Jack Brennan, a retired NYPD homicide Detective, relocated to the Cotswold village of Cherringham after his wife died. They had always planned to retire to the UK and live on a boat, so Jack decided to fulfil the dream and now lives on an old Dutch barge moored at Cherringham, with his dog Riley.
Sarah Edwards, a web designer, returned to Cherringham with her two children when her husband left her for his boss. She now runs her own company. She and Jack are great friends as well as the local unofficial mystery solvers. They had no idea that life in a sleepy English village would present so many challenges.
The Drowned Man
Charlie Clutterbuck lives on a dilapidated boat moored at Iron Wharf, just downriver from Cherringham. He scrapes a living and is notorious locally for drink and drugs. When his body is found in the river, well over the limit, it’s an open and shut case as far as the police are concerned. Death by misadventure. Charlie’s friend Ray isn’t so sure. Not after what he’d witnessed in The Ploughman’s.
Ray is Jack’s neighbour, living on a nearby barge, and has done Jack a favour or two in the past, which makes Jack feel obliged to at least make initial enquiries. Doubts are raised when Jack and Sarah begin asking questions and even more so when they take a look round Charlie’s boat.
The Gentleman Vanishes
Every Sunday an elderly and obviously frail gentleman buys a first class return ticket for a round trip on the Great Cotswold’s steam railway, from Cherringham to Cheltenham. Bernard Mandeville loves trains, and especially enjoys this heritage steam locomotive, reminiscent of a bygone era. A relative always takes him to the station and collects him after the journey.
This particular Sunday Mr Mandeville is seated as usual, in a first class compartment, but when the train returns to Cherringham there’s no sign of him. He never leaves the train during the journey and he was seen in his compartment when the train left Cheltenham. Mr Mandeville’s family ask Jack and Sarah for help.
A medieval themed launch party for local author Edward Townes is arranged at Astley Hall in Cherringham. Townes wasn’t much liked, a womaniser tending to drink too much and make a spectacle of himself. His book sales were on a steady decline.
The night of the party, Cherringham experiences an unprecedented snow storm. After arguing with several people Townes, already unsteady on his feet, left to make his stumbling way home. The following morning a body was found locked in the old stocks, covered in snow.
Murder…or a prank gone wrong. It was up to Jack and Sarah to find the truth before the suspects were able to leave the village.
The Cherringham series is an ongoing collection of fun and easy to read novella length cosy mysteries in a charming Cotswold village setting. The roughly 100 pages leave plenty of room for developing the plot and the ongoing characterisations. I love the unlikely and engaging pairing of Jack and Sarah and the close friendship that’s grown between them. The plots are interesting, not repetitive and the outcomes aren’t obvious. Looking forward to more releases on Audible.