Death Comes to Bishops Well
When Sam Dee moves to the beautiful Wiltshire village of Bishops Well, he expects a quiet life of country walks and pub lunches. OK, so his new neighbour, Maggie Kaye, is a little peculiar, but she’s very nice – and his old pal Richard Ruta lives just down the road.
But when Richard throws one of his famous parties, things take a sinister turn. Sam, Maggie and the rest of the guests are dumbfounded when Richard falls down dead. A horrible tragedy – or a cunningly planned murder?
With a village full of suspects – and plenty of dark secrets – just who exactly would want to bump off their host? Is there a connection to another mysterious death, nearly twenty years before?
Armed with her local knowledge, Maggie – with Sam’s reluctant but indispensable help – is soon on the case. But when the body count starts to rise, will sleepy Bishops Well ever be the same again?
Anna Legat is a Wiltshire-based author, best known for her DI Gillian Marsh murder mystery series. Murder isn’t the only thing on her mind. She dabbles in a wide variety of genres, ranging from dark humorous comedy, through magic realism to dystopian. A globe-trotter and Jack-of-all-trades, Anna has been an attorney, legal adviser, a silver-service waitress, a school teacher and a librarian. She has lived in far-flung places all over the world where she delighted in people-watching and collecting precious life experiences for her stories. Anna writes, reads, lives and breathes books and can no longer tell the difference between fact and fiction.
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Bishops Well is a quaint market town populated by some eccentric citizens. The author does an excellent job of painting a picture of Bishops Well for us, as well as fleshing out each of the citizens as they are introduced. Several of those citizens are directly involved in our murder investigation, and, of course, we learn a whole lot more about them. Actually, we have two murders to solve – are they related?
Our main characters are Maggie Kaye and Samuel (Sam) Dee who became neighbors a few months ago when Maggie divided her grandparent’s large home in two and sold one half of it to Sam who was moving to Bishops Well from London. Both characters are middle-aged and generally pretty staid. Maggie is a spinster; a busybody; a part-time school teacher; a bit larger and jigglier than she’d like; an avid gardener; and perhaps, an alcoholic given the amount of alcohol she consumes in this story. Sam is a recent widower who is still in deep mourning for his wife. He decided to retire from his law practice and move from London because he needed to be someplace where he wasn’t constantly reminded of his wife, Alice. Oh – by the way – did I mention Maggie sees dead people? Well, she does. They don’t communicate with each other in any way, but she sees them nonetheless. She even sees Sam’s dead wife.
One of the residents of Bishops Well is the famed movie director Richard Ruta and his current (third) wife Penny. Richard and Sam have been friends for a great many years, so it is nice to have a friend within the town. Sam still isn’t really ready for socializing, but Richard insists that Sam attend his sixty-eighth birthday party. Since Richard also insists on him bringing a plus-one, Sam invites his neighbor to attend with him. Little do they know that Richard will be dead before the night is over – and right before their eyes.
Maggie and Sam (particularly Maggie) can’t seem to keep their curiosity under control and are constantly butting in and asking questions. Then, there is a second murder. Someone in their village must be a murderer – or is it someone from the village?
I liked that the characters in this book were older, but, overall, it just wasn’t an exciting read, nor was it fast-paced. There were lots of red herrings and lots of people with motives for wanting to commit the murders, so you could be guessing until the end – but it isn’t likely. You’ll probably figure out who it was very early on, but you won’t know the full why of it until the end when it is revealed. I wasn’t particularly enamored with nor excited about either of the lead characters. I will probably read the next title in the series, At Death’s Door, and see where things go from there.