Monday, April 29, 2024

Death Under a Little Sky by Stig Abell

First Line: It is a long way, as the heron flies, between lights in this part of the countryside.
Inheriting his uncle's property out in the country allows police detective Jake Jackson to retire and make a new life for himself away from London. 
Although the amenities in his new home are sparse, the landscape is stunning, and his neighbors may be a bit eccentric, but they're friendly and invite him to join their annual treasure hunt.
When the hunt turns up a young woman's bones, Jake is pulled back into the role of detective and he's soon on the trail of a dangerous killer hiding in what Jake had thought to be a rural idyll.
The pace of Death Under a Little Sky may be slow and deliberate, but I fell under the story's spell just the same. Stig Abell's tale is atmospheric, lyrical, and completely in tune with the natural world. 
The land that Jake Jackson inherits is beautiful, and as he wanders the fields and bathes in the lake, he begins naming parts of it after crime writers. (There's Morse Field and Poirot Point, for example.) The house may not have a bath or shower... or a washing machine or a dryer, but its library is any crime fiction reader's idea of paradise.

Readers follow along with Jake as he becomes acquainted with his land as well as the people in the nearby village. Some of them are friendly, like Dr. Peter, who "emerges from his house, as always like an animal from a burrow," but some folks eye him with suspicion. In fact, I found that village to be rather claustrophobic. As I walked with Jake down its main street, I felt the hair stand on the back of my neck. (How's that for getting drawn into a story?)

I enjoyed getting to know the cast of characters surrounding Jake, especially Livia the veterinarian and her daughter Diana, Chief Inspector Gerald Watson, and Sarah the pub owner. However, I can see that, if you find that you don't particularly care for Jake, you're probably not going to like the book. He is center stage almost all the time.
When the identity of the killer finally dawned on me, I swear someone should have been able to see the light bulb turn on above my head. From the marvelous setting to the main character to the mystery itself, all I can say is that I'm certainly looking forward to seeing Jake again.

Death Under a Little Sky by Stig Abell
eISBN: 9780063381070
HarperCollins © 2024
eBook, 352 pages
Literary Mystery, #1 Jake Jackson mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. I love stories with a strong sense of place like that, Cathy. And sometimes those 'slow burn' stories end up keeping you reading long past your bedtime, so to speak. And I love it that there are hat tips to other crime novels. I can see why this drew you in.

    1. I was hooked and kept reading long after I intended to stop.

  2. My book group discussed this recently, at my suggestion. I loved the character study that was the result of the slow start you mentioned, and appreciated the author's attention to details such as the heron in that opening line, and its recurrence as the story continues.

    Some of our book club members felt that there wasn't much of a mystery, and that the solution didn't have enough early groundwork for support. I didn't have that problem, and found the mystery to unfold in a more modern version of one of Charles Todd's Ian Rutledge cases. I'm curious to see how the next book will work with this isolated community after the impact of the events in this story.

    1. That's what I'm interested in finding out-- how the next book works with this isolated community.

  3. This one really appeals to me. I've already got it on my TBR list, but I'm very glad to know you liked it so much. :D


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!