First in the Beryl and Edwina Mystery series, Jessica Ellicott takes us to the small village of Walmsley Parva in the English countryside, as the country tries to recover from the Great War. Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat, please read on for my review of
Murder in an English Village
Edwina Davenport couldn’t be more different from her school-friend, American adventuress Beryl Helliwell, but the proper Englishwoman Edwina needs both a friendship and the money that Beryl provides. Edwina had finally decided to advertise for a lodger, perfect timing for Beryl who wants a quieter pace, removed from her ‘always on show’ life. Seeing the advert, Beryl drives to Walmsley Parva, and reenters Edwina’s life with a bang, literally. But, claiming to want a quieter life, and actually achieving that goal, along with a fierce need to ‘protect’ her friend, Beryl drops hints that the two actually are working for His Majesty’s Service, looking into some shady happenings in the village, the story takes a series of twists that she never could have imagined.
Such a clever set-up with laugh out loud moments from events and particularly the interactions and differences in style between Edwina and Beryl, they are soon faced with an attack on Edwina and their housemaid’s murder. Perhaps Beryl wasn’t too far off the mark when she suggested that all was not as it seemed in the little village. More considered and cautious Edwina contrasts nicely with Beryl’s more exuberant ‘grab an idea and go’ approach, which leads to several suspects of the moment, before the culprit and motive are found. Secondary characters, drawn in by Beryl’s almost childlike friendliness (she’s like a puppy where Edwina is more feline in her reserve) bring laugh out loud moments when Edwina’s sense of propriety clash with the very real and unfussy Simpkins, the slightly condescending Constable Gibbs and the other residents add layers of interest and a sense of village to the story. Fast-paced, intriguing and engaging, this is a lovely start to a new series with a touch of the times and sense of what was to add interest.
Narration for this story is provided by Barbara Rosenblat, who epitomizes the reserve and proper Edwina easily, with a touch more youthful exuberance to Beryl that helps to bring their contrasting personalities and styles to the forefront. Secondary characters are presented with subtle changes in enunciation and pace, making them distinct in impressions as the visual imagery catches up to the listener: even without a ‘biographic’ detail of characters, one can hear the difference in social levels and education instantly. A lovely listen that kept the story moving forward without becoming confusing or rushing through important elements necessary to the solution.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4
Title: Murder in an English Village
Author: Jessica Ellicott
Series: Beryl and Edwina Mystery #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Historical Mystery
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Published by: Kensington, Recorded Books
Published on: 31 October, 2017
Source: Recorded Books
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 25 minutes
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As friends, the boisterous and brash American Beryl couldn't be less alike than the prim and proper British Edwina. But as sleuths in an England recovering from the Great War, they're the perfect match . . .
1920: Flying in the face of convention, legendary American adventuress Beryl Helliwell never fails to surprise and shock. The last thing her adoring public would expect is that she craves some peace and quiet. The humdrum hamlet of Walmsley Parva in the English countryside seems just the ticket. And, honestly, until America comes to its senses and repeals Prohibition, Beryl has no intention of returning stateside and subjecting herself to bathtub gin.
For over three decades, Edwina Davenport has lived comfortably in Walmsley Parva, but the post-World War I bust has left her in dire financial straits and forced her to advertise for a lodger. When her long-lost school chum Beryl arrives on her doorstep--actually crashes into it in her red motorcar--Edwina welcomes her old friend as her new roommate.
But her idyllic hometown has a hidden sinister side, and when the two friends are drawn in, they decide to set up shop as private inquiry agents, helping Edwina to make ends meet and satisfying Beryl's thirst for adventure. Now this odd couple will need to put their heads together to catch a killer--before this sleepy English village becomes their final resting place . . .
A copy of this title was provided via Recorded Books for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.