Alibi for a Corpse by Elizabeth Lemarchand

Alibi for a Corpse - Elizabeth Lemarchand

The rural community of Twiggadon (2 cottages,a”manor”house,a farm and a car dump) is startled by the discovery of a skeleton in the boot of a car. Scotland Yard is called in and D.I. Pollard and Sergeant Toye are sent to Northamptonshire to assist the local constabulary. The main problem is the identification of the victim (this was written in the sixties so no DNA,no digital database…) and the determination of the cause of death. After some solid detection work,with the help of the local constables, landlords and other inhabitants of the surrounding villages, one after the other suspect is cleared. Finally there is only one left but most of the evidence is circumstantial so they have to find a creative solution to capture their culprit…

Although written in the sixties, it has a Golden Age aura. Probably village life, small police stations and any absence of coarse language or behaviour (barring murder) ensures this atmosphere but that is fine by me!

 

Murder on a Winter Afternoon by Betty Rowlands

Murder on a Winter Afternoon - Betty Rowlands

Melissa Craig,a successful crime novelist, is asked to finish the late Leonora Jewell her final book. Leonora died rather unexpectedly after a nasty fall in her cottage. As Melissa is trying to get as much information as she can in order to accomplish her task successfully, she encounters some discrepancies in different stories ,some things that do not match and all of a sudden poor Leonora’s death is perhaps not so straightforward after all…

This is a blend between a cozy/cosy read and a typical English village murder. But it works,it doesn’t sound too simplistic, the characters are not overly “vaudeville”and people do more than drink tea and have a chat with the vicar.

And then,an English(Cotswolds I think) village in the winter is always a bit of a winner.

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart  Turton

Basically this is Grounhog Day meets Tales of the Unexpected meets classic country house mystery. And it is cleverly done but unfortunately it did not work for me…it is well written and the characters are well developed but it felt so chaotic, so forced. Of course, the fact that none of the characters were endearing is both an asset and a drawback.

No,sorry,it just didn’t work for me…

 

The Monastery Murders by E.M.Powell

The Monastery Murders - E.M. Powell

1176.The sacrist of a Cistercian abbey has been horrible murdered. As the abbot is an old acquaintance of Aelred Barling,a senior clerk at the court of King Henry,it is evident that Westminster dispatches him and his assistant Hugo Stanton to this remote monastery in North-Yorkshire.
It is clear that their presence is not appreciated by the monks but a murderer is at large and a second murder is committed soon after their arrival. To make things worse, the weather takes a turn for the worse and the monastery is completely cut off due to heavy snowfall….and the feeling of security is replaced by a sense of fear.
Of course,an isolated snowed under monastery,is reminiscent of the Name of the Rose and Dissolution but both these book are quite an historical feat (and sometimes a bit of a challenge ) while this is an easy going read,with well developed characters and with a good insight in monastery life in the 12th century. And it is a good mystery !