Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Book Review: Murder in an English Glade by Jessica Ellicott (Beryl and Edwina #5)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, interesting mystery
Cons: Weak ending; one thing not fully resolved
The Bottom Line:
Artist colony
Beryl Edwina still strong
Fans will enjoy it

Fake Investigation Leads to Real Murder

I look forward each year to returning to the English village of Walmsley Parva to find out what friends and business partners Edwina Davenport and Beryl Helliwell are up to.  We have another fun visit with them in Murder in an English Glade.

If you are new to the series, it is set in the 1920’s.  Edwina is a native of Walmsley Parva and is quiet and reserved.  Beryl is an American who is famous as an adventurer.  She is much more willing to take risks.  Together, the two life long friends have started a private enquiry business, and their different strengths make them wonderful at reaching the truth.

Edwina and Beryl don’t quite know what to make of it when they are asked to conduct a fake investigation.  Their potential client is Constance Maitland, part of the village’s upper crust.  She wants Edwina and Beryl to pretend to investigate her sister-in-law so her cousin will lay off the claim that the sister-in-law is having an affair.

The Maitland estate is currently hosting an artist colony, and this provides the perfect cover for the pair to join the Maitland estate.  They haven’t even been there a full day when someone turns up dead.  Now they are left to wonder if their fake investigation is the cause of the murder.  Can they find the truth?

As is always the case in this series, the characters shine.  The book is narrated third person from both Edwina and Beryl’s points of view, which allows us to really get to know them better and observe the changes in their personality they bring out in each other.  They really do make each other stronger and complement each other, and I enjoy watching that in each book.

Of course, this isn’t to take away from the suspects.  They are just as strong, and I enjoyed getting to know them.  We don’t see quite as much of the other series regulars as we might, but many of them do put in appearances, and I enjoyed catching up with them as well.

The time spent on the characters doesn’t take away from the plot.  It unfolds in a steady manner with plenty of clues, red herrings, and surprises along the way to keep us entertained.  I did feel that the ending was a little rushed, and there was one early plot point that was never completely resolved.  I can guess what was going on, but I would like to know for sure.

Part of the warmth of the series is the, for lack of a better word, culture clash.  Since Beryl is an American, she isn’t used to the British way of doing things.  While she and Edwina get along well, there are moments of differences between them.  Don’t worry, these moments are almost always played for laughs, and I appreciate them.  In fact, there is a very funny scene to open the book.

Murder in an English Glade will keep fans of the series happy.  If you are looking for a fun mystery the combines a bit of history with wonderful characters, you need to pick up this book.

Enjoy the rest of the Beryl and Edwina Mysteries.

Note: I received an ARC of this book.

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