Key Mishaps in Lower Dimblebrook by Julie Butterfield

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Isabelle Darby Cozy Village Mysteries #3
Publication Date: 5/14/21
Period: Contemporary – Cotswolds, United Kingdom
Number of Pages: 217

This author grabbed my attention when I stumbled across her first book in this series, Deadly Whispers in Lower Dimblebrook. The series is fun with its delightful characters who make up the population of Lower Dimblebrook – plus the handsome, smart, dour, and grumpy DCI Wainwright who has to come in and investigate all of the murders that have been happening over the last year.

About a year or so ago, Isabelle Darby (Issie) moved to the quaint village to recover from her broken marriage and begin again. Her intention was to move to the village and just hide out, not meet the residents and certainly not come to like and care for them. A year ago, she was agape that they made their own jams and jellies, did a regular tea service with real brewed tea and all of the accompaniments, and cooked their meals at home. Now, she can’t imagine someone coming to her door and not offering them a full tea service. She hasn’t gotten into the jam and jelly making yet – but she thinks she might get into that this summer. Ah – and she hopes there is a man in her life – DCI Dave Wainwright. He’s been off on temporary assignment in the big city for the last ten weeks, but he’s due back any time now and she hopes what had started before he left will still be there when he returns.

Issie absolutely loves spring in her beautiful village. The flowers are abundant, the smells are delightful, and everyone in the village stops what they are doing to wave and say hello as she walks by. This morning, she is on her way to feed Cleo, Mr. Donald Babbington’s cat. Mr. Babbington left this morning for an overnight trip to visit his aging mother in a nearby city. He is such a sweet and gentle man and was born and raised right there in their small village. Cleo is a very spoiled cat and expects to receive her meal promptly at 12:30 PM or she gets very upset. Issie has timed it just perfectly to arrive at the house, retrieve the key from under the mat, obtain the specially prepared food from the kitchen, and serve Cleo at precisely the right time. That is – until things go wrong – really, really, really wrong.

After returning from his temporary assignment, DCI Wainwright didn’t expect his first sighting of Issie to be at the scene of yet another murder in Lower Dimblebrook. Goodness, he just wanted to spend time with her – but he can’t – he has to treat her as any other witness to a murder. Can he do that?

DCI Wainwright and his assistant DC Cotterill have little to go on. Any slim lead they get seems to wither almost as soon as they find it. Somebody murdered Mr. Babbington and they cannot figure out who or why. Then, what is it with all of the keys that keep disappearing and showing up in strange places? Are they a diversion to keep the detectives distracted? Can Issie stay out of his investigation this time?

This was a delightfully entertaining and fun read. The mystery was great, the characters were interesting and compelling – and yes – there was a bit of romance. I simply must have a bit of romance in my mysteries. The romance was certainly secondary to the mystery, so don’t worry about that if you aren’t a romance fan. Now, I can hardly wait for the next book!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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