Blood in the Cotswolds, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Thea Osborne and her faithful spaniel, Hepzie, have taken on a house-sitting assignment in the charming Cotswold village of Temple Guiting.

But as always, an idyllic village can harbour a disquieting number of secrets and when a skeleton is discovered at the roots of an old beech tree, Thea is grateful for the presence of her partner DS Phil Hollis.

There is no concrete evidence as to who the bones belonged to although it isn't long before theories and rumours abound.

Thea soon finds herself drawn into a murder investigation - perhaps the countryside isn't that quiet after all.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780749007300



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Fun cosy. I'd enjoyed the first one, but the library didn't stock the intervening ones so I picked up this to see how the series has progressed. The opening was a bit of a jump from the first book. Only a year or so has passed but Thea has overcome all her grief and is now pretty much normal. She's also been in a relationship with DI Hollis for some time - allowing easy access to police information. This book is somewhat of a departure from the norm, as it is told pretty much exclusively from Phil's POV. He doesn't get much action though as he's laid up with a bad back for just about all of it.Thea is again house-sitting in the Cotswolds. And despite the title there is very little gore at all, and only 1 body. The Blood is a reference to family blood as the village is steeped in the ancient mystery of the Templars with one well connected family spread out over most of the area. Phil accidentally finds a body - it was disturbed by a fallen tree. The villagers seem to take offense at this, as if he should have quietly re-buried it and gone on as normal. Thea does a bit of digging around and asking questions before rushing off on a mis-guided quest to 'solve' the mystery. Fortunately the local DI (Phill not being on duty with his bad back), already has most of the answers.There's a lot of relationship stuff - Thea can't cope with an invalid very well and Phil isn't used to spending much time away from work. This gets a bit tedious at times and you do wonder if the author is trying to separate them gently so that she can have the fun of introducing a new character. Meanwhile Thea continues to be the enjoyably blunt and outspoken character that made her such fun in the first books. Crime novels aren't usually the source of insightful social commentary (which is usually the preserve of SF) but it was refreshing to have some here. Thea and Phil have a few debates of social policing in the UK. You might not agree with either side, but the debates need to be had, and they aren't - at least not int he mainstream media. I suspect this will date fairly badly, but it still feels contemporary enough only a year or two on.Enjoyable mystery - not quite a cosy, but not far from it. Well worth continuing with the series, and I'll be back to check out the intervening books too.

Review by

Thea Osborne is a historian and house-sitter whose current job takes her to the village of Temple Guiting. Her boyfriend, senior policeman Phil Hollis, joins her for the weekend but while there slips a disc in his back and has to stay on longer to recuperate. He is therefore present when a large tree is uprooted and a skeleton is uncovered. The bones turn out to be relatively recent and a full-blown murder investigation ensues, though Hollis is on sick leave and has to sit painfully on the sidelines while the official investigation is carried out.<br/><br/>My primary reason for selecting this book was fond memories of staying in the Cotswolds several times (although no blood was spilled during my trips there) and in that respect I was not disappointed. The story’s village setting is depicted exactly as I imagined where any crime is relatively gentle and the suspect pool consists of a handful of characters who share complicated family connections and long histories and everyone is very civilised. Even when one of the suspects holds one of the protagonists at gunpoint it’s all done in quite a gentlemanly way and it never feels like anyone is in much actual danger of getting hurt. To take one’s mind off the criminal element there’s a pet snake, snippets of Templar history and an English version of a hot summer (where I live several days of 28°C-30°C temperatures would qualify as a cool change during our summers).<br/><br/>Thea Osborne is quite a strong female character, especially as her civil libertarian leanings are at odds with her boyfriend’s job and she doesn’t automatically fall into a nursemaid role when Hollis is injured but Hollis is a bit wet. Having experienced the same back injury myself I can appreciate that the author has captured his pain and frustration well but there is a limit to how interesting someone else’s ailments can be and, for me anyway, that limit was reached before the end of this book.<br/><br/>Although it was a pleasant enough tale it didn’t really have anything terribly original to offer but if you’re a fan of Misdomer Murders I think you’d probably enjoy this book. If you like audio books I can recommend this narration as Caroline Lennon does a rather good job of drawing you into the story and differentiating the characters in an understated way that suits the tone of the story.