It’s a quiet English village—except for one crazed murderer—in this delightful romp by the author of the Constable Mavis Upton series.
Librarian Prunella Pearce has left heartbreak behind to start a new life in the village of Winterbottom, where there’s little social life to be had aside from the meetings of The Winterbottom Women’s Institute at the parish hall.
But a bit of excitement ensues when the group is about to elect a new president—and the nominees for the position begin dropping like flies. One is found facedown in a lemon drizzle cake, stabbed with a crochet needle. Another nearly dies spectacularly in the revolving doors of a Harrogate hotel. When Pru and her friend Bree agree to do some undercover snooping to help the police, little do they know that one of the Winterbottom women is hiding a scandalous secret . . .
Set in the quiet village of Winterbottom we have a story of multiple murders as, one by one, members of the local Women’s Institute meet their untimely deaths. We readers know who the murderer is pretty much from the start and oh, what a killer! Showing a wicked sense of humour and imagination in their chosen methods of killing. The reason for the murders seems petty but there is more to it and a darkness hovers menacingly just below the surface.
However, whilst we know who the killer is the police and ladies of the W.I. do not. The police investigation moves along but it is Librarian Pru (Prunella Pearce) and her friend Bree that are the star investigators of this first in a new series The Prunella Pearce Mysteries from Gina Kirkham. It is their earnest desire to find out not only who is killing off the W.I. members but why. They get into scrapes, get a little distracted by their love lives (or lack of) and put themselves in danger. As I read it was like watching a play in my head it was such a vivid book and I couldn’t wait to see how everything would turn out.
The characters are well-drawn and likeable including to a certain extent the villain who, as the story unravelled, induced some sympathy. Even so, I thought the ending was spot on.
If you like cosy crime along with the author’s inimitable brand of humour that almost touches on the farcical – I could see this on stage – and yet retains a warmth, a kindness which I feel can only come from the authors firsthand experience of criminals and crimes then this, most definitely, is the book for you. A wonderful ‘cosy’ murder story which, despite the number of imaginative deaths, was in no way gruesome and often had me chuckling with glee.
Murders at the Winterbottom’s Women’s Institute is an entertaining and smart, well written book certainly worth reading and one I would recommend to all lovers of cosy crime fiction that is both funny and at times dark. For me this is even better than the Mavis books! I’m looking forward to more from Pru and Bree in the next book Murders at the Montgomery Hall Hotel which is patiently awaiting my attention. I doubt they will have to wait for long.
Previously read: Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot: Further adventures of CONSTABLE MAVIS UPTON
Note: I read this book towards the end of 2022.
Published: Bloodhound Books (25 May 2022) | ISBN1914614968 | 344 pages | @Bloodhoundbook
Buy: AmazonSmileUK | Your local bookshop | Hive |or check it out from your local library
Author: Gina Kirkham was born on the Wirral in the not-so-swinging 50’s. Being the less adventurous of three children, she remains there to this day. Trundling a bicycle along a leafy path one wintry day, a lifelong passion to be a police officer gave her simultaneously an epiphany and fond memories of her favourite author Enid Blyton and moments of solving mysteries. Thus began an enjoyable and fulfilling career with Merseyside Police. On retirement she put pen to paper to write a book based on her experiences as a police officer. And so Mavis Upton was born…
Gina Kirkham @GinaGeeJay Gina on Instagram
The Prunella Pearce Mysteries
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