Wednesday 31 January 2024

Stranger in the Village (The Malvern Mysteries book 2) by Kate Wells (2024)

Where there’s a body in Malvern End, there are secrets to be uncovered…

Jude Gray has worked hard to bring a steady equilibrium to life on Malvern Farm and things are going well.

The only fly in the ointment is the foul addition of a new face in the village: staunch townie and chauvinistic sleaze, Des Smith. Jude has nothing but sympathy for his caring, patient wife, Loretta, who has become a regular visitor to the farm for a cup of tea and a chat.

But things take a turn for the worse when a hit and run outside The Lamb brings death once again to the village. Is it an accident or is something more sinister afoot?

Perhaps the answer lies in the stranger with red trainers who’s been seen wandering through the village and through Jude’s fields at night. Following the clues, Jude desperately hopes she will find the right answers, because the murderer being someone she knows is unfathomable…

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An absolutely gripping read from start to finish.  I had my favourite suspect towards the end but there were so many twists that I kept questioning myself. 

There were a few new characters in the village and I didn't trust any of them but I wanted to believe in Marco as he and Jude were becoming friends with a hint of something more.

Village life in Malvern is as lively as in the first book. Affairs, domestic violence and a hit-and-run are the talk of the day. But when another murder occurs and Jude's sister, Lucy, gets arrested as suspect number one things take a very sinister turn as it means that the real killer is someone very close to Jude and her family.

Lucy's son, Sebbie, provides a lot of comical relief in the way all toddlers do; repeating inappropriate phrases at the most inopportune times and being generally cute and adorable between tantrums. 

There are some very dramatic scenes, particularly where Sebbie and Jude are in harm's way. I could not put this book down.

Humour, small-town drama and taut suspenseful scenes create a winning combination for this mystery series.

Author Bio –

Kate Wells is the author of a number of well-reviewed books for children, and is now writing a new cosy crime series set in the Malvern hills, inspired by the farm where she grew up. Boldwood will publish the first title, Murder at Malvern Farm, in August 2023.

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