Westleham Village 1947
It’s the Westleham village show and with the war finally over, everyone is looking forward to a pleasant day.
Martha hopes she can win her fellow villagers over with her delicious homemade plum gin. But as glasses of the tangy tipple are quaffed, disaster strikes! Chairwoman of the village show, Alice Warren, slumps to the ground - poisoned!
As fingers of suspicion again point Martha’s way, she’s determined to prove her innocence and find the real culprit. And she’s ably helped by the new vicar, Luke Walker.
But who would kill Alice and why? And will Luke and Martha discover who is behind the poisoning before it's too late?
Poison at the Village Show by Catherine Coles is a swell new British cozy mystery. I appreciated that we are provided a list of characters at the beginning of the book along with their roles. I found it to be very helpful. I like the author’s engaging writing style. I found myself drawn into the story. The pacing varied in the story. It is a little slower in the beginning as we meet the characters and visit the village. The pacing increases as Martha with assistance from Vicar Luke Walker investigates the crime. There are some quirky secondary characters that are cliched (they go with the small village where gossip is a sport). I like Ruby, Martha’s sister who is more outgoing than Martha. I also liked Detective Inspector Ben Robertson who seems smitten with Ruby. The mystery is straightforward. I enjoyed following Martha and Luke as they questioned people in the village. The clues are few, but there are enough to solve the crime. I kept hoping there would be a twist that would surprise me. There are two secondary mysteries in the story. One involves the destruction of the village vegetable gardens. People are subtlety accusing Martha of doing the deed so she can win the awards at the village fete. The other mystery is regarding Martha’s missing husband. He went off to work one day to never return. There is speculation in the village that Martha killed him and buried him under her potato patch. People are jealous because Martha has a flourishing vegetable garden in her backyard. There is some repetition in the story especially regarding Martha’s missing husband and the handsome new vicar. Martha and Luke got along from the beginning. I believe they could be good friends if there was not the spark of attraction. They must be careful how much time they spend in each other’s company because of the local gossips. Poison at the Village Show is a cute cozy mystery that I enjoyed reading. It is lighthearted and fun to read. Poison at the Village Show is a spiffing tale with a deceased chairwoman, a vegetable vandal, a dashing detective, a sorrowful spouse, rampant rumors, a charming clergyman, and a partner who has taken a powder.
The Avid Reader
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