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Thursday, 12 November 2015

‘Revenge in the Cotswolds’ by Rebecca Tope

Published by Allison & Busby,
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.
Reviewer: Radmila May

Rebecca Tope is the author of four popular murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker, Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds, and more recently Persimmon (Simmy) Brown, a florist. Rebecca grew up on farms, first in Cheshire then in Devon, and now lives in rural Herefordshire on a smallholding situated close to the beautiful Black Mountains.
Besides "ghost writer" of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme. Rebecca is also the proprietor of a small press - Praxis Books. This was established in 1992
Radmila May was born in the US but has lived in the UK ever since apart from seven years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and has been working for them off and on ever since. For the last few years she has been one of three editors working on a new edition of a practitioners' text book on Criminal Evidence by her late husband, publication of which has been held up for a variety of reasons but hopefully will be published by the end of 2015. She also has an interest in archaeology in which subject she has a Diploma.

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