Nestled in the fertile hills of the Cotswolds, the village of Duntisbourne Abbots is a well-kept secret: beautiful, timeless and quintessentially English.
When recently widowed Thea Osborne arrives to house-sit for a local couple, her only fear is that three weeks there might prove a little dull.
Her first night's sleep at Brook View is broken by a piercing scream outside but she decides such things don't require investigation in a sleepy place like this.
At least not until a body turns up... In calling on her neighbors to get some answers, Thea uncovers more tragedy and intrigue than she thought possible behind the peaceful Gloucestershire village.
The first in a new series of thrillers to be set in the Cotswold area, A Cotswold Killing takes the reader on a tense journey along winding roads and muddy paths towards a dramatic and unexpected denouement.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages
- Publisher: Allison & Busby
- Publication Date: 23/05/2005
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9780749083984
- Paperback from £6.89
- EPUB from £2.39
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.
Review by cathyskye
First Line: The pain in Thea's finger was intermittent, but sharp.Recently widowed Thea Osborne has decided to house-sit, and Brook View Farm outside the picture perfect village of Duntisbourne Abbots in the Cotswolds looks ideal. Thea's only worry is that spending three weeks there with the owner's persnickety pages of instructions and three dogs might prove a bit dull. Her first night's sleep is interrupted by a piercing scream, but since it wasn't close to the house, no one's dogs seemed bothered by it, and it wasn't followed by anything else suspicious, Thea did nothing. Nothing, that is, until she discovers the body of a neighboring farmer at the bottom of one of Brook View's fields. As the investigation unfolds, Thea finds herself talking to neighbors and uncovering bits and pieces of enough secrets and tragedy that she forgets all about her worry of being bored.I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. That makes it sound as though I expected to dislike it, which isn't true. The setting became very real for me with two sentences: "Every roadway leading to the village centre was steep and twisting, with no clear vistas. Most of the houses escaped being overlooked by any of the others, producing a sense of solitude and secrecy that felt strange in the middle of a village."If you're anything like me, that description is just the tiniest bit creepy. Who knows what goings-on and secrets can be found in a place with no clear line of sight and with none of the houses being overlooked? (I have to admit that the above description reminded me a bit of a drive through the Yorkshire Dales on one-lane roads, steep hills, and blind corners. What began as a white knuckle ride for me became enchanting due to one simple fact: in that part of England some of the politest drivers in the world are to be found.)Besides the setting, I found that I really liked the main character, which is amazing because I'm normally very suspicious of anyone who's described as being beautiful. Yes, Thea is beautiful, but she's not obnoxious about it. She's not obsessed with clothing, shoes, makeup or hair styles. She occasionally uses her looks as a tool, having learned years ago that "it was amazing what a smile could do, accompanied by an open and innocent demeanour."Thea's not obsessed by her appearance, she's not nervous about being alone in a strange place, and she shares what she knows with the police. As she gets to know various villagers, some are very forthcoming-- she won't be around for long, so it won't hurt to talk to her-- and some look at her with distrust. They've heard about Miss Marple, you see.As I was enjoying my leisurely read in the Cotswolds, getting to know the village and its inhabitants, I actually found the answer to the mystery to be a total surprise because I'd forgotten all about searching for clues. I'm looking forward to reading other books in this series, although I do have one concern: if Thea stumbles into each mystery by house-sitting, won't she soon garner a reputation as The House Sitter of Doom? I think I'll enjoy finding out!
Review by nocto
Enjoyable stuff as always from Rebecca Tope. Commendable because it's in many ways got a typical 'cosy' mystery setup (newly widowed housesitter stumbles into murder investigation in pretty village) but managed to never make me scream 'no, don't go down the dark staircase to the cellar alone without a torch!' even though the central character did some things that were almost as bad as going down that rickety staircase a few times.
Review by smik
At times this book felt hard going and I sometimes became annoyed what seemed to be a welter of detail that slowed the action down.Thea Osborne uses her husband's death as an excuse to embark on a new occupation of house-sitting. The three week job in a house in the village of Duntisbourne Abbot is her first, and it quickly becomes obvious that it is not going to be as simple as she imagines. Her employers have a detailed and comprehensive list of tasks. But not on the list is the murder of one of the locals in her back garden. And of course Thea is carrying her own share of emotional baggage.As time goes on a suspicion grows that her police detective brother in law has somehow contrived that she got the job in the first place.A COTSWOLD KILLING seemed to have an unnecessarily complicated plot. There are a lot of characters to sort out and a complex web of relationships to fathom. Some of the characters we meet only fleetingly, and can't be sure whether we need to remember them. Thea Osborne is an interesting character but her involvement in undertaking an investigation into her neighbours is not entirely logical. There were events such as the traffic accident which results in Thea's car being written off which raised the level of plot complexity with not much useful outcome. There were times too when the reader did not know what Thea had discovered - for example she researches local news items, sends an email off to her brother in law but doesn't tell us until pages later what it was she found.All in all though, it is not a badly written novel. Nothing that perhaps a bit of judicious editing might not have cured.
Review by reading_fox
Rather fun almost cosy little mystery. Not exactly belivable, but nothing particularly intrudes to shake the necessary suspension of scepticsm.Thea - a widow of a year and just about coping with life - and her dog, take a job housesitting for a couple departing for a couple of weeks cruise. The tasks don't seem too onerous, untilt he owner turns up with a bulletpoint list. The sheep need regular counting, the dogs precise feeding, the dlowers watering and dusting. Thea manages to keep herself busy, but there are little other distractions in the small Cotswald village. However a body turns up in the pond on 'her' garden. Although not really any of her business she can't help but feel slightly responsible, and so uses it as an excuse to get to know the neighbours and find out what local politics had been going on. It was the 2nd death in recent months and deemed unlikely to be just coincidence or passing outsiders.Enjoyable, Thea is somewhat difficult to empathise with unless you've recently suffered a loss yourself, but comes across as very belivable, the clues ot the puzzle were well placed, and although all the other characters are somewhat thin bit parts, they interact well with Thea.Worth seeking out hte rest of the series.
Review by Condorena
I looked forward to reading this book because the setting sounded interesting. The setting was interesting but the story wasn't. Our lonely depressed heroine Thea meets a man five minutes after she begins to settle down in the house she is house sitting. He is dead before morning and after rehashing this meeting repeatedly in her mind over the next one hundred fifty pages Thea begins to try and find out what it going aon in the village. All the reader gets in the next two hundred pages is that there is something sinister hovering around. <br/><br/>My advice is to read up until the murder then skip 300 pages and read the interesting denouement. Hopefully Thea gets better at her job because at least in this house she was either lazy, disinterested or distracted most of the time.