"Moving to a Cotswold cottage may spark a murder hunt"
Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted February 11, 2019
Mystery Cozy | Mystery Amateur Sleuth
Melissa Craig who pens crime fiction under the name Mel
Craig, moves to a cottage which she plans to renovate near
Upper Benbury, a Cotswold village. The rural atmosphere is
just what she needs after getting too close to a married
man in London who keeps trying to win her around. The
widowed Melissa never expects to get personally involved in
MURDER AT HAWTHORN COTTAGE.
Fans of English village murder mysteries may be thinking
this book sounds familiar; it was previously published as A
Little Gentle Sleuthing. The re-release comes at a time
when twelve books are in the series, so if, like me, you
prefer to enjoy a cosy mystery series from the start, this
The first several chapters set up the location, Melissa's
efforts at renovation, her sharp eye for detail and her
interested neighbours like Miss Iris Ash next door and the
Rector, Mr Calloway. A strange phone call from a man
looking for someone called Babs starts Melissa asking
locals about the name, and before long she's half convinced
Babs is a missing person, following a tale of a recent
tragedy. But Iris has the bad luck to be the one to dig up
a decomposing body. Now the crime writer has a real crime
to investigate, pretty much in her own newly acquired back
The storytelling style is straightforward and the
characters not complex, but lots of little twists combine
to make this absorbing reading. Melissa can raise a chuckle
for the reader, as she appears to be investigating crimes
but some of the time she is actually plotting out her own
fictions and mentally using the locations she visits in her
books. As the proverbial newcomer to town she pokes around
and disturbs matters that others would rather were left
Betty Rowlands, a British writer, is a member of the Crime
Writers' Association and has written several other books
besides the 'Melissa Craig' series. MURDER AT HAWTHORN
COTTAGE is followed by the again re-titled Murder In The
Morning. Enjoy for the depth of location and the ongoing
adventures of our detective heroine.
Meet Melissa: cat lover, caring mother… daring detective?
Melissa Craig is absolutely delighted with her new life in
an old crumbling cottage, spending her days pruning the
primroses and getting to know Binkie, the ginger cat next
door. She only wishes she had made the move to the
But when a knock at the door brings news of a shocking
discovery, she suddenly finds herself thrown in to the
middle of a baffling mystery: the bones of a young woman
have been found in the woods just behind her new home.
Perhaps the little village of Upper Benbury is not as
idyllic as it first seemed?
Strange phone calls in the night convince Melissa that the
police are barking up completely the wrong tree, so she
can’t resist doing a little digging of her own. From the
bingo hall to the beauty salon and beyond, her search
ruffles a few feathers and uncovers many of the village’s
most scandalous secrets, but gets her no closer to finding
The discovery of a tatty old photograph in a drawer is the
final piece of the puzzle she needs, but as a newcomer in
this close-knit community, does Melissa have what it takes
to get to the bottom of this extraordinary murder mystery
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