One severed head, two warring neighbours – and a cold-blooded killer stalks Much Winchmoor. There’s the murder made to look like a tragic accident, and a missing husband. Could he be victim number two?
The tiny Somerset village is fast gaining a reputation as the murder capital of the West Country, and once again, reporter/barmaid/dog walker Kat Latcham finds herself reluctantly dragged into the investigation.
Things are looking bad for Ed Fuller, the husband of one of Kat’s oldest friends. Kat’s convinced he’s innocent – but she’s been wrong before.
Has Kat come across her biggest challenge yet?
Fans of Janet Evanovich could well enjoy this “funky, modern day nosey detective” transported to the English countryside. The third Much Winchmoor mystery is, as always, spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.
Tessa Talks Books rating: Mention
Favorite character: Kat Latcham. Not Katie.
Kat is independent and determined to make her way. Barmaid, dog walker, and part-time journalist – she does whatever it takes. She is close to her family and her boyfriend, Will, even though she doesn’t acknowledge the strength of these relationships. Her hair color denotes her mood, and luckily, her mom is a beautician in case she messes something up.
What I Like
It’s a light little romp of a mystery, beginning with the beheading of a bush and ending with a four-legged takedown. The craziness in between is delightful and fun – a perfect escape from the more stressful crazy of the real world.
The characters are a well-developed mix of dastardly and charming, depending on their role. There’s the bar owners, Gino and Norina. Gino is a friendly man who loves to belt out Elvis toons, and his wife Norina runs the bar with an iron fist and a sour disposition. Their marriage is a clear case of opposites attract. Kat’s boyfriend, Will, and her parents are her support system and fit their role with sincerity and heart. Liam O’Connor and ‘Mitch’ Muckleford are everything wrong in journalism today. They are more worried about sales of integrity and honesty. Even from this small sampling, it is easy to see what an eclectic cast of characters populates this novel.
The setting, Much Winchmoor, is a small village that has a usually high murder rate. It would be a perfect cozy mystery setting, but I don’t think I would classify this as a cozy mystery. Kat is a journalist and looks into events partly as part of her job. The rest tends to drop in her lap. She is just trying to live her life, not solve mysteries.
What I Wish
I wish that there had been an over the top character or two. This series has been compared to Janet Evanovich’s series, but what I love about her stories are the over the top characters who provide most of the humor by just being themselves. Also, Evanovich utilizes stereotypes to create laugh out loud scenes. I’m not sure if I saw any of that either, though I may not catch English stereotypes.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are looking for a fun, light read, then this is a series that will fit that bill. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy some laughs.
I was provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Paula Williams is living her dream. She’s written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her various plays and pageants. But it’s only in recent years, when she turned her attention to writing short stories and serials for women’s magazines that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it and she has sold over 400 short stories and serials both in the UK and overseas.
Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, UK, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke. She still writes for magazines but now writes novels as well. She is currently writing the Much Winchmoor series of murder mysteries, set in a village not unlike the one she lives in – although as far as she knows, none of her friends and neighbours have murderous tendencies.
A member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Crime Writers’ Association, her novels often feature a murder or two, and are always spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.
She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers’ magazine, Writers’ Forum. And she blogs about her books, other people’s books and, quite often, Dalmatians at paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com.
She gives talks on writing at writing festivals and to organised groups and has appeared several times of local radio. In fact, she’ll talk about writing to anyone who’ll stand still long enough to listen.
But, as with all dreams, she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading ‘the play what she wrote’.