In Cases of Murder (Bunch Courtney Investigation #4) by Jan Edwards #HistoricalFiction #MurderMystery @Jancoledwards #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

51GNNWirx7L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Author: Jan Edwards

Published: November 2022 by Penkhull Press

Category: Historical Fiction, Murder, Mystery

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When the body of Laura Jarman is discovered crammed inside a steamer trunk and dumped on a Brighton railway station platform, her wealthy industrialist family is shouting for answers, but their reluctance to co-operate with the investigation arouses suspicion. Shortly after, a second body – Laura’s flatmate Kitty ­- is discovered in similar circumstances.

What links Laura and Kitty to the private gentlemen’s parties held in a country house on the edge of sleepy Wyncombe village, and what is Laura’s family so desperate to conceal?

In Cases of Murder is the fourth outing for Bunch Courtney. Set during WWII, the Courtney’s home, Perringham Hall has been requisitioned by a secret division of the military which means Bunch is living at the Dower House with her grandmother. Her father is away in London for most of the time in an advisory capacity, and her desperately ill mother is in a nursing home. It’s left to Bunch to run the estate with the help of a group of Land Girls. She also acts as a civilian consultant to the police, having assisted Chief Inspector Wright on more than one occasion, and it seems he needs her help again.

There’s a telephone call, Miss. Chief Inspector Wright.”

Wright? What could he want? “Thank you. Tell the Inspector I’ll call him back.”

“He did say it was urgent, Miss. He called twice while you were out.”

“Did he indeed.” She tried a few passes of the brush across Perry’s ample rump but the moment was gone. It’s not Knapp’s fault, but dammit all the same. “All right, tell him I shall be in directly.” She tossed the brushes through the tack-room door and turned to scrub her knuckles against the sprinkle of white hairs between the Fell Pony’s eyes.

A young woman’s body has been discovered in shocking circumstances. The police have confirmed her name as Laura Jarman and are aware of her address but the family, particularly her father, are proving to be uncooperative. DCI Wright wonders if perhaps someone local with social connections might be helpful in gathering information he’s not able to access. This latest murder has distinct similarities to several previous unsolved cases and then yet another body is discovered, again with similarities, and this young woman was Laura’s flatmate, Kitty. 

Bunch’s life isn’t easy with her father rarely at home and her mother’s condition deteriorating rapidly, not to mention the challenges and dangers of war time Britain. Clues and tidbits of information are garnered slowly in this complex case, adding to an emerging picture of the people involved and the crimes themselves. Leading further afield that was expected, they were taken on a convoluted trail involving munitions factories and London clubs. The link between Laura and Kitty and gentlemen’s private parties remains elusive.

Bunch is a very likeable character. She’s nobody’s fool, her heart is in the right place and she’s not averse to taking risks now and again even if she does get seriously reprimanded by Wright. Bunch still finds him difficult to fathom. She’s drawn to him but has no idea how he feels. The murder mystery is researched and set out well, characters are depicted realistically, and the nearness of war is always present adding to the intensity of life in general. In Cases of Murder is a very enjoyable addition to this series.

I chose to read and review In Cases of Murder for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy kindly supplied the author. 

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Jan Edwards is a UK author with several novels and many short stories in horror, fantasy, mainstream and crime fiction, including Mammoth Book of Folk Horror as well as various volumes of the MX Books of New Sherlock Holmes Stories. Jan is an editor with the award-winning Alchemy Press (includes The Alchemy Press Books of Horror series. Jan was awarded the Arnold Bennett Book Prize for Winter Downs, the first in her ww2 crime series The Bunch Courtney Investigations.

To read more about Jan go to: https://janedwardsblog.wordpress.com/

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