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Posts Tagged ‘Mitchell and Markby’

That Way Murder Lies: (Mitchell & Markby 15)

Meredith Mitchell’s old friend, Toby Smythe returns from a posting in Beijing and asks for her help in getting to the bottom of some poison pen letters his cousin’s wife has been receiving.  Really he wants her to talk to her fiancé – Superintendent Alan Markby about them.  Meredith is reluctant to get involved but Toby is a friend – even if Alan doesn’t particularly like him.  But Alan is interested and agrees to have lunch with Toby’s cousin and his wife.

Jeremy’s wife, Alison, was tried for the murder of her aunt, Freda Kemp, and acquitted more than twenty years ago and she had thought the whole thing forgotten but it seems the anonymous letter writer is aware of her past and doesn’t want to forget it.  A new member of Markby’s team – Inspect Jessica Campbell – is put in charge of the case when murder once more appears in Alison’s life.

I enjoyed reading this well written story and completely failed to work out who was behind the murders.  I thought the characters were believable and interesting and he book was well plotted.  I liked Jessica Campbell as a character too and would like to see more of her. I can recommend this series and this book to anyone who likes their crimes novels without too much on the page violence and bad language.

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A Restless Evil: (Mitchell & Markby 14) (A Mitchell & Markby Mystery)

An unsolved case from twenty years ago comes back to haunt Superintendent Alan Markby when a hiker finds human bones in Stovey Wood.  The unsolved case was a series of brutal rapes carried out by someone the press referred to as The Potato Man because he enveloped his victims in a potato sack to stop them escaping.

Markby, as a young inspector, felt there was something evil about the village of Lower Stovey and that the villagers knew more than they were willing to say.  Now the discovery of the bones – which may or may not be connected with the old case – has brought everything to the surface again.

Then a murder is committed in the here and now and the village is inundated with police determined to solve this crime if not the older one.  The whole thing throws a spanner in the works of Alan Markby and Meredith Mitchell’s house hunting efforts and crosses Lower Stovey off their list of possible places to live.

I thoroughly enjoyed this atmospheric and absorbing story.  It has interesting characters and plenty of clues for the reader to try to make sense of.  I didn’t work out who the murderer was so it was a shock to me when they were revealed.  I can thoroughly recommend this well written crime series for its interesting plots, believable characters and low key writing with touches of humour.

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Shades of Murder: (Mitchell & Markby 13) (A Mitchell & Markby Mystery)

William Oakley was tried for the murder of his wife, Cora in the nineteenth century and acquitted.  He was forced to flee the country because of the weight of public opinion against him. He was subsequently declared dead by the courts in order to resolve property ownership.  Currently the house where the suspicious death took place is owned and occupied by two elderly spinster sisters, Damaris and Florence.

Out of the blue a young man from Poland turns up claiming to be a descendent of ‘Wicked William’.  When he is murdered by means of the same poison Superintendent Alan Markby must investigate and put aside all personal feelings. I thought the way the two crimes were interwoven was very well done and I found myself just as interested in the original crime as the present day one.

Links between past and present are becoming all too common as a plot device in many fiction genres but this one is rather more subtle than most and both crimes are fully explored instead of one of them carrying much less weight than the other.  I though the characters were well drawn in both past and present strands of the book and there were some very neat twists which the reader may or may not spot.  I didn’t spot several of them.

This is an excellent read and unlike most of this series the book probably could be read as a standalone novel because the developing relationship between Meredith Mitchell and Alan Markby takes something of a back seat in this story.

 

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Beneath these Stones: (Mitchell & Markby 12) (A Mitchell & Markby Mystery)

Tammy Franklin is only twelve years old but so far in her young life she has had to deal with her mother’s untimely death, her father’s precipitate remarriage and her stepmother’s brutal murder.   Her father, Hugh is naturally enough a prime suspect for his second wife’s murder and one of Tammy’s teachers – Jane – a friend of Meredith Mitchell – is concerned for Tammy’s welfare.

The dead woman, Sonia, seems to have been a fish out of water married to a none too well off farmer.  Her best friend, Bethan, has decided that she is going to avenge Sonia because she regrets introducing her to Hugh in the first place.  Meredith and Superintendent Alan Markby find themselves clashing over the conduct of the investigation and Markby himself is finding it difficult to sit at his desk and oversee the investigation.

I enjoyed this well written crime novel and thought the characters were well drawn and interesting.  This book is part of an excellent series of relatively low key crime novels featuring Meredith Mitchell and Alan Markby and they really need to be read in the order in which they were published so that the reader can trace the development of the relationship between the main characters.  If you like your crime novels with interesting plots and characters then I can recommend this series.

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Call the Dead Again: (Mitchell & Markby 11)

Meredith Mitchell takes pity on a hitchhiker just outside Bamford but there is something about the young woman which makes her uneasy.  She drops her at the gates of Tudor Lodge, the home of Brussels based Lawyer, Andrew Penhallow and his TV celebrity wife, Carla.  When Andrew is found murdered in his garden the next morning by his distraught wife, Meredith immediately remembers the hitchhiker.

I worked out who the murderer was quite quickly and what the murder weapon was but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story.  I thought the book was well plotted in spite of this and there are plenty of clues.  I think there are maybe not enough suspects but it was still interesting seeing how the evidence is pieced together by Superintendent Alan Markby and his team.

If you like your crime novels low key with interesting characters and backgrounds then this series might be worth a try.  The novels are best read in the order in which they were written because of the development of the relationship between the main characters.

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A Word After Dying: (Mitchell & Markby 10) (A Mitchell & Markby Village Whodunnit)

I really enjoyed this tenth mystery in the Mitchell and Markby series.  It sees Meredith and Alan on holiday in a Cotswold cottage belonging to Alan’s sister, Laura and her husband in the village of Parsloe St John.  Their neighbour – Wynne Carter, a former  journalist – is hospitable and talkative and the whole village seems welcoming.  But Wynne is convinced that the recent death of recluse, Olivia Smeaton, is suspicious and wants Alan and Meredith to investigate it.

Witchcraft, standing stones, some eccentric characters and some very odd episodes of vandalism precede the discovery of a gruesome murder and the police are called in. Alan, Wynne and Meredith must keep their own investigations low key to avoid getting in the way.

The book is well written and I loved the small village background.  I didn’t work out who the murderer was so it was quite a shock to find out.  I had worked out what the background was to Olivia’ decision to shut herself away in her home and see as few people as possible but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story.

This is a series which really needs to be read in order of publication if the relationship between Meredith and Alan is to make sense.  I am reading the series back to back and I am finding I am still enjoying it – which is always a good test of a series.  If you like your crime novels written in a low key style with plenty of amusing moments and not too much graphic violence then this may be the series for you.

 

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A Touch of Mortality: (Mitchell & Markby 9) (A Mitchell & Markby Cotswold Whodunnit)

Meredith Mitchell’s old friend, Sally Caswell is unable to keep a lunch date because of a domestic emergency and Meredith drives out to Sally’s country cottage in the village of Castle Darcy to see if she can help in any way.  Sally and her husband, Liam have moved to the country so that Liam can have time and peace and quiet to get on with the book he is writing but things aren’t working out too well and Liam’s temper is becoming more and more uncertain.  To cap it all he is being targeted by animal rights activists and a suspect package has been delivered.

Superintendent Alan Markby is not convinced by the apparent threats and feels there may be something else behind them.  Liam it seems has many enemies – not least the next door neighbour – Hector Bodicote – whose straying goats are a bone of contention.  Maybe Bodicote knows more than he is saying too.

This is a well written and frightening mystery with lots of undercurrents and even the reader doesn’t know who to trust as everyone seems to have some sort of secret to hide – not all to do with the investigation.  I enjoyed reading this book and think it is one of the best in this excellent series that I have read so far.

The author piles up detail on detail with plenty of clues and plenty of suspects and lots of undercurrents.  It is interesting to see how Meredith and Alan’s relationship is developing as well. I recommend this series to anyone who likes their crime novels low key and without too much on the page violence and bad language. The series needs to be read in order so that the development of the relationship between the main characters can be followed.

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