‘A Harvest Murder’ by Frances Evesham
You can read a previous review of a Frances Evesham novel here: https://pajnewman.com/2021/11/14/murder-and-mayhem-ideal-for-the-time-of-year/
One unexplained disappearance is strange, but two are sinister.
In Lower Hembrow, an idyllic village nestled beneath Ham Hill in Somerset, the villagers are preparing to enjoy the autumn traditions of the rural English countryside until Joe Trevillion, a curmudgeonly local farmer and the father of six children, vanishes.
When Adam Hennessy, the ex-detective proprietor of The Plough, the village’s popular Inn, investigates, he finds ominous undercurrents beneath apparently harmless rumour and gossip.
Meanwhile, a vicious campaign of vindictiveness forces Adam and his three amateur sleuth friends to dig deep into the secret lives of their neighbours to expose the source of a cruel vendetta and prevent another death.
As they uncover the disturbing truth, the friends learn they must also lay their own past lives to rest before they can hope to make their dreams for the future come true.
One of the first jobs I ever had was a freelance gig writing pieces profiling towns for Sussex Life magazine. The money was fine – scarily this is at least 20 years ago and I doubt I could earn as much freelancing now as I did then – but what was really interesting was the opportunity to go nosing about the villages of the Home Counties and trying to pry under their skin a bit.
I’m not exactly sure what it is in crime fiction which attracts us to these small, rural villages but from Agatha Christie through GK Chesterton via Margery Allingham and right up to some of the writers working today – Fiona Leitch, Isabella Muir, Anna Legat and Simon Whaley – readers can’t get enough of peering behind the net curtain and white washed walls of the small English village.
Frances Evesham here provides another accomplished entry into the genre. Lower Hembrow is everything this sort of village should: picturesque, nicely appointed church, local pub.
And, obviously, dark undercurrent with disappearances and dark secrets from the past threatening to raise their ugly heads.
I know Raymond Chandler wanted to take murder out of the drawing rooms and put it back in the streets, but in the same way that Chandler was a Dulwich College educated public schoolboy, I like my murders cozy and my villages adorning the pages of Somerset Life.
Heartily recommended for fans of Midsomer Murders, Miss Marple and Poirot, A Harvest Murder arrives at the best time of year and should allow you a pleasant read as the workers gather the crops around you.
Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3tNDDDd
Author Bio –
Frances Evesham is the bestselling author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea murder mysteries set in her home county of Somerset, and the Ham-Hill cosy crime series set in South Somerset.
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