Wednesday 27 September 2023

๐Ÿ“– Book Review ~ A Meadow Murder by Helen Hollick

Taw River Press
 26 July 2023

A Jan Christopher Mystery  #4

My thanks to the author for my copy of the book

Make hay while the sun shines? But what happens when a murder is discovered, and country life is disrupted?

Summer 1972. Young library assistant Jan Christopher and her fiancรฉ, DS Lawrence Walker, are on holiday in North Devon. There are country walks and a day at the races to enjoy, along with Sunday lunch at the village pub, and the hay to help bring in for the neighbouring farmer.

But when a body is found the holiday plans are to change into an investigation of murder, hampered by a resting actor, a woman convinced she’s met a leprechaun and a scarecrow on walkabout...

๐Ÿ“– My review..

The summer of 1972 is recreated in this cosy crime novel which, once again, sees Jan Christopher and her fiancรฉ, DS Lawrence Walker plunged right into the centre of a mystery. Jan and Laurie were hoping for a peaceful summer holiday visiting Laurie's parents at Valley View Farm when they suddenly become involved in a murder mystery which places the fictional Devon village of Chappletawton right in the centre of a police investigation. 

The story moves along at its own pace, there's no rush needed, we'll get there and in the meantime we can enjoy reading of life in this gentle Devon village whilst at the same time enjoy Jan and Laurie's uncanny ability to step right into a complex murder/mystery. I especially enjoy reading the story from both Jan and Laurie's perspective as this gives a different view of what's going on in the plot. There's no doubt at all when you are reading a Jan Christopher Mystery that you are very firmly placed in a bygone era as the author does a brilliant job of recreating time and place, and not just because the police investigation takes place without the use of the modern forensics we now associate with a crime investigation but also because there clever references to a slower pace of life in the seventies, be it music, fashion or the TV programmes of the time. I am left with a feeling of nostalgia and almost wish for a return to those innocent days when a five pound note in your purse seemed like untold wealth.

Whilst this is the fourth book in this cosy crime series it is perfectly possible to read A Meadow Mystery as a standalone cosy crime story although as with any series it is best to start at the beginning and get to know Jan and Laurie for yourself.

About the Author

Helen and her family moved from north-east London in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century North Devon farmhouse through BBC TV’s popular Escape To The Country show.

First accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 – a week after her fortieth birthday – Helen then became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She also runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction. 

Twitter: @HelenHollick

Discovering Diamonds Historical Fiction Review Blog :



  1. Thank you so much Jo - yes I rather wish that £5 today seemed more than it actually is!

  2. Thanks so much for an intriguing mystery.


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