Authors: Matthew Costello & Neil Richards
Performed by Neil Dudgeon
Category: Cosy Mystery, Crime, Book Review
Released: May 2018 by Lübbe Audio
Jack Brennan, a retired New York homicide detective, decided to fulfil the dream life he and his wife were planning before her death…living on a boat in the English countryside. Sarah Edwards is a web designer who moved back to the village with her two children after she and her husband divorced. Neither of them could have guessed what life had in store. It certainly isn’t dull.
I finished binge listening to the last available compilation of Cherringham mysteries towards the end of last year, and was so glad to find this next one on Audible. Jack and Sarah feel like old friends who I enjoy spending time with. Ghost Of A Chance is the first of three short stories included in the book. The Bell Hotel, supposedly haunted, hosts a Ghost Hunters Dinner for Halloween each year, which includes apparitions, creepy stories and appropriately mysterious noises.
A fire was already lit in the grand fireplace, and candles had been set in every alcove around the walls. Above the fireplace an imposing gilt mirror, big enough for a ballroom. Basil took in the long table in the centre of the room, with its places already set, serried ranks of heavy Victorian cutlery, a line of candelabra and bowls of lilies.
A massive crystal chandelier hung above the table: even now its drops sparkled in the electric light. Basil could see it had been filled with candles to be lit before dinner commenced: as usual, it would provide the perfect historical touch!
As you have probably guessed, things don’t go according to plan and when a potentially fatal event occurs Jack and Sarah are asked to investigate. Is it all smoke and mirrors? And how does an unsolved Victorian murder fit into the chain of events?
In Follow The Money, new Cherringham residents, Claire and Terry Goodman, are the victims of a strange robbery. Random objects were taken leaving obvious items behind. It seems the thief was looking for something in particular.
Murder Most Wild finds the residents up in arms regarding the proposed development of a huge supermarket complex on the edge of the village. One of the more vocal opposers to the scheme, whose land the developers need, is found dead the morning after the town council meeting. Is his refusal to sell the reason…or something completely different?
A typically charming Cotswolds village on the banks of the River Thames is a perfect setting for these fun, easy to listen to shorts which, despite the number of pages (about 100), are well plotted, perfect cozy mysteries that, more often than not, are quite unpredictable. And considering the number already published, they’re very varied as well. The unlikely pairing of an ex NYC homicide detective and a single mother of two is different and works very well. Throughout the series Jack’s back story is drip fed through his memories which helps to flesh him out, and we also catch glimpses of Sarah’s past in London. And after being friends all this time is there a tiny hint of something more for Jack and Sarah? Whether there is or not, their relationship is natural and realistic. The regularly recurring villagers have depth and are a mixed bag of quirky personalities, just as it should be.
Well written with still developing and engaging characters, coupled with Neil Dudgeon’s wonderful narration, make these stories a joy to listen to.