19 March 2015.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-1790-3 (HB)
Thea Osborne’s latest job as house-sitter and dog-sitter takes her to the pretty Cotswold village of Daglingworth. She expects to be able to relax without the murderous events which have occurred in the previous 12 novels in this author’s Cotswold series. But she is wrong. Out with her own dog Hepzie she encounters three young women, Sophie, Tiffanie and Nella, all environmental activists. Although Thea sympathises with their environmental concerns, she does not approve of their preference for direct action with possible violent outcomes. That, however, is not their only concern. Nella is engaged, but her fiancé Danny, also an activist, is dragging his feet about the wedding. Thea is then given a lift by a local farmer, Jack Handy, who complains angrily about the activities of the environmentalists. Thea also sympathises with his point of view. Then she hears from a local policeman, Detective Chief Inspector Jeremy Higgins whom she knows from earlier encounters, that Danny has been found dead at the bottom of a quarry and that there are suspicions about his death: Higgins wishes to know about her meeting with Handy. All this whets Thea’s curiosity about Danny’s death and she begins to investigate on her own behalf. But she also is preoccupied with her relationship with her new lover, green undertaker Drew Slocombe, and his family problems, not to mention family problems of her own.
Although traditional or ‘cosy’ crime tends not to reap the publicity among British crime novels today, it is undoubtedly popular among those readers who enjoy the quieter brand of mystery particularly when combined an enthusiastic amateur female sleuth, not in her first youth, with an obvious and well-depicted portrait of the beauties of rural landscapes and a great love of animals especially dogs. Very much recommended for those readers who are otherwise so much neglected by British publishers.