Friday, March 18, 2022

Poison at the Village Show by Catherine Coles

Poison at the Village Show
Book Summary

Westleham Village 1947

It’s the Westleham village show and with the war finally over, everyone is looking forward to a pleasant day.

But newcomer, Martha Miller doesn’t share the excitement. Because since her husband Stan left for work one day and never returned, Martha has been treated as somewhat of an outsider in Westleham. The village gossip is that Martha must be to blame….

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?

My Thoughts

Poison at the Village Show by Catherine Coles takes us back to July of 1947 in Westleham, Berkshire where Martha Miller resides.  Her husband disappeared a year ago and Martha is still subjected to gossip.  Some people believe he is fertilizing her potatoes.  Martha’s sister, Ruby moved in to help her with the bills.  Alice Warren is the chairwoman of the Westleham Village Committee with Martha as the deputy chairwoman.  It is the first village show since the end of the war and everyone (well, most everyone) is looking forward to it.  Martha has provided the plum wine for the event.   Alice proposes a toast and, after drinking the plum wine, she collapses and dies in Martha’s arms.  Martha is the prime suspect since she made the wine.  Martha is determined to prove her innocence and gets assistance from the handsome new vicar, Luke Walker.  Can Martha and Luke uncover who killed Alice?  Will the killer strike again?

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. 

Poison at the Village Show is available from Amazon*.  You can read it for free if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited.  You can find Catherine Coles other novels here.  I appreciate you stopping by today.    Tomorrow I am sharing my thoughts on A New Start for the Wrens by Vicki Beeby.  It is the beginning of The Wrens series.  I hope your day is the cat's meow.  Ta Ta for Now!  Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!


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