Tag Archives: Cornwall

#BookReview ‘The Cornish Wedding Murder’ by @fkleitch #cosycrime

Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker, former Metropolitan Police officer, has moved home to Cornwall with daughter Daisy. When she agrees to do the catering for an ex-boyfriend’s wedding, she doesn’t expect to find herself involved a murder investigation. The Cornish Wedding Murder is first in the Nosey Parker cosy crime series by Fiona Leitch. A while ago I stumbled on the second book in this series and enjoyed it so much I decided to start at the beginning. Fiona LeitchDoes Jodie find murder and mayhem, or does trouble find her? When Tony Penhaligon’s fiancé disappears on the eve of their wedding, and his ex-wife is found dead in the grounds, he is arrested. Jodie, who has taken an instant dislike to the flashy bride-to-be Cheryl, becomes peacemaker as Mel, Tony’s ex, publicly accuses her successor of marrying him for his money. Never one to stand on the sidelines, Jodie steps in to calm the situation.
This is an enjoyable, easy read. Perfect for when you want something to sink into and forget the world outside. Yes, it’s a murder story. But it’s also funny, full of twists, turns and a main character who is impossible not to like. Jodie is the sort of friend everyone wants. Meddling, well-meaning, gung-ho and giggly, she has a sensitive nose for wrongdoing and a clear idea of what’s right and wrong. Aided by an adopted fluffy white dog and loaded down with leftover wedding food that must be eaten, Jodie is determined to uphold the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’
A well-written mystery that introduces the setting and characters of the future books. Jodie is likeable. Flawed, but in a nice way that makes her seem a real person. Ably supported by her Mum and daughter Daisy, everywhere Jodie turns in the village someone remembers her as the daughter of respected and much-missed Chief Inspector Eddie Parker. That’s quite a reputation to live up to. Looking for a peaceful life, a new start with her daughter away from London, she manages to find trouble around every corner. She pursues every clue she finds, instead of telling local detective DCI Withers who despairs [or pretends to] at her interference.
Close to the end, I was still guessing the identity of the murderer. The conclusion of the romantic sub-plot is also unsure. A nice mixture of amateur sleuthing and romance. You’ll finish it wanting to read more.


If you like this, try:-
Murder at Catmmando Mountain’ by Anna Celeste Burke
The Art of the Imperfect’ by Kate Evans
Magpie Murders’ by Anthony Horowitz

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE CORNISH WEDDING MURDER by @fkleitch #bookreview https://wp.me/p2ZHJe-64h via @SandraDanby

Natalie Haynes

#BookReview ‘Tea for Two at the Little Cornish Kitchen’ by @janelinfoot 

I’m not a great reader of novels described as ‘heartwarming’, particularly with cheerful pastel-coloured covers. But as an impulse read for a winter day when I was feeling under the weather and in need of comfort, Tea for Two at the Little Cornish Kitchen by Jane Linfoot proved to be a bit of a surprise. Jane LinfootSecond in the Little Cornish Kitchen series, I hesitate to call this a ‘cosy romance’ but it is fun, flirty and funny. Novels set in Cornwall are almost a genre of their own and the fictional seaside village of St Aidan with its pastel-coloured houses set on steep windy streets leading to the beach is ideal for a ‘community’ novel with a strong list of characters.
There are lots of alliterations, hashtags and cute names starting with Cressida Cupcake, the social media name for hit online baker Cressy Hobson. Dog and apartment-sitting for her brother Charlie [owner of the Little Cornish Kitchen Cafe and star of the first book in Linfoot’s series, one of a collection set in St Aidan] Cressy will be at Seaspray Cottage for six weeks. She’s glad to escape London and the embarrassing fallout after an online baking disaster. She’s trending on social media as #CrappyCupcake, her book deal has fallen through, her blog sponsors have disappeared and she is short of cash. But when confronted with her sister-in-law’s circle of best friends, she hides the truth and is determined to work things out on her own.
Inevitably she is soon pulled into the community and joins the fundraising plans for the financially-struggling Kittiwake Court community care home. Cressy’s private baking parties take off, as do her sales of bake boxes via the local Facebook group. Add in a meeting with her handsome teenage crush, assorted sheep to be fed and eggs to be collected, a collection of adorable cats and dogs, various cute children and babies, and the scene is set for Cressy to lurch from disaster to triumph to embarrassment and disaster again and again. There are serious themes too – miscarriage and infertility being the main two – but in general there’s a light hand when it comes to the reality of seaside living, seasonal unemployment, online hate, poverty and the struggles of an ageing population. This is romantic comedy, a getaway from the real world. In this pastel-coloured village, reality is pushed firmly to one side.
Not my normal reading but great for the time when a Bakewell tart blondie is preferable to a single digestive. Oh, and if you enjoy baking there are some great recipes at the end.

If you like this, try:-
Girl in Trouble’ by Rhoda Baxter
Butterfly Barn’ by Karen Power
59 Memory Lane’ by Celia Anderson

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
TEA FOR TWO AT THE LITTLE CORNISH KITCHEN by @janelinfoot #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-5wE via @SandraDanby

#BookReview ‘A Brush with Death’ by @fkleitch #crime #cosycrime

A Brush with Death by Fiona Leitch is the second Nosey Parker cosy mystery and the first I’ve read. Jodie Parker, ex-Metropolitan police officer, and newly single mum has returned home to Cornwall. It’s the week of Penstowan’s inaugural arts festival and Jodie, no longer working for the police, is doing the catering. The festival’s main attraction is painter Duncan Stovall, famous for his Penstowan series of sea paintings. Fiona Leitch
This is a story with instant fizz. Written in the first person, Jodie’s, I loved the sly sometimes saucy asides that pull you straight into the jokes, the personalities and the action. If it were an item of food on a menu catered by Jodie, this book would be a mash-up of a Cornish saffron bun slathered with butter and clotted cream, a mug of steaming tea and a glass of scrumpy. Cornwall is a part of the book’s DNA, not just the dialect of the Penstowan residents or the food but the wonderful descriptions of coastal scenery that make you want to get into the car and head south on the M5.
When a visiting author is found dead at the bottom of the cliffs Jodie can’t resist sticking her nose in and asking questions, much to the annoyance of DCI Nathan Withers and the irritation of Jodie’s daughter Daisy and mum Shirley.
This is a silky read, one of the best of its genre I’ve read. A brilliant community of family, friends and townspeople, a beautiful seaside setting, with a witty detective, plotted on two levels. The foundation is Jodie’s life settling into the town of her childhood, a triangular-shaped romantic entanglement, and her burgeoning new catering business. Overlaying this is the case in which she becomes entangled; the art world, not just the creation of art but the finance, promotion, sales and investment.
I particularly enjoyed the joshing with childhood friends Debbie and Tony, including lots of cultural references from the Eighties that are lightly handled without huge signposts saying ‘laugh here’.
Read it and chuckle.

If you like this, try:-
Magpie Murders’ by Anthony Horowitz [#1SusanRyeland]
A Deadly Discovery’ by JC Kenney [#4 AllieCobb]
Jellyfish’ by Lev D Lewis

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A BRUSH WITH DEATH by @fkleitch #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-5lq via @SandraDanby

#BookReview ‘59 Memory Lane’ by @CeliaAnderson1 #romance #contemporary

59 Memory Lane by Celia Anderson has a cozy tone reminding me immediately of MC Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series, but without the crime. Anderson has created the sort of feelgood destination you long to live in, to get away from it all. Pengelly is an isolated seaside village in Cornwall with an infrequent bus service. Celia Anderson

When a local do-gooder starts an Adopt-a-Granny scheme pairing people together, 110-year old May Rosevere is paired with her eighty year old neighbour Julia. Except unbeknown to everyone else, these two women harbour a long held grudge against each other.
The central premise of the novel is that May’s long life – and she is free of the medical complaints experienced by other older characters in the book – is thanks to her magical ability to collect other people’s memories and extract energy from them; this is described as a kind of frission, naughtiness, a buzz. May, determined to reach her 111th birthday, steps up her ‘thought harvesting’ and so is delighted to learn that Julia has discovered a large collection of family letters going back decades.
This book has two major storylines spliced together – the feelgood seaside life in Pengelly and the adventures of the community, the romances, the illnesses, the community spirit; and the flip side, the unexplored darkness of May’s theft of other people’s memories. I found the latter quite difficult. It feels as if May is basically stealing other people’s lives; when she takes Julia’s letters, Julia becomes forgetful, vague and weak. May’s ‘thought harvesting’ is not clearly defined, described variously as a power, skill, ability, talent. May’s father tells her, as a child, about her ‘power’ but we see her doing nothing positive with it. It is not a force for good, she simply uses it for a feeling of well-being. In the beginning she gets her buzz from handling secondhand possessions at fairs and sales and by picking up rubbish and forgotten objects. But when did the stealing start?
The community at Pengelly is large and so the first half of the novel includes lots of scene setting and explanation of who is who. For this reason, this feels like the first novel in a series. The story really took off for me in the second half when May’s ‘talent’ comes back to bite her and she starts to feel guilty at taking people’s memories from them when it clearly causes damage. Anderson does an excellent job in creating the world of Pengelly, the community spirit for a village often cut-off, its residents have become supportive and innovative. There is romance for young and old, and support and friendship for everyone when illness strikes.
At the end I would have liked more explanations; to the mystery of Julia’s letters, the death of May’s husband, the mysterious Will who went off to be a priest, or the meaning of the missing ring. I can’t help but think this is a missed opportunity to turn this novel into something more than a Cornish village romance. Pengelly is definitely an escapist village with its beach walks, barbecues, cake, biscuits and mugs of hot chocolate, and it was good to see a cast of characters across the age spectrum, from six-year old Tamsin to 110 year-old May and lots of 50-80+, all getting along together. But I was left feeling I had been led, by the cover design, to expect one novel but got another.

If you like this, try:-
The Lost Letters of William Woolf’ by Helen Cullen
On a Night Like This’ by Barbara Freethy
Butterfly Barn’ by Karen Power

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
59 MEMORY LANE by @CeliaAnderson1 #bookreview https://wp.me/p5gEM4-46l via @SandraDanby