When Isabelle Darby moves to the delightfully cosy village of Lower Dimblebrook, she’s searching for peace and quiet as well as a chance to escape from heartbreak. After making friends with Fiona Lambourne, another newcomer to the village, Issie is left reeling when tragedy strikes and Fiona is murdered, the second wife Anthony Lambourne has lost in unfortunate circumstances. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the local gossips insist that Fiona had been embroiled in an affair before her death, something which Issie knows not to be the case. Determined to clear her friend’s reputation and solve the mystery of the rumours, Issie takes on both the gossips and the handsome but stern DI Wainwright, making both friends and enemies along the way!
Julie Butterfield is a new-to-me author who has definitely captured my attention. I enjoyed the mystery even though the identity of the villain was fairly apparent early on. I also enjoyed the hints of a coming romance – which is a requirement for me in mysteries. I love a good mystery, but I definitely need a little romance to go along with it, so I’m looking forward to future books. The plotting was well-done and the book was well-written.
Isabelle Darby moved to the small Cotswold village of Lower Dimblebrook from Bristol just after the break-up of her marriage. She wanted to completely disconnect from the familiar faces and places – all of those reminders in Bristol. In Lower Dimblebrook, she has certainly found that new lifestyle – along with a new career as a book illustrator. She rents Brook House Dairy, a beautiful old stone cottage covered in honeysuckle, owned by a lovely older lady (you’ll love her, Madeleine Halesowen, she is a hoot). Isabelle has only been in the village a short time, but hasn’t tried to ‘fit into’ village life yet. She just isn’t ready, so she keeps herself pretty isolated. She has only made one friend in the village – another newcomer – Fiona Lambourne – who is married to the local large landowner, Anthony Lambourne. Isabelle, ‘Issie’, and Fiona have only known each other a short time, but they’ve become very close friends.
Detective Inspector Dave Wainwright isn’t enjoying working in the Cotswolds. He just doesn’t get village life. Investigations aren’t just straight-forward investigations. No, here you have to follow the rules of the village – and the villagers will tell you what they want you to know. Or, the villagers are in such awe of and respectful of certain locals that they take whatever those individuals say as gospel and then repeat it as fact until everyone believes it actually is fact. DI Wainwright just doesn’t get it – but lucky for him, Detective Constable Jenny Cotterill, is a local and understands the protocols.
DI Wainwright and DC Cotterill are called to Lower Dimblebrook when the body of Fiona Lambourne is found in an abandoned local car park. She had been bludgeoned to death with a large rock. Why was Fiona at that car park? Was she meeting someone? If so, who? Fiona was a lovely, caring young woman who loved her husband and her two step-sons – who would want to harm her?
Issie is in shock when she hears her friend Fiona is dead – frankly, she doesn’t believe it at first and has words with the person she hears telling the tale. When Fiona doesn’t arrive for the planned luncheon with Issie, and Issie can’t reach her on her phone, she comes to the shocking realization it must be true. When rumors spread that Fiona was having an affair, and the police aree buying into that theory, Issie can’t stay out of it. She knows beyond any doubt that Fiona was NOT having an affair – that she loved her husband with all of her heart. Issie vowed to clear Fiona’s name since the police would not.
I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed the push-pull between Issie and DI Wainwright. I also enjoyed the peep into small village life. I loved the secondary characters – Madeleine Halesowen, Doris Stokes – the village gossip, and Miriam Hollier – the Vicar’s wife. What I didn’t care for was some of the TSTL things Issie did and her ‘logic’ that allowed her to get to that point.
I hope you’ll give this author and this book a try and that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
About The Author:
Julie Butterfield belongs to the rather large group of ‘always wanted to write’ authors who finally found the time to sit down and put pen to paper – or rather fingers to keyboard.
She wrote her first book purely for pleasure and was very surprised to discover that so many people enjoyed the story and wanted more, so she decided to carry on writing.
It has to be pointed out that her first novel, ‘Did I Mention I Won The Lottery’ is a complete work of fiction and she did not, in fact, receive millions in her bank account and forget to mention it to her husband – even though he still asks her every day if she has anything to tell him!