Murder on the Village Green by Penelope Sotheby
It’s a fact of life that if you enjoy reading cozy mysteries, you have to put aside some expectations of reality, or else you’re going to be continually disappointed.
And, for the most part, I can do that. Amateur sleuth finding one dead body after another? Ok, I’ll swallow that. Amateur sleuth better at solving murders than the local cop? Sure, it could happen. Local copper divulges sensitive information important to the investigation just between them? Whatever.
But once in a while, I find a book pushes those limits just a little to far.
And then you have Murder on the Village Green. As if the third person voice wasn’t bad enough (“Diane decided she would go to the store and then make brownies.” “Diane felt she should do a fingertip search of the murder scene because the local constabulary couldn’t possibly handle that.” Paraphrasing, of course, but not far from it.) But no, it didn’t stop there. The main character, the widow of a Scotland Yard detective, imperiously believes that the local cops can’t possibly sort this out on their own, and then is scandalously outraged when the local copper brushes her off. She promptly marches back to her cottage to have a good sulk while typing up a 4 page statement that describes how she came to find the corpse and all the busybody things she did to make herself feel important.
The main character, Diane, is apparently an aspiring author and regularly has a friend come over to read what she has written, an event they have named Mead and Mystery, because they sip wine and eat brownies.. Ugh. Between the ego stroking and the presumption that she is better at solving murders because she was married to a Scotland Yard detective, she comes off as a tiresome old shrew. By the time she was kidnapped by the suspect, I was hoping she’d be dumped in a ditch somewhere.
All that aside, the plot is the only reason I gave this a star. Had it been developed more (and the pomposity toned down) this would’ve been a great book. The main theme, organ trafficking, hold a lot of fascination, if urban legends are anything to go by.
Overall, the biggest disappointment was how good this book could’ve been.