|Hate Bale, A rural cosy mystery by Stephanie Dagg|
Hate Bale by Stephanie Dagg
Grumbling guests and escaping piglets are precisely what Martha doesn’t need. She’s already struggling to run a holiday cottage and a rather large smallholding single-handedly. Since her husband Mark died, three years ago, her rural property in France, beautiful as it is, has become an increasingly heavy millstone around her neck.
So whilst she’s horrified to stumble across a corpse at the local farm supplies shop, it does at least distract her from her own woes. Best friend Lottie, the cheese to Martha’s chalk, swoops in to offer moral support, and encourages Martha to join her in some unofficial sleuthing. Meanwhile, police officer Philippe Prudhomme, a former fellow chess-player of Mark’s, undertakes a rather more professional investigation.
However, despite everyone’s efforts the killer remains at large. And when more bodies (one and a bit, to be precise) come Martha’s way, it definitely feels like he’s closing in on her…
There’s suspense, humour and excitement in this entertaining cosy mystery set in the French countryside.
I’ve been a fan of Stephanie’s writing for a number of years and I know I will be entertained, find myself at the heart of a rural French community and pick up a few new words along the way too. This book was no exception. The characters were great fun; from frazzled Martha who seemed to have developed a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, to Mrs Miserable, the impossible-to-please gîte guest, as well as ever-present Officer Prudhomme and larger-than-life Lottie, the friend who always looks out for her despite their many differences.
With a never-ending list of jobs to do on her smallholding and the needs and whims of her gîte guests to be catered for, the last thing Martha needs is for bodies to begin mounting up around her. Even if she has nothing to do with them, it is a worry, and the increased police presence is beginning to bother the guests. It was easy to feel sorry for Martha, but at the same time it was nice to witness her making the first steps towards her new life without her husband.
Despite the sometimes grizzly circumstances, there were lots of funny moments to laugh along with, plus a who-dunnit mystery to be solved and a hint of romance, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Hate Bale is another great read from Stephanie and would be perfect for those of you who enjoy visiting the ‘real’ France in the pages of your summer holiday reads.
I'm an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie of animals, has made for exciting times. The current array of creatures ranges from alpacas to zebra finches, with pretty much everything in-between! Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it's been a steep learning curve.
I'm married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.
I'm a traditionally-published author of many children's books, and am now self-publishing too. As well as being an author, I’m also a part-time editor and, with Chris, manager of three carp fishing lakes. My hobbies are cycling, geocaching, knitting and sewing.