Series: Ham Hill Mysteries #3
Published by Boldwood Books on June 21, 2022
Source: Rachel's Random Resources
Genres: Cozy Mystery
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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.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: