Eve Mallow Mysteries – Clare Chase

Mystery at Apple Tree Cottage, Book Two

Five out of five stars given

“Working with her friend Viv, who owned the place, complemented her real profession perfectly. As a freelance obituary writer, she interviewed the living to unearth the secrets of the dead, but also spent hours researching her subjects. Wanting to understand people was hardwired in her. Regular shifts in Monty’s ensured she stayed solvent, but the work was also sociable, and an additional people-watching opportunity.”

This time, Eve is being urged to write a feature on a living subject. A bit of an infamous ex-resident of Saxford St Peter – Ashton Foley – returned to rub in his detractors’ faces that the local “bad boy” has made something of himself after all. For some reason, he’s decided that only Eve can do his story in the style he deserves.

But then he turns up dead! And now Eve has a legitimate reason to write his life story . . . as an obituary feature. Not quite what the well-known entrepreneur had in mind when he’d originally tried to engage her services.

Chase’s well developed and extremely engaging characters are back for another episode of mystery and maybe revenge. All the lovely villagers Eve befriended are here again in Book Two. I’ve loved Eve from the first book, and this second book has totally confirmed that! She and Gus – her elderly dachshund – are now permanent residents of Saxford St Peter! Here is another entertaining tale, and despite being Book Two of an ongoing series, it does well as a standalone. I urge you to read book one as well, though. You’ll love this series.

[Many thanks to NetGalley / Bookouture and the author for the opportunity to read an Advance Reader Copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.]

**********

Mystery on Hidden Lane – Book One

Five out five stars given

Eve Mallow is a writer. But a writer of a different sort; she writes obituaries of well-known people upon their death.

“‘A lot of people think that, but being an obituary writer doesn’t spring from an unhealthy preoccupation with death. It’s actually people’s lives that we’re interested in – that’s the story we tell.’ A 3000-word article about a body, lying there in its coffin, really wouldn’t have the same impact. To her, obit writing was the best and most fascinating job in the world. And it wasn’t just the obvious stuff that she found captivating; people always had some hidden habit or experience that left her marvelling.”

What brings her to Saxford St Peter is an assignment to write the feature length “obituary” of a world renowned cellist. That she falls readily into an investigation of his murder, is due in large part to her insatiable curiosity, but likely there’s an equal measure of defiance for an ex who doesn’t seem to know how to stay in his lane.

Chase has created a cast of characters who are inviting and warm. I love Eve, and the people she befriends in this small village as she digs for the truth. I’m drawn to Eve for a few reasons. She’s owned by Gus the dachshund; I am as well, though mine is Miss Lulu. She has an ongoing group text chat for ease of communication with her children; as do I. But mostly, I can easily see myself joining Eve and Viv at a table in Monty’s and solving all the world’s trouble. The village itself is warm and welcoming and draws out the newly emerging independence Eve is slowly developing within herself. This is an interesting tale, with several twists, a few red herrings that threw off this amateur sleuth, and a resolution that was as surprising as it was fitting.

I cannot wait to read the next book in what I sincerely hope will be a long lived series. I have no doubt that Chase and Eve have a good few adventures in store for us. I’m happy to highly recommend this writer and her books!

[Many thanks to NetGalley / Bookouture and the author for an Advance Reader Copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.]

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