Thea Osborne, 42, recently widowed, with one daughter and one dog. Thea is starting a career as a house-sitter and her first assignment is in the village of Duntisbourne Abbots, looking after two additional dogs, a large number of sheep and a water-lily. On her first day, she meets Joel Jennison, a local farmer – a pleasant enough sort of chap.
The next night, she is woken by a nearby scream, but thinks nothing of it. But when out walking the dogs the next day, she finds Joel’s body face down in some water. With nothing better to do, Thea decides to look into the death. But when she soon discovers that Joel’s brother was killed in the same way and finds herself shut out by the village, it seems that the truth may be harder to find than she expected.
Blimey. 499 reviews so far. Book reviews that is. There have been a few film reviews, more than a few television reviews, some short stories and a fair amount of general old waffle – 672 posts in total, so 173 non-book reviews. Actually, that’s a lot of general old waffle. And on the vaguest off-chance someone’s checking, I’m counting original audiobooks in the 499…
So what does that 499 consist of, and which book is going to have the “privilege” of being the 500th?
London, recovering from the devastation of the Great Fire of 1666. Lucy Campion, now a printer’s unofficial apprentice, bumps into Sarah, the daughter of the magistrate for whom Lucy used to work as a chambermaid. Sarah has become a Quaker, an unpopular religious following at that time, and asks Lucy to accompany her back to the house where she is staying. There she encounters Jacob Whitby, the leader of the group who is dying, having fallen under a cart. But with his dying breath, he tells Lucy that someone in the household is not a true Quaker – and that someone pushed him under the cart.
Lucy can’t help but try to find the truth, but soon she and her friends find Jacob’s sister – also murdered with a scold’s bridle fastened about her face. With Sarah possibly at risk in the Quaker household, Lucy is determined to find the murderer before they strike again…
Roberta West has a problem. A while ago, she fell for the lothario “Count” Armando, a man currently wed to the chanteuse Glory Guild. He proposed that Glory needed to be killed for their future happiness, but, as he would be the prime suspect, he would arrange a cast-iron alibi for himself while Roberta did the deed. She refused and had nothing more to do with him…
… until a few nights previously, when he appeared on her doorstep and proceeded to spend the next two hours in her company for no particular reason. No reason, that is, until Roberta discovers that Glory has been murdered – and she has given Armando a perfect alibi.
This is the story that Ellery Queen is told on his return to New York and he, and his Scottish chum, Harry Burke, are determined to prove Armando’s guilt. But is he guilty? And if so, who was the woman he coerced into committing the crime this time?
And now for something completely different – a serial novel.
Jack Brennan is an ex-NYPD homicide detective who, after losing his wife, retires to the Cotswolds. There, he meets the newly single mother of two Sarah Edwards, a web designer. And since about a year ago, they’ve been regularly solving one crime a month, as a new story (novella length, roughly 100 pages) is released at that pace. This is the start of the second run of twelve stories.
Jack and Sarah are called to investigate some mysterious events at an exclusive girls’ school, where it seems some girls are playing pranks. But when, inevitably, the pranks turn deadly, it seems there’s a murderer on the prowl.
Meet Charlie Miner. Insurance fraud investigator. Estranged father. Heroin addict. And corpse.
When Charlie wakes up in the morgue, floating over his body – now with two bullets in his head – he has nowhere else to go but back into his body. Needless to say, he’s determined to find out who put him in the morgue. But with massive holes in his memories – bullets in the head and, well, dying, will do that to you – he can barely recall the details of the case that he was working on.
As pieces of the past flash back to him, he finds that death wasn’t the end of his troubles. Can he keep himself together – literally – and find his own killer?
Ankh-Morpork, the largest city on the Discworld. At night, all that represents the law are the Night Watch – Captain Sam Vimes, Sergeant Fred Colon, Corporal Carrot and Corporal “Nobby” Nobbs. But things are changing. Vimes is retiring, marrying into the upper classes. And, in the name of diversity, there are three new recruits. Detritus, a troll – the arch-enemies of the dwarfs; Cuddy, a dwarf – the arch-enemies of the trolls; and, worst of all, Angua, a w… well, some things shouldn’t even be said.
But out in the darkness, someone has plans – someone insane enough to think in italics. A plan that involves kings and clowns, assassins and beggars, dwarfs and trolls. And a strange stick that can shoot little lead pellets very, very quickly…