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Murder, secrets and an armadillo

Death out of Season

by Meg Elizabeth Atkins

Endeavour Press

Mystery & Thrillers, General Fiction (Adult)

Pub Date 17 Jun 2016


There is just something about the cozy English village that makes it the perfect setting for murder. Perhaps it is because everyone knows everyone and secrets are difficult to keep. When someone goes to great lengths to not only uncover these secrets but to make everyone else aware of them, is that reason enough for their death? Death Out of Season poses this question as Jaynie Turner, a vain newcomer with a passion for genealogy and embarrassing fellow residents is discovered dead. Inspector Hunter and his team are assigned the case. The village of Clerehaven is not as charming as it appears from the outside, and it will take a great deal of effort to unravel the complicated reasons behind a not so complicated murder.

The story at the heart of Death Out of Season is a good one, but the quirky cast of characters is what makes Death Out of Season special. Inez and Dora are easy to like, amongst the few residents not uncomfortable with Inspector Hunter’s investigation. I especially liked the armadillo. This isn’t a dog book per se, but the armadillo (a dog of mixed and somewhat extraordinarily odd heritage) often steals the scene as he rips into “Things in a crinkly bag” that are given to him by each person who visits with Inez at the pub. He is a charming companion, perfect for the quirky and artistic Inez. Meg Elizabeth Atkins does an excellent job of creating characters who are unusual but believable. Even Nella, who is difficult to like and more than a little snobbish can be understood as a product of her background.

Meg Elizabeth Atkins skillful storytelling brings Clerehaven and its residents to life. Death Out of Season is an excellent example of murder in a cozy English village, a staple on the shelves of mystery lovers. I look forward to reading more of Meg Elizabeth Atkins’s novels featuring Inspector Hunter (hopefully I will get to meet the armadillo again).


I received a copy of Death Out of Season from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



Everyone’s got secrets. But are they worth killing for…?

The residents of Clerehaven seem to enjoy the picture perfect, English village life.

Although the villagers differ in age, history and social status, they all form a cheerful community where friendships are forged and support is given.

That is until Jaynie Turner arrives…

Beautiful, vain, and utterly self-absorbed, Jaynie is not the easiest person to make friends with.

In fact, most of Clerehaven loathe her.

That dislike, however, does not deter Jaynie.

Recently divorced, she sets out to build a new life and a role for herself in the village.

To do this, she undertakes extensive ‘research’, digging deep into Clerehaven’s history and that of the well-to-do Lynchet family, to whom she claims a tenuous connection.

Unfortunately, Jaynie’s so-called ‘research’ uncovers more than an ordinary family history.

And it’s not long after that Jaynie’s body is discovered.

She’s been murdered.

Inspector Sheldon Hunter is given the job of tracking down her killer, but it’s no easy task.

Whilst Jaynie was clearly disliked by her neighbours, it is hard to see that anybody had a motive to kill her.

But as Hunter and his team look further into the affairs of Clerehaven’s respectable, middle-class community, they begin to uncover a history that seethes with snobbery, loathing, and fear.

The seemingly idyllic village’s past is riddled with lies and suspicious deaths.

As Hunter gets closer to the horrific truth at the heart of Clerehaven, he upsets the social status quo in ways that Jaynie Turner could only have dreamed of.

But can he overcome the hostility of the local community and prove who killed her?

Death Out of Season is a deftly-written, fast-paced and gripping tale in the very best tradition of English village crime stories. It is also the first of Elizabeth Meg Atkins’ books to feature the charismatic Inspector Sheldon Hunter.

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