A Harvest Murder by Frances Evesham

A Harvest Murder by Frances Evesham A Harvest Murder by Frances Evesham
Series: Ham Hill Mysteries #3
Published by Boldwood Books on June 21, 2022
Source: Rachel's Random Resources
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 261
Format: eARC
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three-half-stars

One unexplained disappearance is strange, but two are sinister.

In Lower Hembrow, an idyllic village nestled beneath Ham Hill in Somerset, the villagers are preparing to enjoy the autumn traditions of the rural English countryside until Joe Trevillion, a curmudgeonly local farmer and the father of six children, vanishes.

When Adam Hennessy, the ex-detective proprietor of The Plough, the village's popular Inn, investigates, he finds ominous undercurrents beneath apparently harmless rumour and gossip.

Meanwhile, a vicious campaign of vindictiveness forces Adam and his three amateur sleuth friends to dig deep into the secret lives of their neighbours to expose the source of a cruel vendetta and prevent another death.

As they uncover the disturbing truth, the friends learn they must also lay their own past lives to rest before they can hope to make their dreams for the future come true.

A Harvest Murder is the third of the Ham Hill mysteries. It can be read as a stand-alone, but I think, like most series, you get a fuller feel for the characters if you read them in order.

We have two mysteries here. The first is the missing farmer. It’s no surprise he ends up dead – the title is A Harvest Murder – but who killed him is unclear. The second mystery is who is harassing Dan, the local artist. First, one of his donkeys is kidnapped and brought back, then one of his paintings in a gallery is destroyed.

Our sleuths are Imogen, who owns the local hotel, and former detective, Adam, who owns a local bar. A lot of the scenes take place in those locations, where people gather and talk and air their suspicions. The mysteries are well done, with several clues and enough suspects to keep you guessing. The townsfolk are a typically mixed bunch of nosy do-gooders, gossipers, and those trying to keep their secrets out of the public eye, which is almost impossible in a small town.

The one thing that both annoys and charms me is our sleuths’ love lives. Imogen is dating Dan. Adam is dating the fourth member of their team, Steph. It’s a little too sweet, too perfect. And of course, they’re all four nice and smart and work well together. On the other hand, the ending made me smile, so what do I know.

A Harvest Murder is a typical British cozy mystery. It’s a very seasonal mystery, one to read in the fall, with its Cider Festival and Guy Fawkes night.

About Frances Evesham

One day, Frances Evesham walked on a beach in peaceful Somerset and came upon a unique nine-legged Victorian lighthouse. Her first cozy crime story, Murder at the Lighthouse, was born.

Now, she writes mystery stories: the Exham on Sea contemporary cozy crime series set in a small Somerset seaside town, and the Thatcham Hall Mysteries, 19th Century historical mystery romances set in Victorian England.

She collects poison recipes and cooks with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other, her head full of ingenious ways to dispatch her victims – in fiction, of course.

She’s been a speech therapist and a road sweeper, and worked in the criminal courts seeing crime from all points of view: victim, prosecution and defense. Spending time in the dock and the witness box alongside witnesses taught her more about motive, means and opportunity than she could ever have imagined.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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