A babbling brook runs alongside a wooded glade, surrounded by autumn light and birdsong. But next to the stream a young woman lies dead, her once bright blonde hair now limp and lifeless… 

Melissa Craig has settled into a new job in the charming Cotswolds village of Upper Benbury. She is teaching French to several of the local teenagers, which gives her a fascinating insight into the young people’s lives. Material for a new novel perhaps…

Her quiet life is interrupted when she sees her new neighbour running out of the woods in a blind panic. Melissa rushes to help him, but what she finds leaves her breathless: the body of young woman is lying on the bank of the river.

When suspicion falls on Melissa’s neighbour, a man with a difficult past trying to make a new start, Melissa feels determined to prove his innocence. With the village in turmoil, and the police sure they’ve got their man, she must act quickly.

As she interviews the local residents, she realises there are several sinister characters lurking inside those charming Cotswold cottages… Could one of them have hurt Cissie? Was it the strange old man with a cottage near the river? Or the ailing ex-choirmaster with quite an eye for the ladies?

When Melissa Craig decides to get her teeth into a case, she doesn’t let go – nothing will stop her from solving this murder. Can she prove the innocence of her new friend? And will she unearth the culprit before another young life is taken?

 

 

My review

Again a great story by this author. We see some ‘old’ characters again, but some have left and new ones are being introduced. It’s always a bit sad to have to say goodbye to them and I missed them, but the author filled the void with quite interesting ones.

In this book we get less information about the private life of Melissa. There is more focus on the case itself and she really excels. Maybe because she had more time on her hands due to the changes in her personal life?

Either way it was a truely enjoyable read and I love the connection between Melissa and Bruce. They work well together and have become friends.

The author has a nice writing style and I am looking forward to book 10. I wonder what Melissa will have to untangle next and how her (love) life is going to develop. 5 stars.

Thank you, Betty Rowlands, Bookouture and Netgalley.

 

About the author

Betty Rowlands burst on to the crime scene by winning the Sunday Express / Veuve Clicquot Crime Short Story of the Year Competition. Her success continued with her nine highly acclaimed Melissa Craig mysteries. She is an active member of the Crime Writers’ Association and regularly gives talks and readings and serves on panels in crime writing conventions.