Murder by the Minster by Helen Cox

13th July 2019.    3 stars.

My thoughts

I was drawn to this novel for two reasons – I lean towards the cosy end of the crime market and the publisher suggests this is a novel for fans of Faith Martin and LJ Ross. As a huge fan of the latter, I thought I would try Murder by the Minster.

After a slow start the story grew on me, though I don’t think I’m the target reader. The novel has too much description for my liking, which slows the pace. The police procedural side seems somewhat unlikely, resulting in behaviour that’s unrealistic. If you’re not concerned about police procedure then it shouldn’t spoil your enjoyment.

Kitt Hartley can be an abrasive and sometimes arrogant character, but her heart’s in the right place. She has the determination to carry out her own investigation, assisted by some delightful friends and colleagues, such as Grace. Her knowledge of books is amply displayed with literary references throughout the story, possibly betraying some of the author’s favourites. It’s a nice touch that reveals more than Kitt’s intellect.

The story is easy to read and follow, well-paced and concludes with an exciting climax that ties up all the loose ends. I would have preferred another suspect or two to make it more of a traditional whodunit as the murderer’s identity was disguised more by a lack of information than by red herrings or false trails.

If you enjoy a cosy mystery with a strong central character, a touch of romance and a picturesque setting, you should enjoy Murder by the Minster.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Description

Meet Kitt Hartley: librarian, trilby-wearer, taker of no nonsense… detective?

It’s a perfectly normal day for Kitt Hartley at her job at the University of the Vale of York library, until Detective Inspector Halloran arrives at her desk to tell her that her best friend, Evie Bowes, is under suspicion of murder. Evie’s ex-boyfriend Owen has been found dead – with a fountain pen stabbed through his heart – and all the evidence points to her.

Kitt knows there is no way Evie could murder anyone – let alone Owen, who she adored. Horrified that the police could have got it so wrong, Kitt decides there’s only one thing to do: she’s going to investigate Owen’s murder herself. She’s read hundreds of mystery novels – how hard can it be?

With the help of her assistant Grace, and the occasional hindrance of the library’s eccentric regulars, Kitt summons up all her investigative powers (absorbed over years of reading everything from Agatha Christie to Ian Rankin) and gets to work.

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