I’m delighted to share my review today for Poison At The Village Show by Catherine Coles, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources, Boldwood Books and NetGalley.
Set just after the end of WWII, Poison at the Village Show introduces us to Martha Miller, the main protagonist. She is a relative newcomer to Westleham Village. Left on her own after her husband Stan disappeared a year ago, she is still the subject of village gossip, several claiming Martha is in some way to blame. There’s even a rumour Stan is buried under the potato patch. Her sister Ruby lives with her to help make ends meet since she can’t access her husband’s account.
Martha and Ruby, although siblings, are totally different people. Ruby, pretty, outgoing and confident, while Martha is much more reserved due to her upbringing and loveless marriage. Despite wishing for more contact with people she is lacking in social skills. Her constant companion is her dog.
‘I’ve heard the new vicar is rather a dish,’ I told Lizzie, my red setter, then pondered the situation. ‘However, as we are both well aware, any man without hair growing from his ears or nose is regarded as a catch in this village.’
The day of the village show didn’t exactly go as planned. Martha had donated several bottles of her home made plum gin to the committee and as the chairwoman made the toast and took a sip she promptly fell down…and died. Panic ensued and once again the villagers’ fingers pointed at Martha. Thank goodness Luke is on her side and between them they decide to make some discreet enquiries. Martha has had enough of being the scapegoat and is determined to clear her name.
Poison at the Village Show is the first in what promises to be an enjoyable cosy mystery series. The main characters are likeable — it’s good to see Martha come out of her shell as the story progresses, and witness the closeness growing between the sisters. The setting and era are depicted extremely well with Catherine Coles’ descriptions and details of post war living in a small village.
With the war finally over the residents of Westleham village are trying to reclaim a sense of normality and the upcoming village show is proving to be a popular event!
Newcomer, Martha Miller, has high hopes for the village show. Since her husband Stan left for work one day and never returned, some of the villagers have treated Martha with suspicion – why would a good man like Stan simply up and leave? Was it something Martha did?
All Martha knows is that she’s hoping that she can win people over and hopefully they’ll but her delicious homemade plum gin, too and she’ll be able to make ends meet.
But as glasses of Martha’s gin are passed around, disaster strikes. Alice Warren, Chairwoman of the village show slumps to the ground after taking a sip. It’s clear she’s been poisoned!
Martha is shocked, but not surprised, when fingers of suspicion once again point her way. Determined to prove her innocence, Martha sets about trying to find the real culprit. But who would kill Alice and why?
Ably helped by the new vicar, Luke Walker, Martha quickly tries to get to the bottom of this mystery. But with the villagers closing ranks it quickly becomes apparent that the only person with a motive is Martha herself….
Will Luke and Martha discover who is behind the poisoning before it’s too late?
Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3freNRj
The daughter of a military father, Catherine was born in Germany and lived most of the first 14 years of her life abroad. She spent her school years devouring everything her school library had to offer! Catherine writes cosy mysteries that take place in the English countryside. Her extremely popular Tommy & Evelyn Christie mysteries are set in 1920s North Yorkshire. Catherine lives in northeast England with her two spoiled dogs who have no idea they are not human!
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