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Published by Allison &
Busby, 19 April 2018. ISBN:978-0-7490-2239-6 (HB)
This is the seventh in this prolific author’s Lake
District series which are published in parallel with her Cotswold series. For
reviews of many of the titles in both series see the Mystery People Reviews
Brown’s flower shop is in the romantic town of Windermere on the shores of the
lake of that name. She and her young assistant Bonnie are beginning to make a
success of it with sizeable orders such as that from the middle-aged Gillian
Townsend who is planning a party in her mother’s house in the village of
Staveley to mark the retirement of her friend Anita Olsen from their joint solicitors’
practice. But Simmie’s personal life is particularly complicated. The
relationship with boyfriend, and friend since schooldays, antique dealer
Christopher, is progressing but time-consuming, and her father is showing signs
of dementia which affect the B & B that he and Simmie’s mother run
together. And out of the blue has come a letter from Simmie’s former
mother-in-law: Simmie’s former husband Tony has been stabbed but the woman
concerned has claimed that Tony had been stalking her and the stabbing had been
in self-defence. Would Simmie be prepared to assist in Tony’s defence by giving
evidence of his good character? But that not what Simmie wants to do: the
reason why the marriage had broken down was the child she had been carrying was
still-born and Tony’s grief had led him to an utter collapse whereas she had
come to term with the tragedy and had forged a new life for herself. Except
that, every year when Mother’s Day with all its faux-sentimentality and
commercialism comes round, the wound opens afresh.And now, as winter relaxes into a chilly
spring, so Mother’s Day approaches.
And then a man’s body
is found near Staveley, probably the victim of a hit-and-run driver. And the
body is that of Declan Kennedy, Anita Olsen’s son-in-law. So, the retirement
party will be postponed. Chief Inspector Moxon thinks that there may be more to
the hit-and-run than a simple road accident. Meanwhile Anita’s daughter Debbie
is convinced her mother is the perpetrator. But Gillian Kennedy is convinced
that the culprit could not possibly be her friend Anita; after all, when it
happened Anita was with her. The last thing Simmie wants is to be drawn into
yet another murder investigation but she is deeply sorry for Gillian who is
suffering from an unpleasant terminal disease. But Bonnie and her boyfriend
Ben, a geeky scientist with ambition to be a forensic archaeologist, do suspect
Anita whose dislike of her son-in-law was notorious. Is Simmie right in
insisting it could not be Anita? Or are Ben and Bonnie, right?
This is, like the
author’s other titles, very much in the cosy tradition. But, like all such
stories, the cosiness is a veneer. As it peels off, so family antipathies are
revealed exposing rancid scars. But which of those scars is rancid enough to
lead to murder?
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.
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
born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven 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 still does
occasional work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and
updating of her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence
published late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly
criminal flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens
Press – a third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories
anthology – and is now concentrating on her own writing.