The Windermere Witness (The Lake District Mysteries Book1) Rebecca Tope

The Windermere Witness-RThis author and her long titles are taking up an awful amount of space on this blog. I have not finished the Cotswolds series yet so why am I trying this? To see what Rebecca can do with a different heroine. This time its Persimmon (“Simmy”) Brown, who has set up as a florist, trading as ‘Persimmon Petals’ from a shop in Windermere’s main street. She is supplying flowers for a society wedding. The Wedding Party includes a cast of characters who would be entirely at home in a Victorian romance. The bride’s brother disappears just before the ceremony begins, and his body is later found floating in the lake.

Persimmon grew on me (like ivy). With each passing page I could empathize more with her. The same was true of the two characters who support (and occasionally propel) her in the search for truth – Melanie, her part time assistant, and Ben, with whom she witnesses the second murder in the tale. The local police drift in and out of the story, and are never portrayed as lacking in competence. It’s difficult to say more about the plot without the risk of spoiling the enjoyment of potential readers, so I’ll stick to generalities

The characters are generally well-drawn, though inevitably one or two are less convincing than the rest. The friends of the groom attract suspicion, and it seems probable that one or more of them is involved in the crime, but the identity of the perpetrator (or perpetrators) is well concealed until the closing chapters. On the whole, the book was an undemanding but surprisingly satisfying read, and I don’t think potential readers will be disappointed.

However, I’m not sure that I’ll read the subsequent books in this series. Though I read a wide range of crime writing, I like my reading matter to maintain a degree of credibility, and though in this instance I could accept the amateur involvement, I would find it hard to swallow involvement of the same characters in future crimes. Yes, I know it’s all fiction anyway – it’s just the way I feel. There seemed to be an insufficiency of clues.

The final dénouement seems more akin to the revelation of who is in love with whom, rather than who wielded the murder weapon. Overall, ‘The Windermere Witness’ is an enjoyable, if unchallenging read and on that basis I recommend it, subject only to the handful of minor qualifications above.

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