New edition of the bestselling Libby Sarjeant murder mystery series that includes a map of Steeple Martin, cast of characters and bonus chapter from the next title in the series.
Steeple Martin amateur detective Libby Sarjeant’s friend, and sleuthing partner, psychic investigator Fran Castle, suspects that there is something suspicious about the death of her aunt in a nursing home. When Fran’s long-lost relatives turn up and seem either unconcerned or obstructive, Libby and Fran are sure something is wrong, particularly as the will is missing.
As usual Libby needs little persuasion to start investigating, even if she doesn’t see herself as Miss Marple. They discover surprising links to Fran’s own past but, as the murders multiply and the police take over, can the amateur sleuths keep on the trail?
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The phone on the landing began to ring. Fran had given up thinking it might be for her months ago and made no move to answer it, knowing that her downstairs neighbour would be there before her anyway. Sure enough, she heard Dahlia's broad voice, as distinctive as her broad hips, in cheerful conversation with the unseen caller.
'Miz Castle. Phone, Miz Castle.'
Surprised, she pushed herself away from the table. Most people used her mobile, except, she remembered, as she went downstairs, cousin Charles.
'Charles?' she said, as she lifted the grubby receiver.
'How did you know it was me?' He sounded surprised.
'You're the only one who calls me on this number,' said Fran. 'Where are you? I thought you were going to see Aunt Eleanor today?'
There was a short silence.
A muffling blackness descended on Fran and she dug her nails into her palm hard to force her mind to clear.
'She's dead, isn't she?' she said.
'Fran, you're scaring me,' said Charles. 'First, you knew it was me, second, you knew she was dead. What's going on? Were you down there today?'
Fran took a deep breath. 'No, of course not. I told you, you're the only person who rings me on this number, and I doubt if you'd have rung to tell me how she was as I'm going myself tomorrow.'
'You won't go now, surely?'
'No? Oh, I suppose not.' Fran frowned. 'But I've already made arrangements to stay with an old friend. I might as well go down.'
'Why don't you go and stay on the night of the funeral instead? I assume you'll go to the funeral?'
'When is it?'
'Not sure yet. I'll give you a lift if you like.'
'Thank you, I'd appreciate that.'
'I'll ring you nearer the time, then, shall I?' said Charles, sounding more normal.
'Yes, great, Charles, but you haven't told me what happened. When did she die? What was it? Heart?'
'I suppose so, but no one seems to know. Barbara got there first today and was actually sitting with her without realising she was dead.'
'Remember I told you? My sort-of cousin? Barbara Denver.'
'Oh, right. Yes. Well, Eleanor was quite old, wasn't she?'
'Over 90. She -'
'Don't say it,' Fran jumped in quickly. 'Please don't say she had a good innings.'
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A cozy British village mystery lover's delight! With each book, the reader becomes more familiar with the village, and more attached to the characters. Recommend reading them in order. Content: No violence, no sex, minimal swearing
First Line: "How many more do you want, then?" Libby Sarjeant pushed a wisp of damp, rusty coloured hair off her brow.Middle-aged actress come investigator Libby Sarjeant has settled down to life in the village of Steeple Martin. Her small cottage suits her. She sells oil paintings to a local gallery, and it looks as though her romance with Ben is taking a turn for the better. If only life was as smooth for her friend, Fran Castle.Fran, who lives in London and is a bit clairvoyant, has been working occasionally for an estate agent to "spook test" old properties. When her aunt, Eleanor Bridges, dies in the Laurels nursing home, Fran becomes concerned. It seems that old Eleanor may have written a new will, and everyone who thinks they have a chance at an inheritance is acting very strangely. Fran feels that something just isn't right, and when she tells her friend Libby about her feelings, Libby is all for plunging directly into an investigation of their own.Murder at the Laurels is the second entry in the Libby Sarjeant series. Libby may be busy with her painting, and she's not about to ignore her sex life, but she's still compelled to know what's going on. She keeps prodding Fran until she's brave enough to start checking into a thing or two. After all, Libby thinks, Fran is related to these people. If she doesn't have the right to know, who does?I enjoy this series for Cookman's characterizations and for her depiction of life in a small English village. Even if it seems as though Libby and Fran are playing detective until the real policemen get all the details sorted, both women are good hearted and work with the investigators whenever they believe they've found a clue.If you're in the mood for a light, fun mystery set in one of those perfect English villages, Murder at the Laurels may be just your cup of tea.
The second book in a series by Lesley Cookman that are based in Kent. This time her friend Fran's aunt gets bumped off in an old peoples home and retired actress, Libby Sarjant has many mishaps tracking down the killer.Very good setting - great for anyone who enjoys and good murder mystery.