Rebecca Tope, A Cotswold Killing (2004)

This cosy mystery is the first in the very British series about Thea Osborne.

Thea lost her husband to a car accident a year earlier and though she does not need to work for money, she chooses to try her hand at house-sitting, looking after other people´s homes and pets while they are away on holiday.

“They did not know, and Thea did not tell them, that this was her very first commission. Never before had she agreed to occupy a stranger´s home, in return for money, a well-stocked freezer and a fragile trust in her competence.”

Thea finds herself in the village of Duntisbourne Abbots, not too far from her own home, and of course she stumbles upon a very dead body within the first twentyfour hours.

I read the third and fourth in the series last year and enjoyed them very much, but Tope´s debut was a bit disappointing. Everything happens very slowly, and Thea spends far too much time thinking about what to do. Private sleuths have to begin somewhere, but it is quite true as one of the neighbours says to her, that she is not very good at it.

I bought the book myself, and if I hadn´t tried some of the later, much more interesting volumes, I think my relationship with Thea Osborne would have ended here.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in British, cozy mystery, review, review 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Rebecca Tope, A Cotswold Killing (2004)

  1. Petty Witter says:

    Good to hear the later books in this series were better than the debut. My ma-in-law read this first book and didn’t enjoy it at all, I’ll tell her it may be worth persevering and reading the other books.

  2. Sarah says:

    It sounds OK, but I think the cover of the book puts me off. It’s a bit twee I think although maybe that’s the point – it is the Cotswolds after all!

  3. Dorte – I really appreciate your candor here. Your fine review is making me think of how often an author’s first effort doesn’t turn out to be her or his best. Sometimes it takes a book or two more before the author “hits the stride.”

  4. Barbara says:

    I’m amazed the publisher hung on with her when her first book wasn’t that good. This is what pubs used to do in the heyday of publishing, give an author a chance to get better and better. I don’t like the cover either; it seems too cheerful for a mystery.

  5. Bill Selnes says:

    Dorte: Thanks for the review. I thought the cover made the book look inviting to pick up and read.

  6. Tracy: as I enjoyed the third and fourth a lot, I was ready to like this one, but it was a weak story in several ways. As far as I know lots of people have also enjoyed her later mysteries so they are well worth a try.

    Sarah: I didn´t mind the cover if only the story in it had been better🙂

    Margot: yes, that is a good point, but I found Tope´s beginning unusually bland.

  7. I love your reviews because you are so brutally honest. I would hate to imagine what you would say about my book.

  8. Barbara: she was probably lucky that she had her debut a couple of years ago. The Amazon reviews are not too positive either.

    Bill: well, I´ll probably try more of her later books, but I am not going to rush out for more right now.

  9. Clarissa: thank you – I think. I hope I have not been unfair. It is not a hopeless book in any way, but very unfocused and slow. And as you can see, I made a point of explaining that the series has improved later.

  10. Kelly says:

    I actually do like the cover, but perhaps because it’s unexpected for a murder mystery. I like to read series in the order they were written and I’ll keep in mind if I ever try this one that they do get better.

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