This Australian novel is the first Belinda Lawrence mystery. Belinda is invited to the West Country to visit her aunt Jane in Milford, near Bath.
But here is what meets her:
“As her eyes grew accustomed to the imperceptible light from the other room Belinda realised that only inches away, her aunt Jane´s deathly glazed eyes stared accusingly out of her decaying face.”
Aunt Jane has been dead for a week; apparently after a fall down the stairs. The odd thing is that the aunt seems to have sent off her letter to Belinda after her death.
On the train, Belinda meets an unusually clumsy young man, Jacob Aitkins, the local gardener, and when she inherits aunt Jane´s cottage, he becomes her nearest neighbour. She is not exactly impressed, but she quite likes his sister, Rosemary.
The story begins on a quite promising note, but unfortunately the plot is the best part even though it relies on a lot of coincidence. The village setting is very suitable for a cosy mystery, but the emphasis on atmosphere is often overdone in the form of dark and mysterious figures looming here and there.
The characters are not exactly well developed, and Belinda did not strike me as a patient or pleasant woman. Her discernment is not the best either so I can´t say she is the kind of protagonist I am burning to meet again.
This book was a free PDF version.