Murder at Hawthorn Cottage – Betty Rowlands

Meet Melissa Craig: friendly neighbour, loving mother… daring detective?

Melissa is just settling into her new life in a crumbling cottage in the countryside when a knock at the door brings news of a shocking discovery: the bones of a young woman have been found in the woods just behind her new home.

As an investigation begins, strange phone calls in the night convince Melissa that the police are barking up completely the wrong tree. As a newcomer in this close-knit village, does she dare to start asking questions?

Enlisting a local journalist to help her do a little digging of her own, Melissa’s enquiry takes her from the bingo hall to the beauty salon and beyond, exposing many of the village’s darkest secrets, but getting no closer to finding the culprit.

Just as she’s about to give up, the discovery of a tatty old photograph links all the pieces of the puzzle to a scandal that will shake the sweet little village of Upper Benbury to the core.



My review

In helping others, you might become the target …

It was nice getting to meet Melissa. I really liked her character. She always wants to help everybody and can hardly say no, but sometimes she does put herself first and draws a line.

So If you are looking for heart-stopping suspense, you will be disappointed. You have to keep in mind that it’s not a thriller. If you are looking for an entertaining book with an amateur sleuth doing all the work, you will be pleased. Cozy mysteries are always a bit softer but not less interesting.

I prefer them with a bit more humour and a more playful cover, but that is personal taste.

This does not mean that this one was not captivating and I enjoyed the story. It’s fluently written and there were beautiful metaphors used in descriptions.

I would certaily put it in the same league as Agatha Christie. 3,5 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.