Thursday, February 12, 2015

Death in the English Countryside (Murder on Location Book 1)

Author:  Sara Rosett
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars

Location scout and Jane Austen aficinado Kate Sharp is thrilled when the company she works for lands the job of finding locations for a new film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but then her boss, Kevin, fails to return from a scouting trip to England. Afraid that Kevin has slipped back into some destructive personal habits he struggles with, Kate travels to England to salvage Kevin’s and the company’s reputation before word gets out that he is missing. 

Things go from bad to worse when Kate arrives in Nether Woodsmoor, a quaint village of golden stone cottages and rolling green hills, only to find no trace of Kevin except his abandoned luggage. Even the rumpled, easygoing local scout they consulted, Alex, doesn’t know where Kevin might be.

Increasingly worried about Kevin and with an antsy director waiting for updates about the preproduction details, Kate embarks on a search that includes a pub crawl and cozy cottages as well as stately country manors. But Kevin remains missing, and she begins to suspect that the picturesque village and beautiful countryside may not be as idyllic as they seem.

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Kate Sharp is a location scout for Premier Locations, a company dedicated to finding the perfect locale for movies.  Her boss, Kevin Dunn, is currently in England, scouting locations for a new version of Pride and Prejudice.  When he doesn't return home on schedule, and no one can locate him, Kate is the logical choice to fly over and try to find him - both she and another employee, Marci, are convinced Kevin may have had a 'relapse' and is merely recovering from a bender; in which case it will be up to Kate to find him first and do some damage control.

When she arrives, she doesn't find Kevin, so she enlists the help of a local photographer, Alex Norcutt, who was working with him, to see if they can reconstruct his movements.  While scouting around for Kevin, Alex shows Kate the locations they were considering using, and she gets to meet several of the people in the village, which is all to the good, because when they do find Kevin - and I am not giving anything away, because as this is a mystery, we all know Kevin isn't going to survive - Kate has a whole list of possible suspects in the murder to choose from.

When it is discovered that Kevin didn't die from an accident, but was in all likelihood murdered, in steps Detective Inspector Quimby, who sets about the investigation first questioning Kate's (and Alex's) possible involvement regarding Kevin's death, which doesn't gain any points with her, but the questions still have to be answered.

What I enjoyed about this book was the fact that Inspector Quimby played a large part and was not a clueless police officer; he had things well in hand all the way through the book, even if he didn't share with Kate.  He came off as someone worth his salt, as it were, and kept his cards close to his chest instead of blurting out everything about the case.  I also liked the fact that Kate wore makeup  and didn't run around in sweat pants and a T-shirt all the time, as if she were just too busy to be bothered with anything.  What I enjoyed best was the fact that we have a modern-day mystery tied in with Jane Austen's works, and anyone who knows of Austen or the genre will be greatly pleased.

The clues were there in the subplots (of which there were a few), all interesting in themselves.  When the murderer was finally revealed, it was tied into something else entirely, and also entirely believable.  Here's to a new beginning in a new series, and I eagerly await the next installment.  Highly recommended.




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