Tuesday, 10 March 2015

A lesson in murder

Nothing ever happens in the small Cotswold village of Cherringham, making it the perfect place to retire to – or so ex-NYPD Detective Jack Brennan thought. But before long, local web designer and single mother Sarah Edwards had convinced him to help her investigate a suspicious suicide. Since then, he and Sarah have solved mysterious deaths, unlikely accidents and perplexing robberies. “Peace and quiet” never really suited Jack anyway…

Cherringham is an ongoing “cosy crime” eBook series, that launched in December 2013 and features unlikely sleuthing duo Sarah and Jack. Released in monthly episode, it is written by award-winning game and TV writers UK-based Neil Richards and US-based Matthew Costello in a transatlantic collaboration – which mirrors that of Jack and Sarah. The new series, released from March, launches with A Lesson in Murder, in which the two are asked to investigate the violent death of a popular teacher at Cherringham Girls School.



© Wayne Matthews-Stroud

Co-authors Neil Richards and Matthew Costello are known for their script work on major computer games. The Cherringham crime series is their first fictional transatlantic collaboration. Matthew has written and designed dozens of bestselling games including the critically acclaimed The 7th Guest, Doom 3, Rage and Pirates of the Caribbean. He is also the author of a number of successful novels, including Vacation (2011) and Beneath Still Waters (1989), which was made into a movie. Neil has worked as a producer and writer in TV and film, creating scripts for BBC, Disney, and Channel 4, and earning numerous Bafta nominations along the way. He’s also written script and story for over 20 video games including The Da Vinci Code and Starship Titanic, co-written with Douglas Adams, and consults around the world on digital storytelling.


1st Prize – Winner written into a Cherringham episode plus an ecopy of the book
2nd Prize – ecopy of the book

My review

I must confess that when I agreed to review this book, I didn’t realize it was a short read (it can be read in under an hour) nor that there were at least twenty others in the series. Needless to say I was enjoying the book so much that when it came to the end I was taken by surprise as I was just getting into it. This book then is slightly different from other cosy mysteries but would be great for those who are short of time or just want a quick read. I loved the atmosphere and the characters so will definitely be back for more! It’s well written and well structured and has all you could want from a good mystery. I look forward to meeting Jack and Sarah again soon.



A spell in Provence


With few roots in England and having just lost her job, Amy Carter decides to give up on home and start a new life in France, spending her redundancy package turning an overgrown Provençal farmhouse, Bellefontaine, into a successful hotel.

Though she has big plans for her new home, none of them involves falling in love – least of all with Fabien Coste, the handsome but arrogant owner of a nearby château.  As romance blossoms, eerie and strange happenings in Bellefontaine hint at a dark mystery of the Provençal countryside which dates back many centuries and holds an entanglement between the ladies of Bellefontaine and the ducs de Coste at its centre. As Amy works to unravel the mystery, she begins to wonder if it may not just be her heart at risk, but her life too.  

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About the author

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie studied History and Law at university there before moving to Lancashire in England where she worked in a variety of jobs, from PA in a busy university department to teacher of French in schools and colleges. Writing, however, was always her passion, and she spends what little free time she has dreaming and making up stories. Her historical romances ANGEL HEART and THE LION'S EMBRACE are published by MuseItUp Publishing. A SPELL IN PROVENCE is her first contemporary romance. It is published by Áccent Press. 

My Review

I’m pretty sure Marie Laval must have had me in mind as her target reader when she wrote this book. It has everything I love about a good story, firstly it’s set in Provence so what’s not to love? You can almost smell the lavender as you turn the pages. Then there’s a handsome French hero by the name of Fabien and I can totally understand how he makes Amy feel when he calls her Aimee in his sexy French accent. Apart from that there is a centuries old mystery, strange things happening and mysterious stories of rape and murder all connected to the house Amy is trying to run as a hotel. This is story telling at its best. It didn’t matter that there were enough clues to work out pretty much who was responsible from the start, the beauty was in the narrative, the way the story flowed and watching the characters as they tried to work it out for themselves. There were a couple of surprises though which neatly tied it all together. Fantastic story of romance, suspense and magic amid sleepy Provencal villages.