Book Review | “Death Comes to the Village” (Book 1: of the Kurland St. Mary #mysteries) by Catherine Lloyd A Cosy Historical mystery you will surely find warmth inside and be thankful of your visit!

Posted Sunday, 7 December, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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Death Comes to the Village by Catherine Lloyd

Published By: Kensington Publishing Corp. ()
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book

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Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Death Comes to London” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I requested the first novel in the series to better understand the flow of continuity and the origins of the Kurland St. Mary mysteries series of which Kensington sent me a complimentary copy of “Death Comes to the Village”. I read both novels back to back for the blog tour and was not obligated to post a review for the first novel. I received a complimentary copy of “Death Comes to London” direct from the publisher Kensington Books, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Book Review | “Death Comes to the Village” (Book 1: of the Kurland St. Mary #mysteries) by Catherine Lloyd A Cosy Historical mystery you will surely find warmth inside and be thankful of your visit!Death Comes to the Village

Regency-set historical mystery, first in new series.

A wounded soldier and a rector's daughter discover strange goings-on in the sleepy village of Kurland St. Mary in Catherine Lloyd's charming Regency-set mystery debut.

Major Robert Kurland has returned to the quiet vistas of his village home to recuperate from the horrors of Waterloo. However injured his body may be, his mind is as active as ever. Too active, perhaps. When he glimpses a shadowy figure from his bedroom window struggling with a heavy load, the tranquil façade of the village begins to loom sinister. . .

Unable to forget the incident, Robert confides in his childhood friend, Miss Lucy Harrington. As the dutiful daughter of the widowed rector, following up on the major's suspicions offers a welcome diversion--but soon presents real danger. Someone is intent on stopping their investigation. And in a place where no one locks their doors, a series of thefts and the disappearance of two young serving girls demands explanation. . .

As Robert grapples with his difficult recovery, he and Lucy try to unearth the dark truth lurking within the village shadows, and stop a killer waiting to strike again...

Places to find the book:

Series: Kurland St. Mary Mysteries, No.1

Also in this series: Death Comes to London, Beneath Creek Waters

on 31st November, 2013

Format: Paperback

Pages: 288

About Catherine Lloyd

Catherine Lloyd

Catherine Lloyd grew up in London, England in the middle of a large family of girls. She quickly decided her imagination was a wonderful thing and was often in trouble for making stuff up. She finally worked out she could make a career out of this when she moved to the USA with her husband and four children and began writing fiction. With a background in historical research and a love of old-fashioned mysteries, she couldn’t resist the opportunity to wonder what a young Regency Miss Marple might be like, and how she would deal with a far from pleasant hero of the Napoleonic wars.

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My introduction of the key characters:

The charm of the cosy within is the cantankerous bloke who warms your heart whilst saying the most wild and unsettling of declarations! He’s at his honest wit’s end, and thereby, all the wildlife in his particular section of the world must be within his field of sight of being ousted out of their natural environment because they are interferring with his tranquility of slumberment! If it weren’t so dire of a picture to envision this war hero walking angst ridden through wood and thistle, it would be laughable because whom would suggest such a crazy thing? Owls surely hoot for good reasons, but on the upturnt it was his nature of voicing his vexations at these natural occurring consternations that endeared me on the upstart of the novel!

My very first impression (of which will not surprise most who know me) of Major Robert Kurland mirrored a direct twin of L.B. Jefferies (Jimmy Stuart’s fated voyeur photographer who catches a murderer red-handed in Rear Window!) The Major has returnt from the front of war with an ill-begotten injured leg, laid up (pent up most likely!), and finding every wince of a vice he can lay his mind upon! He charmed me with his crustacean countenance!

Lucy is a spitfire in her own right, but with less confidence in voicing her confluence of opinions, and relegates her resolve of still being under her father’s roof; thereby his rules of life. A rector’s daughter who replaced her dear Mum who died in childbirth, Lucy’s path in life is laid out like paving stones leading out of a garden. Everything expected of her without a want or will of her own regard, yet a slow burn of freedom knits into her bosom! Her age of youth is on her side, which gives the impression she’s a heap of a step towards endeavouring her own mind and heart like Jo March!

The one character who will irk your ire quite a heap isn’t the Major, for he is by far the best companion detective to Lucy, and thereby brings out the joy in reading this series, no by all accounts it is the rector! Lucy’s father has a tongue of thorns and an indifference of gratitude for his daughter’s selfless and tireless work to maintain a home rather than a house. She took charge of everything yet has gained nothing but discontempt back from the one person you’d have felt would sing her praises. I applaud the differences being rapt apparent between her father and the Major; as the Major appears to be to have become not necessarily a full-on surrogate father but he is in her stead of confidence for an advisor on life’s affairs. She trusts the Major and even that surprises her a bit, but it is the level of honesty between them which I believe has endeared them to each other.

My Review of Death Comes to the Village:

I appreciate an unlikely concerned citizen turnt amateur detective as a plausible segue back into civilian life after having returnt from battle! Major Kurland, I am quite sure would not consider himself one to be pitied nor one to be overlooked as a person whose contributions to his village were fulfilled. No! He is quite the feisty bloke whose spirit of curiosity gets the better of him but whose mind is sharp as tacks!

I felt immediately rejuvenated as Lucy took up the walk to the Major’s house, sent in errand by her father and without any hope of finding the entreaty to a reclusive war veteran’s house any mirth of joy. The walk itself was inspiring as being a lover of the outdoor world; too oft-times in modern times we take transportation out of urgency rather than necessity. The slower pace of a walk in transit to a visitation of a neighbour has such happiness within the act, it begs for the practice to be brought back into our own era.

As Lucy starts to initiate an enquiry into a maid’s sudden absence from under her charge at the rectory, her father pits her against her own best intentions of proving she has worth outside the substitute Mum she has become for her siblings; specifically her twin brothers. We get to see a side of Lucy outside the world her father endeavours to keep her tied down inside where she would not have a life of her own nor of her own choosing. Getting to meet her good friend Sophia whilst being presented with an offer to attend a London Season had my heart swoon! I simply adore reading about the London Season – each author who elects to include a piece on this particular season of ton society (here this reads ‘high society’) gives me a hearty dose of balls, gowns, and the felicity of young love!

What I found a bit more refreshing in Death Comes to the Village is how Lloyd is focusing her London Season not only on Lucy who has not yet had the chance live outside the sphere of her family but on the fact Sophia is a young widow who wants to honour her late husband’s request not to tarry but to re-marry! It is a lovely inclusion because many married couples who had more time together do not always talk about this particular subject; what to do if one passes grievously early-on and how to handle the rest of the life which will evolve out of the months past the funeral. It is a heart-wrecking choice on one hand and a soul freeing one on the other; to give the spouse the hope of finding happiness again even if the pursuit does not yield a union. Sometimes I think people shy away from speaking about what what happens after your spouse passes on ahead of you and it was healthy addition I felt to the story. Except to say, I had the impression Lucy felt the whole matter was a bit macabre but this keeps with her history of being a rector’s daughter!

As Lucy and the Major start to engage their community in the pursuit of truth out of fog shrouded circumstances involving the missing maid and another young woman befriended to her; the series of unknown petty thieving occurring throughout the village has everyone ill at ease. Seeing the Major quite flummoxed by Lucy for her gall to tell things straight as they are to his face whilst he’s being a tad arrogant or unwillingly stern gave me wicked joy in seeing Lucy’s character rounded out against tradition. Each of them cares for their village in their own ways, but each of them approach how to fix what is not yet right that gives the most character to the cosy. An unlikely pair and yet, they compliment each other quite well.

On how Catherine Lloyd introduces us to her Cosy Historical style:

Quite early-on, whilst I was reading Death Comes to the Village, I started to mentally notice the similarities between Agatha Christie’s St. Mary’s Mead and Lloyd’s Kurland St. Mary! It was not so much the fact they were identical villages of each other, because they surely were not; but they were befitted with such quaintly odd villagers surrounding such curious circumstances, they interlocked well into a cosy setting of suspense! I even liked the fact the Major was a bit gruff around the edges, letting out steam as he lightly said one word to effectively eclipse his temper and then like a locomotive who ran out of coal spent himself replete!

Lloyd has a beautiful thread of continuity throughout the story, giving both ambiances to the historical setting and time whilst attributing the quirky nature of her characters in a way they feel is relevant to be shared! Characters that ring true to their footsteps are ideally the best, as they never feel forced to the page, but rather as if their own histories were being writ down instead! I love the historical aspects of the novel, as they are not always air apparent but rather softening the edges around where the village and the crime cross-sect!

She also gives ample measure to the surrounds, from keying in to the colours within the gates of gardens to the structures of the buildings; your mind cannot help but ferret itself directly into the moment we step inside the Major and Lucy’s lives because the footbridge into their world is thusly resplendent of what they see themselves!

Seeing Lucy pass between the different class sects of her time was quite interesting, as she alludes to the fact she can go from upstairs to downstairs visitations simply by extension of working on behalf of her father; the local rector. This preludes to an interesting thought on how society viewed each other and how the lines drawn between the classes were not as finite nor as clear as they might have been considered.

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This book review is courtesy of:

Death Comes to London Blog Tour via HFVBTs

Regrettably I fell ill whilst my tour stop on behalf of this novel was in-progress. I was not able to post my reflections on behalf of Death Comes to London nor the first novel Death Comes to the Village until now. I am still overjoyed in full gratitude to the publisher for giving me the chance to read both novels in tandem with each other, as much as I am grateful I was selected to be on the tour itself by Ms. Bruno! My apologies to the publisher and author for being thus delayed but hopefully my reviews will speak on behalf of the joy I felt whilst I was curled inside the stories! I cannot express how wicked stellar it was to find another wonderfully written Cosy Historical mystery series! What a champion year 2014 became for me for this beautiful sub-genre! Be sure to follow my expeditions into the ‘Cosy Historicals’ via my Story Vault!

I previously posted Ms. Lloyd’s Guest Post and my response in how I am celebrating the joy of reading cosies! In regards to what a ‘Cosy Historical Mystery’ is by definition to my own sensibilities of the genre, I responded to this question whilst hosting Mary F. Burns! Likewise, as promised I am going to be posting my review on behalf of another Cosy Historical series I am wicked addicted to reading: the Lady Darby mysteries by Anna Lee Huber! Stay tuned! The Anatomist’s Wife is next!

Be sure to check my Bookish Events page to see what I’ll be hosting next for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

This book review is being cross-promoted via:

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Death Comes to the Village” & “Death Comes to London”, book synopsis for both novels, author photograph of Catherine Lloyd, author biography, the blog tour badge & the HFVBT banner were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Guest Post badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. #IndieWriterMonth badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Sunday, 7 December, 2014 by jorielov in #IndieWriterMonth, 19th Century, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Cosy Historical Mystery, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Regency Era

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