This book was requested from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review
The very name White Cottage Mystery invokes an image of beautiful rural England, redolent with butlers and housekeepers flitting around huge Victorian mansions. While this book is set a little towards the fag end of that era, it still manages to remain true to the atmosphere of a true British mystery with its proverbial ‘stiff upper lip’.
A murder takes place in the White Cottage (the actual name of the cottage) and it is obvious that the perpetrator must only have been someone already in the house. Finding out the identity of the murderer is not easy as everyone in the house with the opportunity to commit the crime seems to be harbouring some or other secret that they would like to keep from the investigating officers and from each other. Matters are further complicated when the first person on the scene is the son of the lead detective and who has developed a healthy interest in one of the suspects.
This is one of those books that are a throwback to simpler times. One would not call it an Agatha Christie – like mystery, but it is certainly evocative of the times. The plodding elderly detective with her ‘fatherly’ mien and the love-struck son are central to the story, sharing a wonderfully comfortable camaraderie not normally seen in a father-son relationship. Everyone gets along with mostly everyone else. Most people are pretty honest about their sentiments regarding the dead man even when it may lead them into trouble. At one point the author laments the inability of women to grasp the difference between what is truly important and what is not. For example when weighed with a calm mind, a murder charge should ideally rate higher than an extra-marital affair in terms of importance, which unfortunately fails to register as such to the female mind. I would say to a particular mind. But hey, its not my story.
This is an easy read and with just enough twists and turns to keep you comfortably invested up to the end when things are tied up in a secure little bow. One begins to get truly fond of the detective and would not be loathe to reading more in the series, if there are any.
This new edition by Bloomsbury comes with a beautiful cover that features a contemporary English landscape in eye-catching bold colours making it a collectible item for beautiful book cover coveters. The story is cosy enough for readers who like their crime-reading to be non-gory and civil. The kind of book where the characters will not get into a ‘fight’ but rather indulge in a ‘dust-up’. A nice addition for the ‘cosy’ reading shelf.