Set in a fictional north-Cornish village, with a pseudo-sixties timeline, this cosy mystery novel is the first book in a new series by prolific author Carola Dunn. This novel introduces us to Eleanor Trewynn, a widow who previously travelled the world working for an international charity, who has returned to Cornwall and has settled in the picturesque village of Port Mabyn. Eleanor lives above a charity shop with her charming West Highlands terrier Teazle and spends her days driving around her corner of Cornwall collecting donations and items to sell in the charity shop.
|Port Isaac, Cornwall|
It is during one of these outings that she discovers that a briefcase filled with jewellery has been deposited in her car. Later she discovers the body of a teenager in the charity shop's storeroom and realises that the briefcase is gone, although she had the foresight to stow away the jewellery in her own safe. The mystery revolves around identifying the victim and unravelling the motive for murder, not to mention the mystery behind the generous donation of jewellery.
This is a smooth, comforting read with enough references to Cornish places to please and create the appropriate atmosphere. It is peopled with likeable characters such as the indomitable vicar's wife, the dotty vicar, a witty artist as a next-door-neighbour and Eleanor's niece, Megan, who works for the Cornish Police in Launceston. The grumpy Superintendent Scumble's frustration and sarcasm in dealing with Eleanor's constant forgetfulness and woolly thinking raises a few chuckles. We are also reminded that women police officers were not the norm at that time and it is interesting to observe how Megan deals with prejudice and misogyny as she goes about her duties.