Just a quick recap ~ Jack Brennan, a retired NYPD homicide Detective, relocated to the Cotswold village of Cherringham after his wife died and now lives on an old Dutch barge moored at Cherringham, with his dog Riley. Sarah Edwards, a web designer, returned to Cherringham from London with her two children when her husband left her for his boss. She now runs her own company.
Dead in the Water: A Cherringham Mystery (The Cherringham Novels Book 1)
Maddie Brookes and a group of her fellow teachers from Cherringham High are in the local pub after the school prom. Maddie is worried about Josh Owen, a popular teacher who is hoping to apply for the position of deputy head. As the evening wears on Josh seems confused and out of it. Deciding to check all was well on her way home, Maddie searches unsuccessfully for Josh, and then she discovers a body. The death is classed as an accident as the post mortem reveals a large quantity of drugs in the victim’s system.
Since Jack had left for LA quite suddenly a year ago, Sarah believed their part time sleuthing ventures were over. But it seems Cherringham High may have a drug problem. The school her children attend. Tony Standish, a solicitor and Sarah’s long standing friend, together with the recently appointed head, ask for her help.
Sarah is unsure about a lone investigation but she can’t stand by and not do anything when drugs are involved and, looking more than likely, at her children’s school. Fortunately, Jack makes a surprise return to tie up some loose ends and agrees to help Sarah for as long as he’s around.
Josh’s tragic death is beginning to look more like murder than an accident, and Jack and Sarah fall back into their investigative roles.
Dead In The Water is the first of two full length novels. Being a charming Cotswold village doesn’t prevent darkness creeping into Cherringham, as Sarah and Jack find out. As any fan of Midsomer Murders knows only too well, there’s no end to the nefarious deeds that occur in sleepy little villages.
Although these books are classed as The Cherringham Novels Books 1 and 2, they do fit in with the sequence of the novellas.
The Body in the Woods: A Cherringham Mystery (The Cherringham Novels Book 2)
Jack Brennan’s friend and fellow barge owner, Ray Stroud, is helping with an archaeological dig in a local farmer’s field. Cash in hand for a few weeks work suits Ray perfectly, but it doesn’t work out quite as he expected when a skeleton is uncovered in a test trench. Definitely not from the Roman period, just a couple of decades old, no identification and the signs point to murder. The cold case seems to be going nowhere until Tim Simpson, the carnival committee’s insurance agent goes missing, Jack and Sarah wonder if Tim’s disappearance has anything to do with the puzzling case of the unearthed skeleton.
Meanwhile, the Cherringham villagers are gearing up for Carnival week and Jack has been invited to be on the organising team since he put forward the idea of an American themed carnival.
Being written collaboratively by UK and US based writers works so well, making both Jack and Sarah very believable. Ex NYPD detective Jack fits perfectly into his now established role as unofficial investigator and Sarah has taken a criminology course while running her web design business with the help of her assistant, Grace.
Character development and relationships continue to evolve as time moves on. Sarah’s two children are following their own paths—Chloe on her European trip with friends then off to university, and Daniel not far behind her.
As always, the storylines are well thought through and very entertaining, easy to follow with enough twists to keep them moving at a pace and engaging protagonists—Neil Dudgeon brings the characters to life perfectly.
About the Authors
Neil Richards has worked as a producer and writer in TV and film, creating scripts for BBC, Disney, and Channel 4, and earning numerous Bafta nominations along the way.
He’s also written script and story for over 20 video games including The Da Vinci Code and Starship Titanic, co-written with Douglas Adams, and consults around the world on digital storytelling.
His writing partnership with NYC-based Matt Costello goes back to the late 90’s and the two have written many hours of TV together. Cherringham the series is their first crime fiction as co-writers.
An American and an Englishman writing crime stories with an American and an English hero – what took us so long?
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