Libby Forest was trapped for years in an abusive marriage, and after her husband dies, she takes some of the money from the sale of their house and buys a cottage in Exham on Sea, a small inbred coastal town. She is determined to become part of the local community and hopes eventually to open a patisserie and chocolate shop. In the meantime, she is writing a cookbook, on the verge of being overdue at her editors, and is working part time in local bakery.
One night, dog-walking walking along the beach near the lighthouse, Libby discovers the body of a woman, whom the police believe to be a suicide. The woman, Susie Bennett, has deep ties to Exham by Sea, and Libby has a suspicion it wasn’t a suicide. When an older woman, who knew Susie and her secrets, is found dead at the bottom of her stairs, Libby becomes convinced this was also a murder, and the game’s afoot. During her investigation, Libby, as an outsider, has the predictable run-ins with the locals and finds her husband left her one last nasty gift.
Exham by Sea is populated with wonderful characters, among them: Mandy, the teenage Goth who works at the bakery; Bert Parson, her abusive father; Detective Sergeant Joe Ramshore, pompous and opinionated; his father, the secretive Joe Ramshore, who could become the love in Libby’s life; Samantha Watson, the town’s snobby intellectual and a fashionably dressed solicitor; Bear, an enormous Carpathian sheepdog; and Libby’s own Fuzzy, a marmalade cat who takes an unusual liking to Bear. There are more, but I will leave you to discover them.
Along with her cakes and chocolates, Libby discovers for the first time her talent for solving mysteries, and the killer was not guessed by me until the very end (and I pride myself on guessing whodunits).
The only drawback to this truly cozy read was the fact that the story jumped in time and place without either fleurons or introductory phrases to indicate the jump. This left me rather confused at first, until I was on the lookout for them. Overall, a minor flaw.
Short, engaging and challenging…I highly recommend Murder at the Lighthouse.
In addition to historical mystery romances, Frances Evesham has written books on speech and language, and parenting and communication, which she can practice with her growing collection of grandsons.
She’s been a speech therapist, a professional communication expert as well as road sweeper. She has also worked in the criminal courts. Now, she walks in the country and breathes sea air in Somerset. For fun, she collects Victorian ancestors and historical trivia, likes to smell the roses, lavender and rosemary, and cooks with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chilies in the other.
You can find Frances at: http://francesevesham.com/ and
and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frances.evesham.writer
You can find Murder at the Lighthouse on Amazon:
And on Goodreads: