Murder in an English Village

Murder in an English Village

As friends, the boisterous and brash American Beryl couldn't be less alike than the prim and proper British Edwina. But as sleuths in an England recovering from the Great War, they're the perfect match . . .1920: Flying in the face of convention, legendary American adventuress Beryl Helliwell never fails to surprise and shock. The last thing her adoring public would expect...

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Title:Murder in an English Village
Author:Jessica Ellicott
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Murder in an English Village Reviews

  • Anna Lee Huber

    Absolutely delightful. Readers will fall in love with this intrepid new pair of sleuths as they sniff out the secrets hiding just beneath the surface of even the most unassuming English village.

  • Fred

    Murder In An English Village is the first book in the Beryl And Edwina Mystery series.

    It’s 1920 and Beryl Helliwell, an adventuress has decided that she needs a little peace and quiet and heads to her sleepy childhood village of Walmsley Parva. As she is looking through the local newspaper she notices an advertisement by her childhood friend, Edwina Davenport, for a genteel lodger. Beryl immediately motors over to her friends. She soon learns that Edwina has been having financial difficulties an

    Murder In An English Village is the first book in the Beryl And Edwina Mystery series.

    It’s 1920 and Beryl Helliwell, an adventuress has decided that she needs a little peace and quiet and heads to her sleepy childhood village of Walmsley Parva. As she is looking through the local newspaper she notices an advertisement by her childhood friend, Edwina Davenport, for a genteel lodger. Beryl immediately motors over to her friends. She soon learns that Edwina has been having financial difficulties and rumors are being spread around the village that she is destitute.

    Beryl comes up with a plan to put the rumors to rest about Edwina’s financial situation and heads to the business area of Walmsley Parva, seeking out gossip-monger, Prudence Rathbone. Beryl “lets it slip” that she and Edwina are secret agents for His Majesty and are doing top-secret work in Walmsley Parva, which they’re not, but know that word will be known by everyone in the village in a matter of seconds.

    That evening while Edwina is walking her dog in her garden, she is attacked and somebody tries to strangle her. Later Edwina and Beryl are discussing the event and begin to wonder if the story about they’re investigating something led to the attack on Edwina. The only thing mysterious that has happened in the village was the disappearance of Agnes Rollins, a well-liked young lady who had been working with the Land Army during the WWI at Wallingford Estate. Evidently, no in the village has heard from her and people aren’t sure if she is dead or alive.

    Beryl and Edwina set off to investigate the Rollins disappearance and have interviewed several people who were known to have had contact with her while she was working in the Land Army. Then, when a day maid from the village is found dead in a field at Wallingford Estate and Constable Gibbs rules it an accident. Beryl and Edwina saw evidence that they think clearly points to murder and they begin to believe that the two are related.

    The story is well-plotted and told story with an interesting cast of believable characters. The characters I enjoyed the most were Beryl and handyman Simpkins. Simpkins, a widower, will never appear on the cover of GQ, but he is a character to be reckoned with and even thought Edwina is aghast at him sitting at her dining room table with his dirty boots and clothes, she learns of a few admirable qualities. Even though Beryl seems to be a full steam ahead lady, one has to enjoy her take charge demeanor.

    This was a very enjoyable introduction to post WWI rural England and its residents. I will definitely be awaiting the next book in the series.

  • Mark Baker

    When Edwina’s funds get low enough, she starts advertising for a boarder. Fortunately for her, Beryl sees it. The two women, though very different, are boarding school friends, and this new living arrangement suits them both. But Beryl’s presence in Edwina’s small village creates some gossip, which Beryl fuels by hinting that the two women are actually employed by His Majesty. When someone tries to kill Edwina, the two realize there is a secret to uncover. What might it be?

    This book perfectly tr

    When Edwina’s funds get low enough, she starts advertising for a boarder. Fortunately for her, Beryl sees it. The two women, though very different, are boarding school friends, and this new living arrangement suits them both. But Beryl’s presence in Edwina’s small village creates some gossip, which Beryl fuels by hinting that the two women are actually employed by His Majesty. When someone tries to kill Edwina, the two realize there is a secret to uncover. What might it be?

    This book perfectly transports us back to 1920 and the English countryside. The repercussions of World War I are still there, and it is a fascinating look at how the war affected the rest of life. The British Edwina and American Beryl are very different, and their differences can be fun, yet they make a good detecting pair, and we feel the depth of their friendship. The plot is strong, keeping us surprised until the end.

    NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

    Read my full review at

    .

  • Cathy Daniel

    Such a charming and wonderful book!! I enjoyed it so much. Edwina & Beryl are so wonderful and such good friends to each other. I love the small post WW1 little English village and the going ons and characters. Great cozy. Can't wait for more!

  • Nicole

    Very nice start to (hopefully!!!) a new cozy series set in post-WWI rural England, with two longtime friends - Beryl the famous adventuress and Edwina the quiet spinster - as our lead heroines. The mystery was very well-written (lots of suspects!!!) and I really enjoyed the setting. Absolutely recommend to fans of English cozies! A+

  • Juli

    It's 1920. England is recuperating from The Great War. In the quiet village of Walmsley Parva, American Beryl Helliwell seeks rest, relaxation and escape from Prohibition. There will be no bathtub gin for Beryl Helliwell! Her former school chum, Edwina Davenport, advertises for a boarder and Beryl jumps on the chance. The English countryside is just what she needs. The only problem is that Beryl is quite vivacious, brash and well, just un-Edwinalike. Edwin is prim, proper and .... very British.

    It's 1920. England is recuperating from The Great War. In the quiet village of Walmsley Parva, American Beryl Helliwell seeks rest, relaxation and escape from Prohibition. There will be no bathtub gin for Beryl Helliwell! Her former school chum, Edwina Davenport, advertises for a boarder and Beryl jumps on the chance. The English countryside is just what she needs. The only problem is that Beryl is quite vivacious, brash and well, just un-Edwinalike. Edwin is prim, proper and .... very British. But all is not quite so simple and safe in Walmley Parva. Beryl mentions that she and Edwina will be looking into some shady dealings in the village....and maybe she even exaggerated a bit in her insinuations that they were in Her Majesty's Service.....but she didn't expect it to lead to Edwina being attacked. When the attack is followed by the murder of their housemaid.....well, things might not be all sunshine and roses in Walmsley Parva after all. Edwina and Beryl need to find out what's going on in their little village, before one or both of them end up dead.

    This unlikely duo makes for a fun cozy mystery. Their personalities are so different, but together they make quite the team. I liked the mix of humor and mystery. The story moves along at a nice pace and there were plenty of suspects. A few times I wanted to grab hold of Beryl and shake her....but other than that, loved the characters and the story! I can't wait to read about their further exploits!

    To find out more about the author, check out her website:

    **I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  • Gaele

    AudioBook Review:

    Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4

    Edwina Davenport couldn’t be more different from her school-friend, American adventuress Beryl Helliwell, but the proper Englishwoman Edwina needs both a friendship and the money that Beryl provides. Edwina had finally decided to advertise for a lodger, perfect timing for Beryl who wants a quieter pace, removed from her ‘always on show’ life. Seeing the advert, Beryl drives to Walmsley Parva, and reenters Edwina’s life with a bang, literally

    AudioBook Review:

    Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4

    Edwina Davenport couldn’t be more different from her school-friend, American adventuress Beryl Helliwell, but the proper Englishwoman Edwina needs both a friendship and the money that Beryl provides. Edwina had finally decided to advertise for a lodger, perfect timing for Beryl who wants a quieter pace, removed from her ‘always on show’ life. Seeing the advert, Beryl drives to Walmsley Parva, and reenters Edwina’s life with a bang, literally. But, claiming to want a quieter life, and actually achieving that goal, along with a fierce need to ‘protect’ her friend, Beryl drops hints that the two actually are working for His Majesty’s Service, looking into some shady happenings in the village, the story takes a series of twists that she never could have imagined.

    Such a clever set-up with laugh out loud moments from events and particularly the interactions and differences in style between Edwina and Beryl, they are soon faced with an attack on Edwina and their housemaid’s murder. Perhaps Beryl wasn’t too far off the mark when she suggested that all was not as it seemed in the little village. More considered and cautious Edwina contrasts nicely with Beryl’s more exuberant ‘grab an idea and go’ approach, which leads to several suspects of the moment, before the culprit and motive are found. Secondary characters, drawn in by Beryl’s almost childlike friendliness (she’s like a puppy where Edwina is more feline in her reserve) bring laugh out loud moments when Edwina’s sense of propriety clash with the very real and unfussy Simpkins, the slightly condescending Constable Gibbs and the other residents add layers of interest and a sense of village to the story. Fast-paced, intriguing and engaging, this is a lovely start to a new series with a touch of the times and sense of what was to add interest.

    Narration for this story is provided by Barbara Rosenblat, who epitomizes the reserve and proper Edwina easily, with a touch more youthful exuberance to Beryl that helps to bring their contrasting personalities and styles to the forefront. Secondary characters are presented with subtle changes in enunciation and pace, making them distinct in impressions as the visual imagery catches up to the listener: even without a ‘biographic’ detail of characters, one can hear the difference in social levels and education instantly. A lovely listen that kept the story moving forward without becoming confusing or rushing through important elements necessary to the solution.

    I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Recorded Books for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

    Review first appeared at

  • Linda Baker

    It's 1920 in England, the Great War is over, but it's devastating effects are still widespread and deeply felt. Beryl Helliwell, much-married and divorced aviatrix and adventurer has returned from her latest headline-grabbing escapade but is feeling at loose ends. While perusing the newspaper, she discovers an advertisement for a lodger in the home of Edwina Davenport in the quiet village of Walmsley Parva. Beryl may be an American, but she went to boarding school in England, and Edwina was her

    It's 1920 in England, the Great War is over, but it's devastating effects are still widespread and deeply felt. Beryl Helliwell, much-married and divorced aviatrix and adventurer has returned from her latest headline-grabbing escapade but is feeling at loose ends. While perusing the newspaper, she discovers an advertisement for a lodger in the home of Edwina Davenport in the quiet village of Walmsley Parva. Beryl may be an American, but she went to boarding school in England, and Edwina was her dearest friend. Beryl knows that nothing other than dire financial emergency would induce the spinster Edwina to place such an advertisement. It's Beryl to the rescue in her flashy red touring car. Besides, a bucolic village might be just the place for a rest. As all devotees of Miss Marple know, just about any evil can happen in an English village.

    Edwina's finances are as dire as Beryl suspected but still worse is the fact that the entire village knows it. The family home is deteriorating, she has had to let her already minimal help go except for an aging gardener, and she owes money to all the village shops. Beryl's solution is to settle Edwina's accounts and along the way spread the rumor that both she and Edwina are agents of the crown to the worst gossip in the village. This wacky tale backfires, however, when Edwina is attacked while out walking her dog. Who could have swallowed the wild tale whole and is afraid of what Edwina might know? Edwina thinks that it may be connected to the disappearance of a "Land Girl" working on a neighboring estate during the war. The local constable wrote it off as female flightiness, but Edwina pressed the issue as long as she could. The young woman in question had never shown any signs of irresponsibility. Bodies and suspects begin to pile up, with more possible motives than can be counted.

    Murder in an English Village is a delightful and often humorous cozy mystery. Edwina and Beryl are opposites in so many ways but still fast friends who complement each other. Well-grounded in historical fact, the novel takes a look at the many changes in social mores occurring at the time and lingering class-based prejudices. Barbara Rosenblat narrates the story with her mostly seamless switching between Beryl's American and British voices. I am looking forward to more of the adventures of these ladies of a "certain age."

    RATING- 4.5 Stars

  • Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)

    Another promising series for fans of cozy mysteries! This first book introduces us to friends Beryl and Edwina, who set out to solve a local murder. Beryl serves as the daring and brash friend, while Edwina is much more reserved. For fans of the Lady Hardcastle mysteries (though there’s less cheekiness in this). The local villagers weren’t quite as fleshed out as I would have liked, so I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series with the hope that we’ll get to know them more!

  • Dorothy Hodder

    If someone tried to choke you with your own scarf as you walked your dog in your own garden the night after a mischievous friend put it about that you and she were investigating shady dealings in bucolic Walmsley Parva, would you then start seriously investigating instead of calling the local police constable? If you discovered your housemaid obviously murdered and dumped in a muddy field, would you simply roll your eyes and investigate on your own when the admittedly closed-minded, incompetent

    If someone tried to choke you with your own scarf as you walked your dog in your own garden the night after a mischievous friend put it about that you and she were investigating shady dealings in bucolic Walmsley Parva, would you then start seriously investigating instead of calling the local police constable? If you discovered your housemaid obviously murdered and dumped in a muddy field, would you simply roll your eyes and investigate on your own when the admittedly closed-minded, incompetent police constable ruled the death accidental, instead of calling for a supervisor up the line in London? And if someone walked in your unlocked front door a couple of days later, bashed you on the back of your head as you sat at your desk, and stole the Great War-era ledgers and journals you were combing for clues, would you continue investigating instead of consulting Scotland Yard or at least paying more attention to locking up? And would you and your friend blithely continue to split up to cover more ground with your investigations, each of you walking alone into suspects' lairs and asking baldfaced leading questions, even after you had been attacked twice already? If not, you are obviously not ready to star as an amateur lady sleuth in a cozy English village mystery. Edwina Davenport and her American schoolgirl chum turned international adventuress Beryl Helliwell carry on intrepidly in the style of Miss Marple and Jessica Fletcher, and survive to uncover nefariousness and foil amateur thuggery another day in what one assumes may become a new series.

    I read an advance uncorrected edition.

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