New edition includes map of Steeple Martin, list of characters and free bonus chapter from the next title in the bestselling Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery series.
Artist and ex-actress Libby Sarjeant is busy directing a play for the opening of a new theatre in her village when one of her cast is found murdered. The play, written by her friend Peter, is based on real events in his family, disturbing and mysterious, which took place in the village during the last war.
As the investigation into the murder begins to uncover a tangled web of relationships in the village, it seems that the events dramatised in the play still cast a long shadow, dark enough to inspire murder.
Libby’s natural nosiness soon leads her into the thick of the investigation, but is she too close to Peter’s family, and in particular his cousin Ben, to be able to recognise the murderer?
The stories feature ex-actress Libby Sarjeant and are set in a small village in Kent.
'Delightful. The characters are quirky, the dialogue witty, and the plot revolves around the theatre. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on the others. A hit for all you lovers of the traditional English cosy.’
Lesley Cookman started writing almost as soon as she could read, and filled many exercise books with pony stories until she was old enough to go out with boys. After following a varied career as a model, air stewardess and disc jockey, she turned to writing short fiction and features for a variety of magazines, before graduating from the University of Wales with an MA in Creative Writing. She has taught writing for both Kent Adult Education and the WEA and edited the first Sexy Shorts collection of short stories from Accent Press in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. She lives on the Kent coast and has four grown up children and a passion for community theatre. She has written 10 titles in the Libby Sarjeant Murder Mysteries series and has also published How To Write A Pantomime.
Mildred Thristlepoop on
6th August 2012 5:46PM
I love this series of books, having now read all ten back to back. This is the first of the series, introducing all the main players and painting a witty view of village life. Libby, wine in one hand and cigarette in the other, draped in Oxfam cape and wicker basket is a delightful portrayal of the divorced woman of a certain age. Fran, who becomes her regular partner in crime deduction in later books is a trifle annoying here but by and large the story is delightful. I wish I could live next to the Pink Geranium, and have decorative friends like Harry and Peter, not to mention a boyfriend like Ben!
Ah well, the next best thing to having them is reading about them, methinks I will reread these in future as they do resemble the book equivalent of comfy slippers. I recommend the series heartily, and await further developments!
Cathy G Cole on
22nd March 2012 10:33PM
First Line: Libby sat on a plastic chair in the middle of what would be the auditorium of the Oast House Theatre and considered mass murder.
Ex-actress Libby Sarjeant has left London life for a cottage in a small village in Kent where she can be the director of the Oast House Theatre. Opening night isn't far away, and everything is still in a muddle when strange accidents begin occurring in the theatre. Libby ignores it all to the best of her ability until the leading lady is found murdered. It seems that someone in the village of Steeple Martin isn't pleased that the play The Hop Pickers, is based upon local fact.
"Shakily, she stood up. She didn't know whether she should phone the police, which seemed rather presumptuous, and who would listen to her, anyway? Who could she tell? If this was really a detective story, she would go and confront the villain, but in real life all she would get is a denial--and there was always the possibility she was wrong--or she would be putting her head metaphorically into the lion's mouth. She always got cross when the stupid females did that."
Cookman has a flair for fun, quirky characters and dialogue that just flows across the page. She's one of the few writers I can think of who can make me feel as if I'm actually part of the conversation and not just reading through a few quotation-marked lines in order to get to the next important scene. That said, she does have to work a bit on tightening up her story. There was too much repetition, and the plot dragged in too many places. It also didn't help that the killer was rather easily guessed.
All in all, I'd say that Murder in Steeple Martin is a bit above average. Cookman has the right cast of characters, the right setting, and the ability to make the reader feel a part of the goings-on. I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the series to see if she can tighten up her storyline, too!
15th June 2012 4:36PM
I love it when an author can bring up feelings of nostalgia, and that was definitely the case when I read this book. This is one of those fantastic murder mysteries that plays in the United Kingdom. Whenever a get my hand on a book that plays in Britain, especially when it is a murder mystery, I get really excited. As I am a fan of this genre, I was a bit amazed that I had not heard of this author before, as the quality of writing is just excellent.
The book starts with a map of where the events take place, and then a list describing the characters, in order to assist the reader in getting their mind set on the events in the book. What a great idea, and I do not see that too often in an ebook.
The story itself is very dense, with tight writing to keep your attention focussed. The author describes the surroundings and environment in such a way that the reader gets a very clear image in the mind of what life would look like. The dialogues make you feel like you are in the middle of the conversation, too. In any murder mystery, there are victims, suspects, convicts and by standers. These characters are all complexly interwoven in the story lines in this book, making it not only a joy to read, but also feel you are part of a team that has been delegated to solve the riddle. If murder mysteries are your cup of tea, try this one out as you will not be disappointed.