Cherringham, Episodes #10-12 by Matthew Costello and Neil RichardsCherringham, Episodes #10-12 by Matthew Costello, Neil Richards
Narrator: Neil Dudgeon
Series: Cherringham #10. #11. #12
Published by Lübbe Audio on October 9, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Length: 7 hrs 43 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, this cozy detective series brings together an unlikely sleuthing duo: English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack. Each of the self-contained episodes is a quick listen for the morning commute, while waiting for the doctor, or when curling up with a hot cuppa.

A Deadly Confession

On the edge of Cherringham lies St. Francis' Convent, home of the Sisters of St. Francis, a small Catholic teaching order. Here a handful of nuns worship, contemplate, and pray. And here, one Easter, the beloved local priest Father Byrne meets his unexpected demise. The circumstances of his death are suspicious, and soon Jack and Sarah are on the case. What secrets did Father Byrne take to the grave? Who wanted him dead? And is religious faith ever a guarantee of innocence?

Blade in the Water

It's just days before the Cherringham Regatta—an annual event that draws luxury yachts from across the country, as well as the local boat crowd, all looking to party on the river. But it's no party when boats are vandalized, and a wealthy executive turns up missing, with his blood on the deck. As the Regatta date looms, Jack and Sarah discover that what's happening on the water looks less like vandalism and more like murder.

Death on a Summer Night

Twenty-five years ago, on a hot summer night, Tim Bell drove to a secluded spot with talented young musician Dinah Taylor after their date at the village fair. But Dinah was never seen again, and Bell—with blood spatters on his clothing—was sent to prison for her murder. Now freed, Bell has returned to Cherringham and his life is in danger from those who feel that justice hasn't really been served. But, Jack and Sarah wonder, was Bell truly guilty-or did the real killer escape detection all those years ago? As Cherringham swelters in another hot summer, time is running short to uncover the truth before someone else dies.

There’s been more murders in dear little Cherringham. And of course Sarah and Jack have to solve them. I enjoy these novella length mysteries. They’re long enough for clues and suspects, but short enough that they have to keep moving.

In “A Deadly Confession,” the cops think Father Byrne died of a heart attack, which is true, but his old friend is convinced there’s more to the story. Once again Sarah’s internet skills come in handy. I like the old-fashioned denouement here, something this series doesn’t usually have. It drags the whole motive(s) out into the open, but allows for a bit of grace in the handling of the whodunnit.

Jack and Sarah have to solve the crime in “Blade in the Water,” because there’s no real evidence that a crime, aside from vandalism, has occurred. That’s one of the tricks with cozy mysteries, giving a legitimate reason for the amateur and/or retired detective to need to solve the case, a reason the cops can’t handle/deal with it. This solution in this one is interesting and I like how you’re reminded that you can’t always rely on first impressions.

The murder in “Death on a Summer Night” took place 25 years ago, but Jack believes the wrong person was convicted. Tim Bell is back after serving his time in jail, and Jack is determined to help prove his innocence, even if Tim is not exactly the nicest guy around. This is, I think, the first case Jack and Sarah decide to investigate without being asked first. I was actually surprised by the killer, mostly because the prologue led me to believe one thing that turned out not to be true, which was smart on the author’s part.

As always, these novella length mysteries are fun. Three at a time is a good number too.

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 and the best-selling mystery series Cherringham. Their latest series project is called Mydworth Mysteries.

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