Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Mystery on Hidden Lane (Eve Mallow Mystery #1), by Clare Chase (author), Eilidh Beaton (narrator)

Audible Audio, January 2020

Eve Mallow is in the little village of Saxton St. Peter, on her latest assignment, to write a feature obituary of the famed cellist, Bernard Fitzpatrick. Her wirehaired dachshund, Gus, is with her, and she has rented a picturesque cottage with a picturesque history for her stay. The villagers are friendly, and the subject is interesting.

The subject gets more interesting when it's revealed that Bernard Ftizpatrick didn't die due to a fall. He was killed with a blow to the back of his head with a blunt instrument.

Eve isn't willing to leave the investigation to the police, especially after meeting the detective in charge. She also quickly realizes that Fitzpatrick's genial reputation isn't supported by the people who actually knew him well.

His secretary, Adam Cox, clearly resented his bullying management style, and the was he blocked Cox's efforts to move on to another position--and now that Fitzpatrick is dead and his estate passing to a local art trust, Cox will be director of it. His former publicity manager, Fiona Goddard, quit a while ago, and has been strangely unable to land a new position, despite a seemingly impressive resumé. Her husband, Andrew, has his own reasons to loathe the cellist. A promising younger cellist, Colin Wentworth, who hasn't made much progress professionally yet, is revealed by Fitzpatrick's will to be his illegitimate son--and inherits only a cello Fitzpatrick used early in his career, before he could afford a finer instrument. Several members of the board of the arts trust have their own grudges against him.

Who else might have hated Bernard Fitzpatrick? Can Eve trust her new friends? 

When another murder happens, new questions arise, and Gus starts warning her of strange activities in the little lane outside the cottage, Eve starts to get really worried, and has to trust an odd collection of new friends--Viv, the local baker, her brother Simon, who runs the local stable and has a reputation of being a ladies' man, and the oddly uncommunicative, and oddly always around at unlikely times, gardener, Robin Yardley, who seems to have no past at all prior to his arrival in the village just a few years ago. Who is he really?

There's some really likeable, enjoyable characters here. Eve, despite dismissing the police, is actually fairly careful and doesn't willfully rush into dangerous situations. This is clearly going to be another British village with an improbable murder rate, but it is a very enjoyable community.

A very enjoyable, light read or listen.

I bought this audiobook.

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