human side to her. Nevertheless, somebody murdered a local farmer and from the evidence they could not have done it alone, so as to be expected, not everyone is going to be friendly and helpful.
But is it as simple as that? Are the unfriendly people guilty of murder or do the friendly people have something to hide as well? There are wheels within wheels.
While starting a bit dark in tone, we see glimmers of light through every character trying to live their lives as best they can while all of them must come to terms with the tragedy that has been thrust upon them.
And, of course for the reader is the question, why was the farmer murdered?
Quibbles? I found it hard to keep track of everyone, but I think a lot of this was due to reading on a Kindle and I don't know how to go back and forth on it so I had to remember the best I could who went with what name. Not very hard, but that is my only complaint.
I look forward to reading more from Ms. Tope.
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