Cherringham #1-3 by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

Cherringham #1-3 by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards Cherringham: A Cosy Crime Series Compilation (Cherringham #1-3) by Matthew Costello, Neil Richards
Series: Cherringham #1, #2, #3
Published by Bastei Entertainment on November 3, 2014
Source: Purchased
Genres: Mystery, Episodic
Pages: 328
Format: eBook
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three-half-stars

Jack's a retired ex-cop from New York, seeking the simple life in Cherringham. Sarah's a Web designer who's moved back to the village to find herself. But their lives are anything but quiet as the two team up to solve Cherringham's criminal mysteries.

This compilation contains episodes 1 - 3: MURDER ON THAMES, MYSTERY AT THE MANOR and MURDER BY MOONLIGHT. Here Jack and Sarah investigate a suicide in the River Thames - or was it murder? They investigate an "accidental" fire with deadly consequences, and they nab the culprit behind the Rotary Club choir poisoning.

I was looking for a short, light read and remembered Scared to Death, #27 in this series, which I read around this time last year. I remembered enjoying it and thinking I should read more in the series, so I picked up this first compilation. It was a good choice.

Each of the episodes is self-contained, although they all star Jack and Sarah. They work well together and I like that, at least so far, they’re friends, nothing more. We also get to meet Sarah’s family and of course each episode introduces more of the townspeople.

“Murder on the Thames” is our introduction to the pair. How they meet and end up working together actually makes sense. Sarah’s old friend is found dead on the edge of the river just downstream from Jack’s barge. When she stops by to ask him a couple of questions, she mentions that the police are considering it a suicide. Jack, former NYPD, knows that it can’t have happened like the local police think. He agrees to help Sarah find the truth. They’re both outsider in the village, him because he’s from America, her because she’s been gone so long. She knows everyone, but they don’t necessarily trust her yet.

In “Murder at the Manor” an elderly man dies in a house fire. Regardless of whether the fire was arson or not, why did he head to the empty attic, where his body was found, instead of down and out the door? The man’s family are a nasty bunch who care more about the property than the father. Of course, he had his own secret. Sarah’s assistant a her design company helps out a bit on this one, and we get to know Sarah’s parents a little better. Jack is fitting in quite well.

During “Murder by Moonlight” we get to see again that the local police are not quite up to snuff. A woman “accidentally” eatsĀ a cookie containing peanuts at the Rotary Christmas choir practice, and then, it seems that the only EpiPen she had on her was empty. She died from the allergic reaction. But all her friends know she obsessive about making sure she had multiple new EpiPens at all times. People have started calling on Jack and Sarah when they think the police are not taking something seriously enough. This time around, we actually have a lot of suspect – a whole choir full – and they all knew about the peanut allergy.

These mysteries are a nice length, short enough to read in one sitting, long enough to be a full story. The clues add up well and there are enough suspects to keep you wondering. I think I’m going to go ahead and pick up the next three. The 24-hr readathon is coming up this weekend, and even though I’m not sure how much I’ll get to participate, these would definitely be good reads for the day (or night).

About Matthew Costello

Matthew Costello was born in 1948 and writes novels and nonfictional works as author and coauthor. Some of his books have been adapted into film versions and he wrote for some TV channels like the BBC. He also scripts and designs videogames.

About Neil Richards

Neil Richards has worked as a producer and writer in TV and film, creating scripts for BBC, Disney, and Channel 4, and earning numerous Bafta nominations along the way. He’s also written script and story for over 20 video games including The Da Vinci Code and Starship Titanic, co-written with Douglas Adams, and consults around the world on digital storytelling. His writing partnership with NYC-based Matt Costello goes back to the late 90’s and the two have written many hours of TV together. Cherringham, the crime fiction series set in the Cotswolds, is their first crime fiction as co-writers.

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