Book: Murder at St. Saviour’s
Author: Merryn Allingham
Pub Day: November 21, 2022
Buy Link: Amazon: https://geni.us/B0B5YPLCJBsocial
Bookshop owner and amateur detective Flora Steele teams up with handsome crime writer Jack Carrington to unravel a curious murder in the village of Abbeymead!
Sussex, 1956: When Flora and her partner-in-crime-solving, Jack, arrive at the charming church of St Saviour’s the last thing they’re expecting to find is the curate, Lyle Beaumont, lifeless on the flagstone floor beneath the belltower, with a mysterious note in his hand.
Flora is dismayed to find the poor curate dead. But she can’t help being intrigued by the eclectic mix of bell ringers present at the old church – Mr Preece, the local butcher, Dilys Fuller, the busybody postmistress, and Stephen Henshall, a newcomer to the close-knit community. Any one of them could be the culprit – and Flora needs to act fast before someone gets away with murder…
When Flora and Jack begin their sleuthing, they quickly realise all is not what it seems with the victim, and the certainty of the dead man’s identity becomes the first twist in the investigation.
Just as they’re getting closer to the answer, the death of one of the suspects changes everything. As a series of unexplained accidents unfolds across the village, it seems no-one who was present at the church on the night of the curate’s demise is safe.
Has the bell tolled on Flora and Jack’s detective days? And will they work out the truth in time to save themselves?
A completely addictive cozy crime novel set in the fictional Sussex village of Abbeymead. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Faith Martin and Joy Ellis!
The story opens with new curate Lyle Beaumont falling to his death from the bell tower at St. Saviour’s. The bell ringers were on their way there for rehearsal. Another man, Stephen Henshall, a stranger to Abbeymead, was also on the scene. At first, this appears to be a tragic accident. But it soon turns out that the curate is not who he purported to be, and in fact, was not a curate at all. A note clenched in his hand suggests that perhaps his death was not accidental after all. What secrets did “Lyle Beaumont” hide that someone is now willing to kill to keep secret?
I simply love visiting Abbeymead! Merryn Allingham gives us a charming village filled with interesting characters, and a good mystery to boot.
Flora and Jack are in the thick of the investigation, and I love seeing them working together to solve the mystery. Their relationship is progressing, and while they may not be ready to commit for a lifetime, neither of them seems to be fighting their feelings any longer. That makes me happy, because I think they’re just adorable together. I also liked seeing more of Investigator Ridley on the case, and I liked that he brought our amateur sleuths into the loop as much as he could.
There was no shortage of potential suspects. Turns out quite a few folks had reason not to like Mr. Beaumont-that-wasn’t, and they were open about the fact that his death didn’t grieve them too deeply. But which of them had the dead man offended enough that they were willing to kill over it? And kill more than once, as the primary suspect was found murdered, and Flora and Jack found themselves in harm’s way due to their digging.
The nasty winter weather was almost a character in itself. Roads were treacherous, the chill was brutal, and it made me want to wrap myself up in a warm blanket while reading, even though the weather is much nicer here!
Merryn Allingham has another winner here. Her historical detail is impeccable, her characters are likeable, hateable, or somewhere in between, and Abbeymead is a delight. Highly recommended for reading while curled up with a blanket, a cat, and a hot cup of cocoa.
Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an advance review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.
About the author:
Merryn taught university literature for many years, and it took a while to pluck up the courage to begin writing herself. Bringing the past to life is a passion and her historical fiction includes Regency romances, wartime sagas and timeslip novels, all of which have a mystery at their heart. As the books have grown darker, it was only a matter of time before she plunged into crime with a cosy crime series set in rural Sussex against the fascinating backdrop of the 1950s.
Merryn lives in a beautiful old town in Sussex with her husband and one last cat, Bluebell. When she’s not writing, she tries to keep fit with adult ballet classes and plenty of walking.