A Clerical Error by J New

4/5 stars. Good writing and storytelling kept me entertained from start to finish.

Description

When the crime scene is pure coincidence and there’s no evidence, how do you prove it was murder?

Ella Bridges faces her most challenging investigation so far when the vicar dies suddenly at the May Day Fete. But with evidence scarce and her personal life unravelling in ways she could never have imagined, she misses vital clues in the investigation.

Working alongside Sergeant Baxter of Scotland Yard, will Ella manage to unearth the clues needed to catch the killer before another life is lost? Or will personal shock cloud her mind and result in another tragedy?

‘A Clerical Error’ is set in 1930’s England, and is the third of The Yellow Cottage Vintage Mystery series.

My thoughts

I enjoyed The Curse of Arundel Hall, the second in the Yellow Cottage Vintage mystery series, which introduced me to Ella Bridges, a woman of some substance, so I was looking forward to reading this.

With a personal mystery hanging over from the previous story, Ella soon becomes embroiled in the death of the local rector, who has only recently returned from his travels. While she seemed a little arrogant at times, there’s no mistaking her determination to organise the investigation and solve the mystery.

The style and atmosphere of the 1930s is beautifully evoked, leading to a gentle pace and style that allows the characters to shine through. I particularly like her aunt, who stole every scene she appeared in and helped Ella to solve the crime.

I found the solution a little convenient, but it was well set up and executed and doesn’t detract from the good writing and storytelling that kept me entertained from start to finish.

4/5 stars

A Clerical Error

The Flesh of Trees by Kath Middleton

5/5 stars. Beautifully crafted and populated with believable characters you root for.

Description

“Don’t play in the Green Wood. Children disappear in there!”

All her life, twelve year-old Sylvie Hummel has heard these words, but still she disobeys her parents and enters the Green Wood. Now she knows what happened to the missing children.

Let in on the secret, her cousin Erik also falls under the spell of the forbidden wood. But soon a ruthless forest owner shatters the cousins’ lives, and when he threatens to fell the trees in the Green Wood, he discovers what Sylvie and Erik have long known: these trees have their own protection.

My thoughts

I enjoy reading something different and this story is like an old fashioned fairy tale with a modern environmental message about the dangers of corporate greed. Told mainly through the eyes of Sylvie Hummel, a child with a natural curiosity and sympathy for the trees in the Green Wood, this is a story about community and camaraderie.

When threatened by the increasing demands of the corporate giant, a logging company that employs most of the village, the workers struggle to resist. The children look on helplessly as events spiral out of control when the logging company imposes its will on the workers.

But when the company sets its sights on moving beyond its own pine forests into the Green Wood, the stage is set for battle.

This is a fairy tale with teeth – a story that will make you laugh, cry and cheer in equal quantities. It’s good battling evil, heroes against villains in a conflict with high stakes, all beautifully crafted and populated with believable characters you root for.

This is a simple tale that warns us of the dangers of fighting nature and the environment. All living objects have a purpose and soul and we should learn to live in harmony with them or suffer the consequences.

My thanks to the author for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

5/5 stars

The Flesh of Trees