7Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: Exham on Sea Mysteries #1
Publication Date: 9/23/15
Period: Contemporary Somerset, UK
Number of Pages: 186
I have been reading more and more cozy and historical mysteries of late, so I am always on the lookout for a new series to love. I believe I have found both an excellent author and series. I am really not a fan of those female sleuths who are just Nosey-Nellies. The ones that are in-you-face and expect anybody and everybody to answer their much too personal questions, while thumbing their noses at the inept police at the same time. I was so very happy to see this book didn’t follow that format. The writing is excellent, the mystery is well-plotted and excellently paced, and the characters are well-developed and very likable. I will definitely be reading more books in this series.
After the death of her misanthropic husband (who she does not mourn), Libby Forest decides to leave London and move to the small Somerset village of Exham On Sea. In Exham she can have a job, write her cookbook, open a patisserie, and all of those many other things she wasn’t allowed to do while her husband, Trevor was alive. She’s loving her small cottage, her wonderfully re-done cook’s kitchen, and the new friends she has made in the village. All is right with her world – until she takes her neighbor’s dog for a walk on the beach and discovers a body …
The victim is a former villager who had prospered in America. Nobody had seen her in over twenty years – why was she back now? Why did no one know she was here? When Detective Sergeant Joe Ramshore immediately decides it was an accident, Libby just can’t believe it. Something just isn’t right about all of it. The murder is the talk of the village and as Libby learns more about the woman who died, she wants to know even more. As she learns more, she’s convinced it was murder and begins to investigate even more. Then, there is a second death and again, Ramshore decides it was an accident. Given the circumstances, Libby is sure it wasn’t.
During the investigation, we meet a lovely cast of characters. There is the handsome, mysterious Max Ramshore – estranged father of Detective Sergeant Ramshore. There is Fuzzy, the irascible marmalade cat who delights in NOT showing Libby any affection. Bear is a huge, lovable, usually good-natured Carpathian Sheepdog you’ll want to adopt. Of course, there is Frank the baker (and Libby’s boss), and Mandy the teenage Goth waitress at the bakery, and many others in the town. They are a delightful bunch and you’ll enjoy meeting them all.
It was fun watching Libby unraveling the clues and solving a murder that had roots twenty years in the past. You can even feel a bit of sympathy for the perpetrator – at least for the first murder – and we are left to just assume that the same person committed both murders. I will definitely be reading other books in this series.