Betty Rowlands books in order
Betty Rowlands was a British author of crime, suspense and mystery novels.
Born in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, England, she began writing crime fiction stories after emerging first in the Veuve Clicquot/Sunday Express crime short story competition.
From there Betty never looked back, as she went on to write the Melissa Craig Mysteries Series and the Sukey Reynolds Series.
Betty passed away peacefully in her home in Bristol on 29 July 2020, just three months before her 97th birthday.
She is survived by her two children, her four grandchildren, and her six great grandchildren.
Betty will be greatly missed by her family, friends and her multitude of readers.
Even though she is no longer around, Betty’s legacy lives on through Melissa and Sukey, who are still solving mysteries.
Genres: Crime Suspense, Mystery, Suspense
- A Hive Of Bees (1997)
Melissa Craig Series
- Murder at Hawthorn Cottage (1990)
- Murder in the Morning (1991)
- Murder on the Clifftops (1992)
- Murder at the Manor Hotel (1993)
- Murder on a Winter Afternoon (1995)
- Murder in the Orchard (1995)
- Murder at Larkfield Barn (1996)
- Murder in Langley Woods (1998)
- Murder at Benbury Brook (2000)
- Murder at the Old House (2001)
- Murder in the Dining Room (2003)
- Murder in a Country Garden (2004)
Sukey Reynolds Series
- Death at Hazel House (1997)
- Death at Dearley Manor (1998)
- Death at Beacon Cottage (1999)
- Death at Burwell Farm (2001)
- Death at Ivy House (2003)
- Death on a Summer Morning (2004)
- Death under the Apple Tree (2005)
- Death at the Mariners Hotel (2007)
- Death at the Library (2008)
- Death on Clevedon Beach (2009)
- Death in the Village (2010)
- Death at Sycamore House (2012)
- Death at Sandy Bay (2014)
Detailed book overview
Fortune has not dealt very kindly with twenty-five-year-old Julia Drake up to now: the sudden death of her mother when she was still a child, her subsequent rejection by her father, separation from her closest companion, Stephanie Harraway and, most recently, a disastrous marriage.
Then, through a chance reunion with Stephanie, Julia meets and falls in love with Luke Devereux, a successful artist and antique dealer. But Julia is to discover that Stephanie, whom she has always envied for her apparently unlimited self-confidence, has her own vulnerabilities.
First Release: 1997
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Melissa Craig Series
Meet Melissa: cat lover, caring mother… daring detective?
Melissa Craig is absolutely delighted with her new life in an old crumbling cottage, spending her days pruning the primroses and getting to know Binkie, the ginger cat next door. She only wishes she had made the move to the countryside sooner.
But when a knock at the door brings news of a shocking discovery, she suddenly finds herself thrown in to the middle of a baffling mystery: the bones of a young woman have been found in the woods just behind her new home.
Perhaps the little village of Upper Bembury is not as idyllic as it first seemed?
Strange phone calls in the night convince Melissa that the police are barking up completely the wrong tree, so she can’t resist doing a little digging of her own. From the bingo hall to the beauty salon and beyond, her search ruffles a few feathers and uncovers many of the village’s most scandalous secrets, but gets her no closer to finding the culprit…
The discovery of a tatty old photograph in a drawer is the final piece of the puzzle she needs, but as a newcomer in this close-knit community, does Melissa have what it takes to get to the bottom of this extraordinary murder mystery alone?
NB: This book is also known as A Little Gentle Sleuthing.
First Release: 1990
Melissa Craig is settling in nicely to a new teaching position in the quaint little village of Upper Bembury, getting to know her way around, drinking tea with the eccentric staff, even sewing the first seeds of romance…
But when she arrives one morning to find police outside her classroom, Melissa is shocked to hear that her beautiful colleague Angelica has been found dead in her home.
As everyone in Angelica’s life comes under suspicion, Melissa makes it her mission to go in search of the truth, not least because she’s romantically entangled with none other than the police’s prime suspect.
The discovery of a vandalized portrait of the murdered girl might be just the clue that Melissa needs to clear her lover’s name, but when a second body surfaces, she knows she needs to act quickly. Can Melissa uncover the ugly truth in this beautiful village before another innocent life is taken?
NB: This book was previously published as Finishing Touch.
First Release: 1991
A delightful afternoon stroll turns to disaster when the guests of an artists’ retreat in the French mountains spot the body of a man at the bottom of a cliff.
Amongst them is Melissa Craig who, binoculars at the ready, suddenly finds herself at the center of a very puzzling mystery. Was it an accident, or was he pushed?
Her suspicions are confirmed when another body is found days later in almost exactly the same spot. It can’t be a coincidence; someone in this idyllic French village is up to no good, and it’s up to her to find out who.
Between the eccentric locals and mischievous guests, Melissa finds herself with no shortage of potential suspects: was it the surly handyman with a dark past, or perhaps the short-sighted widow with an excellent golf swing? But the real question is: how close to the edge will Melissa have to tread to find the culprit...?
NB: This book was previously published as Over the Edge.
First Release: 1992
Melissa is delighted when she’s asked to help put on a play at her favorite local Cotswolds hotel. There’s nothing she loves more than getting to know the cast, who are just as colorful behind the scenes as they are on stage.
Rehearsals are running smoothly until the perpetually grumpy supporting actor is found spread-eagled at the bottom of a steep flight of stairs leading to a cellar.
As Melissa tries in vain to save his life, she is sure she can hear voices nearby and suspects there is more to this accident than meets the eye. Why on earth was he trying to get down to the hotel’s private cellar? And why does the hotel manager seem so angry about it?
When the hotel floor plans deliver some unexpected revelations, Melissa is convinced that she’s dealing with a murder. But when all of your suspects are actors, how can you tell the good liars from the bad? Can Melissa find the killer before the final curtain falls?
NB: This book was previously published as Exhaustive Enquiries.
First Release: 1993
Melissa Craig is enjoying winter in the Cotswolds, taking brisk walks through the snowy fields and basking in the winter sunshine. The only thing Melissa is plotting is her Christmas shopping.
But after the unexpected death of local writer Leonora Jewell, Melissa is asked to complete Leonora’s final book. However, on her first visit to the cottage, she finds a gruesome object overlooked by the police: a metal bar covered with dried blood.
Terrified, Melissa rushes to the nearest telephone box to call the police. But by the time they reach Leonora’s cottage, the murder weapon has mysteriously vanished.
With no murder weapon, the detective in charge of the case scoffs at Melissa’s suspicions. Furious and frustrated, Melissa focuses on finishing Leonora’s novel. But as she reads Leonora’s notes for the book, she starts to wonder… did Leonora accidentally plot out her own murder?
As Melissa does some investigating of her own, she uncovers some pretty suspicious local characters. But with the police unwilling to help, can Melissa solve this vicious crime alone? By hook, by crook, or by the book, Melissa must find the killers before they strike again…
This book was previously published as Deadly Legacy.
First Release: 1995
Melissa Craig is struggling with her new novel, so when the invitation arrives to visit a nearby country house for some writing time, she decides a bit of peace and quiet is just what she needs. The house is everything she could have hoped for, even if the staff do seem rather unsettled…
She has barely unpacked when the owner of the house persuades Melissa to investigate some threatening notes he has received. But before she can do any digging, he is found murdered in his own orchard.
As she starts to probe further, Melissa realizes that the dead man was universally disliked. Controlling, tight with money and nasty, he certainly made some enemies. But who could have hated him enough to resort to murder? His seemingly timid wife, the secretary with whom he previously had an affair or perhaps the gardener with an old secret?
With the police looking for an outsider, Melissa is sure the murderer is close at hand. But can she prove it? And can she unmask the killer before they strike again?
NB: This book was previously published as Malice Poetic.
First Release: 1995
Since her move to the country, Melissa Craig has become firmly established in village life. So, when one of the older residents fails to show up for a drinks party, Melissa goes to check on her. What she finds chills her to the bone: her dear neighbor has been murdered, and the killer has painted a hideous smile onto her face…
Melissa soon realizes that the death in her village bears the same trademark as a series of recent murders in the Cotswolds. When will The Smiler strike again?
With a dangerous killer on the loose, Melissa realizes she needs to solve this case quickly. But as she starts to look closely at the people around her, she realizes the killer may be closer to home than she could ever have imagined. What dark secrets are the villagers of Upper Benbury hiding? And can Melissa crack this deadly case before another life is taken?
NB: This book was previously published as Smiling at Death.
First Release: 1996
Murder is the very last thing on Melissa Craig’s mind when one of her neighbors pops in to complain loudly about a minor local robbery. She’s far too busy thinking about her next book…
But when the evening paper lands, there is a shocking headline. A young woman’s body has been found in the nearby woods, and it seems the local robbery may offer a crucial clue. Suddenly the whole village is talking about the murder, but none of Melissa’s neighbors have come forward to say they know who the victim is.
Convinced that the police have got the wrong end of the stick, Melissa can’t resist doing some more digging. When she finds a photograph of the dead girl at her former family home, she realizes this is the clue she needs, if only she can find out who took the picture…
Melissa finds an exciting new lead and rushes to follow it. But might she be walking into a trap? Can she work out the truth before she puts herself in harm’s way?
NB: This book was previously published as The Cherry Pickers.
First Release: 1998
Melissa Craig has settled into a new job in the charming Cotswolds village of Upper Benbury. She is teaching French to several of the local teenagers, which gives her a fascinating insight into the young people’s lives. Material for a new novel perhaps…
Her quiet life is interrupted when she sees her new neighbor running out of the woods in a blind panic. Melissa rushes to help him, but what she finds leaves her breathless: the body of young woman is lying on the bank of the river.
When suspicion falls on Melissa’s neighbor, a man with a difficult past trying to make a new start, Melissa feels determined to prove his innocence. With the village in turmoil, and the police sure they’ve got their man, she must act quickly.
As she interviews the local residents, she realizes there are several sinister characters lurking inside those charming Cotswold cottages… Could one of them have hurt Cissie? Was it the strange old man with a cottage near the river? Or the ailing ex-choirmaster with quite an eye for the ladies?
When Melissa Craig decides to get her teeth into a case, she doesn’t let go – nothing will stop her from solving this murder. Can she prove the innocence of her new friend? And will she unearth the culprit before another young life is taken?
NB: This book was previously published as The Man at the Window.
First Release: 2000
Melissa has just finished writing her latest mystery novel and is enjoying the arrival of spring. She’s decided to let her fictional detective retire at last, and perhaps put her own days of investigating behind her too. But the ink has barely dried on the page when Melissa receives shocking news: her estranged father has been found dead in the family home and her mother, Sylvia, is under suspicion of murder.
Melissa hasn’t seen her parents for nearly thirty years, but on hearing the dreadful news she rushes to her mother’s side. Melissa is sure that Sylvia could never commit a murder, but Sylvia does seem to be keeping secrets…
With no-one else to turn to, Sylvia begs Melissa to investigate the case. Melissa knows her father was a difficult man, but now she needs to work out who wanted him dead… A disgruntled employee, the controlling family lawyer or perhaps the woman with whom he was having an affair?
When another body is found, Melissa realizes she’s dealing with a ruthless killer. As the police close in, trying to pin both deaths on her mother, Melissa must act fast. Can she find a way to unmask the true killer before she loses her mother for a second time, and possibly forever?
NB: This book was previously published as The Fourth Suspect.
First Release: 2001
Melissa couldn’t be happier that summer has arrived. She’s delighted to have her mother
back by her side, and she is extending her beloved Hawthorn Cottage so her new family can live together.
Meanwhile, Melissa’s mother Sylvia is back in good health and enjoying a brief stay at a stately retirement home. She loves getting to know the residents, until first a dog and then his owner are both found dead in the dining room. Like mother, like daughter, Sylvia decides to do a little investigating of her own.
Convinced that the deaths are suspicious, Sylvia starts probing her fellow residents, trying to find out who might have wanted the dog and its owner dead. Could it be the once-married couple, or the glamorous actors or the harassed manager of the home?
When one of Sylvia’s friends falls ill in suspicious circumstances, Melissa realizes her mother has rattled someone, but who? And what happens if the killer realizes they’ve been rumbled? Will Sylvia find herself meeting a villain in the dining room? And can Melissa find the culprit before another life is taken?
NB: This book was previously published as No Laughing Matter.
First Release: 2003
Melissa Craig is thrilled that summer has arrived. She has decided to give up her career as an amateur sleuth and enjoy a quiet life in her beautiful cottage. The only digging in Melissa’s life now happens in her garden.
However, when a keen beekeeper is found dead, covered in multiple stings, her new resolve is tested. As she gets to know the family of the dead man, she realizes he was no saint. Could someone have possibly wanted him dead? Could this be a very clever murder?
As Melissa starts to probe the victim’s friends and acquaintances, another member of the family is also stung to death. Who could have turned the bees against their keeper? And when will they strike again?
With the residents of Upper Benbury now fearful to open their windows to the summer air, and the police treating the deaths as accidental, Melissa must solve this case herself. To find the killer with the sharpest sting, she may have to delve deep into the hive…
NB: This book was previously published as Sweet Venom.
First Release: 2004
Sukey Reynolds Series
"Meet Sukey Reynolds: proud mother, wonderful cook…and police photographer turned amateur detective."
Years ago, Sukey was hoping to become a detective but life took a different turn. Now she’s happy to be involved with the local police force, as long as she still gets to work the occasional murder case...
When Sukey arrives to photograph the body of Lorraine Chant, the beautiful wife of a wealthy businessman, she’s baffled. At first, it looks like a botched burglary, as the huge family safe has been left wide open and empty. But why does Lorraine’s rich husband claim nothing was taken? And what is he not telling the police?
Deciding to do a little investigating of her own, things take a darker turn for Sukey when she is set upon by a shady figure. What do they think she knows? As Sukey finds herself in the firing line, can she expose the true killer before it’s too late?
NB: This book was previously published as An Inconsiderate Death.
First Release: 1997
Police photographer Sukey Reynolds is called to investigate a seemingly routine break-in at the beautiful Dearley Manor estate, but when she arrives, she is shocked to find the body of someone she knows all too well. The owner of Dearley Manor is none other than the wealthy woman whom Sukey’s husband, Paul Reynolds, left her for…And she has been brutally murdered.
With her close personal connection, Sukey is officially pulled off the case. But as the police close in on Paul, convinced he is guilty, Sukey realizes she has no choice but to try and prove his innocence. He may not have been the world’s best husband, but he’s no killer.
As she starts to dig around the dead woman’s history, Sukey realises she was certainly no saint, and many of her neighbours might have wanted the late owner of Dearley Manor out of the way…
When yet another woman on the Dearley Estate is found dead, Sukey fears that anyone who knows too much about the troubled family is in danger from a ruthless murderer. Can she prove Paul’s innocence before it’s too late? And will she be able to nail this brutal killer before another life is taken?
First Release: 1998
Police photographer Sukey Reynolds is looking forward to a quiet weekend gardening at home, when she gets a call that there has been a shocking break-in at a local manor house. Once she begins to gather evidence, Sukey realizes that this is the latest in a spate of well-crafted burglaries in the Cotswolds. Someone is targeting expensive houses with valuable art collections…
Thankfully, the police soon have a suspect in custody. But, during questioning, he suddenly catches a glimpse of Sukey, turns deathly pale and calls out to her. Sukey is sure she has never met this man before…Is this a bizarre joke, or is there a stranger out there who is Sukey’s perfect double in every way?
Just as Sukey begins to suspect she’s being followed, the police are baffled by a spate of local murders. With the body count rising, and the police unsure of where to turn, is Sukey herself a clue in this strange case? Can she unmask the killer before she becomes the next victim?
NB: This book was previously published as Copycat.
First Release: 1999
Sukey Reynolds is photographing the scene of a burglary at Burwell Farm for the police, when she finds herself drawn to the crumbling building and peaceful surroundings. Burwell Farm doesn’t grow crops or raise animals, but as a retreat, the owners do make some extraordinary claims about healing the soul…
But before Sukey can get too intrigued, she’s called to another break-in at the house of a young widow, whose husband spent a great deal of time at… Burwell Farm. Sukey starts to wonder if there is something more sinister going on behind the perfectly manicured lawns…
After her police colleagues refuse to take her suspicions seriously, Sukey decides the time has come to do some sleuthing on her own. But who is the thorn in the rose garden? Is it the beautiful receptionist, the gardener with a secret to hide, or perhaps the leader who inspires such devotion?
Then someone is murdered in the garden of Burwell Farm while she is there and Sukey realizes she has landed herself in deep water. Can Sukey solve the mystery that has blighted this stunning house? And can she catch the killer before they turn on her?
NB: This book was previously published as Touch Me Not.
First Release: 2001
Sukey Reynolds is enjoying a quiet period at work, taking time to get her garden in hand, catch up on some cooking and spend time with her son. Murder is the last thing on her mind…
But when she is called to the charming Ivy House to photograph the dead body of a young woman, Sukey feels compelled to drop everything and do all she can to shed light on this baffling mystery. And whilst collecting evidence at a nearby hotel which had a break-in around the same time as the murder, she starts to wonder if the two cases might be linked.
The manager just happened to let slip that one of her guests went white as a sheet after reading about the death and disappeared shortly afterwards. The very same guest whose room was broken into…Sukey has a shrewd suspicion about who this man might be, and she fears he too could be in danger.
Although she voices her theories, her detective colleagues are in no mood for any more of her amateur sleuthing. Sukey realizes that if she wants to pursue her lead, she’ll have to do it alone. When Sukey agrees to a secret meeting by a remote river, has she made a terrible mistake? Has the killer lured her into the woods and into a trap?
NB: This book was previously published as Dirty Work.
First Release: 2003
Sukey Reynolds is delighted that summer has arrived, her garden is in glorious form, and the long, warm days give her a chance to enjoy the countryside, and even play a bit of tennis. The only digging she plans to do is in her flowerbeds.
But then Sukey is called to photograph the scene of what appears to be a tragic accident. Arthur Soames, a retired school teacher, fell to his death from the ornate iron staircase above his perfectly manicured lawn. But when the police notify his family, they are adamant that this is no accident…
Is this summer’s day turning out to be curiously chilly?
When Arthur’s daughter won’t leave the police in peace, Sukey reluctantly agrees to help put her mind to rest. As she starts to poke about in the dead man’s past, she realizes he was keeping secrets, and several people might well have wanted him dead. But who would resort to murder? Could it have been Arthur’s enchanting fiancée, a sullen ex-student or maybe a nettled neighbor?
An old address written on a small piece of paper is the clue that Sukey needs, but can she convince her police colleagues that this death on a summer morning was no accident and solve this baffling mystery at last?
NB: This book was previously published as Deadly Obsession.
First Release: 2004
Sukey Reynolds is treasuring the late summer sun, taking long walks in the countryside, and enjoying the golden views across the Cotswold hills. At home, she’s busy cooking up feasts for her growing teenage son – amateur sleuthing is definitely off the menu.
When she is called to photograph a crumbling manor, the day suddenly turns cold. In the charming garden, the body of beautiful Una May has been discovered, and all fingers are pointed at the tempestuous owner of the house, who was overheard arguing with Una that morning…
But who is the rotten apple in this beautiful orchard?
The party was supposed to celebrate a painting of the residents and staff. When the picture is found slashed, the police close in on the landowner, but Sukey is sure they are barking up the wrong tree, and she decides to do a bit of snooping. Which likeness hides a villain? Could it be the lustful lord, the aloof artist or perhaps the heartbroken housekeeper?
Despite her sleuthing, Sukey is no closer to catching Una May’s killer, until she finds a pair of shoes covered in mud from the orchard. With the police convinced they’ve caught the right man, Sukey must solve this baffling case alone. But to find the killer holding the poisonous fruit, she may have to delve deep into the garden…
NB: This book was previously published as Party to Murder.
First Release: 2005
When Sukey Reynolds receives news of a death at the elegant Mariners Hotel, she is intrigued. Who could possibly have wanted to hurt Dr Whistler, a shy and retiring archaeology professor? The dusty documents he was carrying couldn’t possibly be of value, could they?
You would never expect this sophisticated establishment to be home to murder. What secrets are hiding inside the charming Mariners Hotel?
Sukey’s superiors are convinced that Dr Whistler’s visitor is his killer, but Sukey isn’t so sure and decides to do a little side-sleuthing. Someone in the hotel has a secret, but who is it? The bewildered bellboy, the meddlesome manager or the reclusive receptionist?
A mysterious phone call leads Sukey to the truth, but as the rookie in the team, will anyone believe she has what it takes to solve this baffling mystery?
NB: This book was previously published as Alpha, Beta, Gamma…Dead.
First Release: 2007
Sukey Reynolds is invited to an evening at her local library to hear Jennifer Cottrell, a noted novelist, speak about her latest book. But instead of an interesting event attended by the author’s fans, a woman in the audience, Wendy Downie, accuses Jennifer of killing her lover. Before a shocked Sukey can go after her, she flees into the night. The very next day, Jennifer is found dead…
The police chase after Wendy, convinced she must have attacked Jennifer. But they find that she too has been killed – in the grounds of Jennifer’s beautiful manor. Why was she at Jennifer’s house? Are all of their suspects going to disappear?
With the police running around in circles, Sukey decides to do some sleuthing on her own. Looking closely at Jennifer’s household and acquaintances, Sukey wonders who could have wanted her dead? The homely housekeeper, the gloomy groundsman or the secretive secretary?
A dog’s lead and a pair of dirty boots direct Sukey to the truth, but will she be able to let her detective colleagues know who the culprit is, before the devious villain realizes they’ve been rumbled?
NB: This book was previously published as Smokescreen.
First Release: 2008
Sukey Reynolds is back from holiday, feeling happy and relaxed. She and a friend have been touring the French coast, enjoying the wine and cheese, and soaking up the sun in Brittany. She has barely unpacked her bags when she is sent back to the seaside but, this time, not for fun…
Sukey arrives at the charming coastal town of Clevedon, where a woman’s body has been washed up on the sandy beach. Her identity is a mystery, but Sukey is determined to find out how she ended up there and who exactly she is.
The police are at their wits’ end, and with no leads or suspects, Sukey decides to leaf through old cases. She is shocked to realise this woman is not the first to turn up on the shore and even finds a link between the cold cases: several of the murder suspects had the same decorative tattoo inked on their skin. After some further investigating, she realizes the distinctive symbol means ‘death’.
Her superiors scoff at her theory, so it’s up to Sukey to prove them wrong and find the devious killer herself. From tattoo parlors to the music halls, she has no shortage of places to investigate. But can she uncover the true culprit, and the identity of the mystery woman, before they strike again?
NB: This book was previously published as A Fool There Was.
First Release: 2009
The warm summer weather is giving Sukey Reynolds a chance to enjoy the stunning English countryside around her new home. She has met a handsome local journalist, and there might be a new romance on the cards.
Everything is quiet at work too. So when the village doctor calls, saying he is sure there is something fishy about one of his patients’ deaths, Sukey follows up his claims. Well-liked and kindly Adelaide Minchin was found by her milkman, and appears to have died in a fall. Sukey can find no evidence to the contrary, but promises the doctor she will keep his theory in mind.
Meanwhile, the police force is suddenly very busy after two young girls go missing in the very same village. It’s all hands on deck to bring them home safely, but as Sukey investigates the last place the girls were seen, she realizes it was very close to Adelaide’s cottage…Is it possible that the cases are linked?
Sukey’s colleagues are not convinced by her hunch, so she does some sleuthing in her spare time, determined to prove them wrong. In the close-knit village she has no shortage of possible suspects: was it the benevolent builders, the frazzled new father or the muddled milkman…? And can she find the real culprit, and bring the girls back home, before any more innocent lives are lost?
NB: This book was previously published as Miss Minchin Dies.
First Release: 2010
It’s been a quiet few weeks on the crime front in Somerset and Sukey Reynolds is starting to wonder if all the villains have gone on holiday. Although Sukey loves solving crimes, she’s happy to have a bit of extra time to spend with the handsome journalist who lives just around the corner…
But when she is summoned to charming Sycamore House it seems that Sukey has tempted fate. Sitting amongst well-tended grounds bordered by trees, with a view of rolling hills in the distance, this stylish set of apartments is usually home to little more than spirited disagreements between members of the neighborhood committee. Until the body of Fenella Tremaine, one of their residents, is discovered by the caretaker in the garden…
The police quickly close in on Marcus Ellerman, a neighbor and colleague of Fenella’s, with whom she often crossed swords, both in and out of the office. When his distinctive ornamental dagger is found to be the murder weapon, the case seems closed.
But Sukey has a hunch that the police are barking up the wrong tree and decides to dig deeper into Fenella’s past. Sukey’s investigations turn up an estranged daughter, Fenella’s secret affair with the owner of a local care home, and a neighbor’s cat with a sixth sense for danger. But who is the killer? Can Sukey unmask the true villain of Sycamore House, before any more lives are lost?
NB: This book was previously published as Unnatural Wastage.
First Release: 2012
Spring has arrived in the Bristol countryside and Sukey Reynolds is enjoying the fine weather and lovely views from her quaint apartment. She has found love with an intrepid crime reporter, and they are busy planning a romantic weekend in London. During her time away she is determined to avoid any more amateur sleuthing.
But life is never quiet for Sukey and one night before her holiday she is summoned to the charming Dallington Manor, a country house hotel nestled on the coast in Sandy Bay. She arrives at the starlit grounds to find a terrible tragedy has occurred. Lance Rainbird, a guest at a weekend gathering, has been discovered murdered in the lake.
Her superiors close in on a suspect, the man who hosted the party, but Sukey can’t shake the feeling that they’ve got this case completely wrong. During her weekend in the city, she follows a hunch, pokes around Rainbird’s house and finds an address book that might just be the golden ticket to clearing an innocent man and nailing the true villain.
As Sukey examines Rainbird’s acquaintances, she finds old flames, combative colleagues and an estranged brother, but no one with an obvious motive for murder. He had a reputation for being difficult, but who could have wanted him dead? Then Sukey finds a name in the address book that shouldn’t be there. Suddenly she knows who the killer is, but can she convince her boss he’s got the wrong suspect before it’s too late?
NB: This book was previously published as The Scent of Death.
First Release: 2014