Author: Lesley Cookman
Publisher: Accent Press, 2011
Paperback, 362 pages
Genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, #2 Libby Sarjeant mystery
Source: Purchased at The Poisoned Pen.
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.