Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for A Racing Murder, a new cozy mystery by Frances Evesham.
A Racing Murder
The next thrilling Ham-Hill Murder Mystery from bestselling cosy crime author Frances Evesham.
A winning horse. A fierce rivalry. A sudden death.
Belinda Sandford thrills to the cheers of the crowd as her beautiful grey racehorse, ‘Butterfly Charm’, thunders past the finishing post first at Wincanton Racecourse. She feels like the luckiest girl in the world.
But joy soon turns to despair as a stewards’ enquiry overturns the result and awards the race to her long-time rival, Alexandra Deacon.
When Alex is found dead in suspicious circumstances, a host of accusing eyes turn to Belinda and her distraught mother begs Adam Hennessy, her neighbour, retired police officer and publican, to help clear her daughter’s name.
As Adam, and local hotelier Imogen Bishop, dig deep into the murky and powerful undercurrents of the horse racing world, they lay bare the lives and loves of local jockeys, grooms, trainers and owners.
They soon uncover a web of secrets hidden within the spectacular Somerset countryside as they strive to find the killer in time to prevent more murders.
A brand new cosy mystery series from the bestselling author of A Village Murder, perfect for fans of Faith Martin, Betty Rowlands and M.C. Beaton.
A Racing murder is the second book in Frances Evesham’s new series called the Ham-Hill Murder Mysteries. If you are a fan of her Exham-on-Sea series or just like books set in small English towns, this is a book for you.
The protagonists/amateur sleuths (in Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple style) are Imogen Bishop, the owner of small hotel, and her friend Adam Hennessey, a former police officer who runs the local pub in the village of Low Hembrow in South Somerset.
We join the villagers as they watch a horse race, which is unexpectedly won by a new horse Butterfly Charm. Then, there is a controversy, as the Steward Committee looks into what happened on the last stretch of the race and decides that the winning jockey Belinda Sandford obstructed the progress of another jockey, Alex Deacon, who had to pull back and came in second. Belinda isn’t fined, but Alex (who isn’t exactly a likeable character) is given the first place by the Committee. While Belinda is trying to forget what happened, learn from her mistake and move on, Alex is found dead, and, naturally, the police and a lot of other people suspect Belinda, who had a motive. Belinda’s mother Diana is desperate to help her young, inexperienced girl.
The mystery was really absorbing and it was fascinating to get this glimpse into the world I had known very little about: stables, horse trainers, grooms, horse syndicates and, of course, jockey rivalry. I didn’t guess the identity of the murderer (actually, it came as a complete surprise, as it was the person you would suspectthe least), but I really enjoyed Adam and Imogen’s investigation. Both sleuths have likeable personalities and complement each other with their different life experiences. Adam’s police background and connections also come in handy. Imogen and Adam are helped by Steph, a local journalist, and Daniel, a painter, both of whom are Imogen’s old school friends. There is a bit of romance on the horizon, but, first and foremost, this is a cozy mystery. There’s a whole range of secondary characters, as you would expect in a small town setting where everyone knows everyone and gossip is a national sport. The village of Low HemBrow has a lovely community and is a great setting for this series.
The book is well-written with several unexected twists and a lot of attention to details. I was thoroughly entertained and I would like to continue with the series.
Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources, Boldwood Books and NetGalley for the review copy, provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Frances Evesham is the bestelling author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea murder mysteries set in her home county of Somerset, and the Ham-Hill cosy crime series set in South Somerset.
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