HAZARDS IN HAMPSHIRE
The British Book Tour Mysteries, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Camel Press
Date of Publication: October 15, 2019
Number of Pages: 190
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Moving to a quiet English village should have been tranquil, but Claire Barclay learns that even an invitation to tea can be deadly.
Who killed Mrs. Paulson, the president of the local Mystery Books Club? Was the motive for murder located in the archives of the book club? The members of the books club might have reason to want Mrs. Paulson’s out of the way. She had lived in the village all her life, been involved in many organizations and societies and knew many secrets of the villagers. Was one secret too dangerous for her to keep? She had been wealthy and left her money to a member of the club. Could the legatee have been impatient for her inheritance? Who cared enough to want her dead? Claire, an expert in solving problems in her job as a tour guide, decides to delve into the archives and into the lives of the villagers—and find out.
I received a copy of this book for free. This is my honest and thoughtful review.
“I had expected my hostess at the tea party to be boring. I hadn’t expected her to be dead.”
After spending many years living around the world, Claire decides to move to the English Countryside to pursue her dream of owning a book tour company featuring famous authors and the inspirations of their writing. When Claire is invited to tea by a friendly neighbor and finds a body, she becomes suspect as the only outsider who just happened to come into a sudden fortune.
From the opening line, Claire sets herself as a straight-forward character with little reason to leave readers questioning her integrity and authenticity. I loved getting to know her neighbors as well as this quaint and cozy village right alongside her. There are quite a few interesting individuals with their own quirky reasons for being suspicious. And once her tour group arrives and they become intrigued by the murder investigation as well, it was fun to watch all the amateur sleuths create motives and lists of unknowing suspects as the detective looked on. You just knew he was rolling his eyes the whole time! It was all very meta, but completely engaging! Claire’s investigative juices really start flowing, and she becomes even more determined to solve the case.
This is definitely a book lover’s dream read: a town book club for mystery readers, bookish tours, pets with novel names, a private library housing a collection of Agatha Christie letters, and all the charm of the English landscape. This was an absolutely fantastic concept and a great start to a promising series that I can’t wait to read more of!
Highly recommended for fans of bookish cozies as well as anyone looking for a place to start in the world of cozy mysteries!
As Emma Dakin, I get many emails and enquiries from new authors who find writing and publishing a challenge. It is. It always is. It doesn’t matter if you have twenty books in trade publishing and another ten in Indie publishing, each new manuscript is daunting. First, the writing takes effort, time, a strong ego and energy to produce. Then, it takes discipline to re-write it and pull out all those lovely, overdone phrases and unnecessary words, respond to beta readers, respond to editors and finally let it go to the printers. Then, you need to deal with printer glitches, computers that break down just when your publicity campaign is starting, computer repair people who have a waiting list of clients a dentist would envy, lost messages, post office deliveries of books that were expected last week, and all the business of writing. Some of this is under your control, particularly if you are self-publishing, so you have a conviction that, eventually, you will deal with it all. Some of it is not when you are with a publisher. You need to stay in communication with your publisher and trust that they are as committed to your book as you are and are doing their best. I have found that to be so. They do want the book to do well, so even some aspects of the delays and glitches are out of your hands, someone is looking after them.
Is it worth it? Yes of course. When you open your book, and read the first page, an automatic grin begins. It is satisfying to find your characters living on those pages. It is as if you have birthed them. I suppose that metaphor explains the pain of it all.
When the first book is finally published, in this case Hazards in Hampshire, the second, Crimes in Cornwall, has been edited and is in line at the publisher’s office, and the third, Perils in Yorkshire, is in the re-write stage on my desk. Once I delve into the troubles Claire is having in Yorkshire, I forget about the attention I will need to pay to getting the book out to readers. When the readers respond to it, I get to indulge in Claire’s world over and over. What could be better?
This is Emma Dakin’s first series, set in Britain the homeland of Emma’s grandparents. Emma channels her mother’s inherited English culture along with the attitudes and sayings of the modern Brits. She travels widely in England and at one point this May while travelling through the Yorkshire Moors she had all the tourists in a tour bus looking for a good place to hide a body. As Marion Crook, she has published many novels of adventure and mystery for young adult and middle grade readers as well as non-fiction for adults and young adults and non-fiction on social issues. Firmly in the cozy mystery genre now, and committed to absorbing the culture and changing world of Britain, she plans to enjoy the research and the writing of cozies.
Many thanks to Great Escapes Book Tours and the author! It was a pleasure reading, reviewing, and hosting! And be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more opinions and extras!