Capable of Murder by Brian Kavanagh. Available from BeWrite Books at Smashwords.com.
Summary: “The old lady’s decaying body lay at the foot of the stairs. The police believe it was simply an accidental fall that killed great-aunt Jane. But was it? Young Australian, Belinda Lawrence is convinced it was murder and when she inherits her great-aunt’s ancient cottage and garden on the outskirts of Bath, England, she finds herself deep in a taut mystery surrounding her legacy.”
A murder mystery, in an old English cottage, with a female protagonist!? When I read the description of this book, I bought it immediately. I have a soft spot for all these components, if you didn’t already know that. Bonus points if it has codes but that’s another discussion altogether…
Belinda’s elderly great-aunt Jane falls down the stairs in her cottage and dies before passing on some seemingly important piece of information. Distant relative Belinda travels to Bath at her great-aunt’s request, discovers the dead body, and ends up inheriting the house and moving in for good. Some strange neighbors and villagers seemingly aid Belinda’s investigation, but none of them are trustworthy.
A big part of this novel is gardening and botanical talk and it gives the novel a pleasant little quirk, especially paired with a murder mystery. Someone who knows more about gardening than I do will take more away from that facet of the book, but I found it enjoyable all the same. It wouldn’t be necessary to have any prior knowledge.
The interactions between the characters, especially Belinda and the various males she encounters are unnatural in a couple of places. The plot isn’t really affected by this but it did cause me a couple of “pshaw!” moments.
The Bottom Line: The book is a nice read, it’s not too intense, and it’s a good whodunit you can take to the beach this summer.