Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Mystery at Farfield Castle, the tenth in Clare Chase’s Eve Mallow series!
Title: Mystery at Farfield Castle
Series: Eve Mallow #10
Author: Clare Chase
Publication Date: May 5, 2023
Beautiful Farfield Castle is opening its grounds for a party, and everyone in Saxford’s invited. But as the champagne flows, the owner takes a fatal fall. Fortunately, amateur sleuth Eve Mallow is on the case!
When novelist Julian Fisher buys Farfield Castle to turn the charming old building into a writers’ retreat, he wants the neighbours onside. But he has his work cut out: Saxford St Peter locals tried to buy the castle for the village, and are furious that only the very rich will be able to enjoy it.
At the lavish launch party, Fisher treats the villagers like royalty, but Eve Mallow is distracted by the tension in the air. She watches as Fisher’s wife Kitty argues with several guests, almost in tears, before she disappears altogether…
Later that evening, when Kitty is found dead in the castle’s icehouse, it’s quickly proved to be no accident. With dozy Detective Palmer on the wrong track, Eve can’t resist getting involved. Convinced the answers lie inside Farfield Castle, Eve questions an overly inquisitive journalist, Kitty’s less-than-loyal husband, and his prickly PA.
But when it emerges that a family heirloom and Julian’s computer both went missing on the night of the party, Eve is sure that solving the theft will solve the murder. Who is behind this deadly tale… and can Eve find the killer before she gets written off?
A completely charming English cozy mystery, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Faith Martin and J.R. Ellis.
Everyone in Saxford may be invited to the party, but not everyone in Saxford will be welcomed there. When Kitty Marchant’s grandparents owned Farfield Castle, they had an open-door policy. Always willing to lend a helping hand, they were beloved, and people were shocked when they lost the castle and their son Benet refused to help them save their home.
The castle changed hands, and has now changed hands again due to Freya Hardwicke’s misfortune. Nate Marchant has bought the former family home, along with novelist and brother-in-law Julian Fisher, and they plan to make it into a writing retreat. So the village may be looking forward to the fete, but several people are unhappy that Farfield Castle won’t be available to the public. Local teacher Ella Tyndall would have allowed for that, but her bid for the castle was turned down.
Eve is on the premises to do a write-up on the writers’ retreat. As tends to happen, she finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation when Kitty is found dead in the icehouse. The officer in charge of the case can’t be trusted to handle it properly, as he’s more concerned with this new venture succeeding than actually finding the killer. So Eve, now tasked with writing Kitty’s obituary, keeps her eyes and ears open and does a little digging of her own.
Clare Chase gives us a wealth of suspects to chase down along with Eve. Seems like everyone has a secret. Why did Bonnie, Julian’s assistant, lie about the necklace Eve saw her wearing – a necklace that clearly upset Kitty? Is Luke, the other reporter on the scene, stalking Kitty? And what is Julian’s story? Everything he does seems shifty, somehow – hardly the actions of a loving husband.
Chase isn’t in a hurry to show us whodunnit here. She lets the tension build and takes us down some interesting rabbit trails and gives us bits and pieces of people’s backstories. The killer’s motivation turns out to have some pretty deep roots, indeed.
I also like that we see more of the relationship between Robin and Eve here. Robin isn’t directly involved in the story too much. He’s off in London, testifying against the people who had him in the witness protection program. But Eve stays in touch with him, and they’re in a good spot by the time the story ends.
This is such a delightful series! Eve is a genuinely likeable character, and she knows she walks a fine line. She can ask for a lot of information in her role as an obituary writer, but if she pushes too much, she risks the killer realizing she may know more than she should. And am fascinated with the idea of being an obituary writer. In my (admittedly limited) experience, the obituary is something written by the family. Maybe that’s because none of us have been well-known or famous!
Five stars for another enjoyable story that kept me guessing!
About the author:
Clare Chase writes classic mysteries. Her aim is to take readers away from it all via some armchair sleuthing in atmospheric locations.
Her debut novel was shortlisted for Novelicious’s Undiscovered Award, as well as an EPIC award post-publication, and was chosen as a Debut of the Month by LoveReading. Murder on the Marshes (Tara Thorpe 1) was shortlisted for an International Thriller Writers award.
Like her heroines, Clare is fascinated by people and what makes them tick. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in settings as diverse as Littlehey Prison and the University of Cambridge, in her home city. She’s lived everywhere from the house of a lord to a slug-infested flat and finds the mid-terrace she currently occupies a good happy medium.
As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books.You can find Clare’s website and blog at www.clarechase.com