Recent Events

Monday, 29 July 2019

‘The Grasmere Grudge’ by Rebecca Tope

Published by Allison & Busby,
21 March 2019.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-2430-7 (HB)

As a dedicated fan of crime fiction, I resigned myself long ago to running out of beautiful, murder-free places in the UK to spend holidays. The Lake District has been on the no-list for a while – ever since Simmy Brown set up her florist's shop in Windermere, in fact.

In this, the eighth dark deed Simmy and her friends get involved with, the crime is too closer for comfort. Simmy is only just back from a blissful holiday with her new fiancé Chris Henderson when a body turns up – and the victim turns out to be Chris's slightly shady business associate Jonathan Woolley.

Chris and Jonathan are both in the house clearance and auction business, which is full of shady characters; add that to the fact that it was Chris himself who stumbled across the body, and it's no surprise that the police take more than a passing interest in him. It's down to Simmy, and her trusty teenage sidekicks Bonnie and Ben, to get to the bottom of the mystery and prove Chris's innocence. Or possibly not...

Rebecca Tope does what she does best: she gathers a cast of lively characters and a few red herrings (or not, as the case may be), and weaves them all into a nicely tangled plot against the glorious background of the Lakes. Bonnie and Ben are as sparky and perceptive as usual. Angie, Simmy's brusque but well-meaning mother, and Russell, her increasingly vague father, unwittingly set a hare running. Even D I Moxon, an old friend from previous adventures, pops in from time to time, though the murder takes place well outside his patch.

There are new faces too, including distraught new mum Flo and demanding baby Lucy May, and the slightly odd Pruitts; and some unfamiliar locations, such as the tourist trap that is Grasmere, and Chris's busy auction house in Keswick. 

Threaded through the crime-busting are Simmy's mixed feelings about the new phase that lies ahead for her and Chris, and her aching desire for a baby of her own. Ben and Bonnie have their own issues too, as Ben prepares to depart for university. As ever, Tope makes the reader feel that these are real people with lives that extend beyond the mysteries they get involved in; even bit-part players like a charity shop volunteer come to life.

For fans of 'cosy' crime, The Grasmere Grudge is a book to lose themselves in on a rainy afternoon – even though the Lake District seems to enjoy an unusually sunny spell throughout the story!
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

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

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

No comments:

Post a Comment