The murder weapon was a novelty to me, and the idyllic setting is a small Cotswold village:
“I had wasted much of the day thinking about Phil and how it would be to have him across the street for a week, pottering about tidying my house when I should have been working in the garden, digging potatoes, picking up windfall apples for my pig. She was a very beautiful Tamworth, incidentally, called Arabella, living in a patch of old coppice I rented for peanuts half a mile away.”
Even though it is called a ´Thea Osborne´, the main character and first-person narrator is Ariadne, the local woman who lives across the cottage which Thea and her partner, Phil Hollis are staying in.
Ariadne lives alone with her independent cat and her beloved pig, spinning and knitting beautiful garments and scarves. She is the very enthusiastic leader of the local group of pagans, or wiccans, so when one of her few close friends, young Gaynor, is found murdered in Notgrove Long Barrow, a holy site used for pagan rituals, the police have to put her on the initial list of suspects. This results in a strained relationship with Phil Hollis who is not only Ariadne´s childhood friend, but also a Detective Inspector. As he was on the spot, he is put on the case, of course, leaving Thea and Ariadne to spend most of the week together, feeding Phil with useful bits of information about the villagers.
Though the motive did not seem very convincing to me, this was a fast, but really enjoyable read.
Reviewed for the 2010 Cozy Mystery Challenge # 5.