Thursday, November 17, 2011

Murder at the Laurels by Lesley Cookman

Title: Murder at the Laurels
Author: Lesley Cookman
ISBN: 9781905170845
Publisher: Accent Press, 2011
Paperback, 362 pages
Genre: Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, #2 Libby Sarjeant mystery
Rating: B-
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.


  1. I love cozies. Do you think I should read the first before this book?

  2. Cathy - Thanks for this thoughtful review (as ever!). This one sounds like a cosy with some "edge" to it and I like that. Thanks for pointing me towards it.

  3. This sounds so good.

    THANKS for the review.

  4. Mary-- Since I'm a character-driven reader, you'll always find me recommending reading the series in order, but to be honest, you really don't have to in this case. It had been 2-3 years since I read the first book in this series, but the author had such a smooth transition from one book to the next that I wasn't confused a bit.

    Margot-- You're welcome!

    Elizabeth-- I hope you get the chance to read a book in this series!

  5. Dorte-- I thought you might be!

  6. Mystica-- Go ahead... get it and read it. You know you want to!

  7. I say! What a great review - thank you so much. It came up on a Google alert, or I would never have known. The ninth Libby book, Murder At The Manor, has just been published in the UK, with the tenth to follow next June. I hope you all enjoy the rest of the series, and thank you, Cathy, for spreading the word!

  8. Lesley-- You're welcome. Thank you for stopping by!


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