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False Accusations
Willowgrove Village Mysteries – Book I
BY Cora Harrison

Sapere Books
1 June 2018/ ASIN: B07BFDHWK4
Mystery / Historical

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


Retired headmistress Flora Morgan lives in the beautiful village of Willowgrove in Kent and has recently taken on a new job. She acts as the “designated appropriate adult” for people with learning difficulties who need help in certain situations. Autistic teenager Rosie Trevor has been accused of murdering her mother but Flora knows she is never violent – so who did kill her? The police soon realize that Rosie lives in her own fantasy world and are keen to accuse her, so Flora turns sleuth to find out the real killer.

I have long been a keen reader of Ms Harrison’s Burren mysteries so was keen to try this series debut. Setting it in 1991 allows the author to have her protagonist solve her village murder traditionally a la Miss Marple. It also allows her to show the village as an idyllic place without modern problems such as lack of shops, buses and work opportunities. I don’t know enough about the subject to be able to comment on how well portrayed Rosie’s mental condition is; the police have their suspect and are reluctant to look further. Rosie insists that she did it, then contradicts herself, and Flora is desperate to present the police with the culprit and thus seems to be the only person actually doing any detecting. What follows is a portrait of a picturesque place that is tranquil on the surface but has any number of problems seething underneath. Flora also has an out of control Alsatian and troubled teen son, while all the suspects are either friends, former pupils or their families. The whole has a cozy ambience with a fairly slow pace and lacks any real conflict, making it an ideal beach read. I still prefer her Burren series with its vibrant characters and hope that this more tepid offering will liven up once it gets into its stride.

Reviewed 2018