Death under the Apple Tree by Betty Rowlands / #Review @bookouture @BettyRowlandsFP

A Sukey Reynolds Mystery Book 7

A summer garden party is in full swing at a grand old house, but under a gorgeous apple tree laden with ripe fruit… a body is discovered.

Sukey Reynolds is treasuring the late summer sun, taking long walks in the countryside, and enjoying the golden views across the Cotswold hills. But when she is called to photograph a crumbling manor, the day suddenly turns cold.

In the charming garden, Sukey finds the body of the beautiful estate manager Una May. All fingers are pointed at the tempestuous owner of the house, a rich lord who was overheard arguing with Una that morning…

Is this wealthy man truly the rotten apple in this beautiful orchard?

The party was supposed to celebrate a painting of the residents and staff. When the picture is found slashed, the police close in on the owner, but Sukey is sure they are barking up the wrong tree, and she decides to do a bit of snooping. Which of the smiling faces in the new painting hides a villain: the lustful lord, the aloof artist or perhaps the heartbroken housekeeper?

Despite her sleuthing, Sukey is no closer to catching Una May’s killer, until she finds a pair of shoes covered in mud from the orchard. With the police convinced they’ve caught the right man, Sukey must solve this baffling case alone. But to find the killer holding the poisonous fruit, she may have to delve deep into the garden…




After a pause I am back reading this series. I am always looking forward to a new adventure with Sukey as the main character, her son Fergus and the police team. 

Sukey is a wonderful person. She is a SOCO or CSI as they are named now and she always manages to find out a lot more about the cases than the CID. I suppose it’s due to her warm personality and the fact she is not a police officer that makes people open up to her. Not only that though. She has the ability to put two and two together and come up with four actually. On the other hand she manages often to find herself in the worst possible situations.

Fergus is like his mom. He also has a clear view on facts and often does very clever suggestions.

And then there is Jim. He is DI and Sukey’s for some not so secret boyfriend. He always worries when she sniffs around the cases and warns her not to interfere. But problems often seem to find Sukey in stead of the other way around. I sometimes like him and sometimes I don’t. I don’t like the way he treats Sukey. He blows hot and cold and only when he needs something he seems to know the way to her house. Time for Sukey to put him straight perhaps?

This author writes cosy mystery stories and they are great. This time though the book did not bring me the same reading pleasure they usually do. I don’t know why this is. Maybe it was the subject that did not really do it for me, because the writing and storytelling was still very good. Somehow though it did not suck me in. 

It was still very enjoyable, but I am sorry to say it was my least favorite up till now. 4 stars

Thank you


About the author

Betty Rowlands 1923-2020

Betty Rowlands burst onto the crime scene in her mid sixties by winning the Sunday Express / Veuve Clicquot Crime Short Story of the Year Competition which shows it’s never too late to start writing. Her success continued with her highly acclaimed Melissa Craig mysteries featuring a crime writer who solves mysteries in Gloucestershire. Her second series, The Sukey Reynolds Stories comprise of thirteen books, featuring Sukey Reynolds, a Scenes of Crime Officer who later becomes a detective. She lived in the heart of the Cotswolds, where her Melissa Craig mysteries are set, and then in Bristol which is closer to Sukey Reynolds patch, where she lived until her death on 29 July 2020, just a few months before her 97th birthday. She passed peacefully in the residential home that she called ‘home’. She will be greatly missed by her two surviving children, her four grandchildren, six great grandchildren, other family members, her friends and you, her many readers. The resurgence in interest in her Melissa Craig and Sukey Reynolds books in her last years gave her immense pleasure. She loved to receive emails from her fans knowing that her writing was being so enjoyed. Betty may no longer be with us but Melissa and Sukey are still there solving those mysteries. Keep on reading!



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