Murder in an English Village

Written by Jessica Ellicott
Review by Wendy Zollo

Edwina Davenport lives in the cozy English village of Walmsley Parva. With her comfortable living affected so bleakly by the aftermath of WWI, she’s compelled to advertise for a lodger. Beryl Helliwell, a famous, thrill-seeking journeyer and also her former classmate, answers, with thoughts of finally living a life of tranquility and discretion. And so their needs should be met; however, Walmsley Parva is a village of hidden truths and murder. Edwina and Beryl set out to unravel the mystery along with a fabulous cast of characters, including the gossipmonger of a postmistress, a war veteran with unhealed wounds, and a lady of the manor. All are very English and subjected to the wiles of a proper, demure Edwina and the brash impulsiveness of her American friend.

In this, the first of a planned series, the plot is simple, even naïve, but in the best way. It is very much an English cozy mystery. The origin of the tale in Murder in an English Village is anything but organic. Its concept is forced, its initial tone contrived, but as the plot moves forward its flow becomes more natural. The writing is splendid, and this twosome is likable if not yet fully developed. It is a good, comfortable read which will probably not keep you guessing, but you’ll enjoy the ride and look forward to more of Beryl and Edwina.