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Wychwood Series – Book II
BY George Mann

Titan Books
11 September 2018/ ISBN 9781783294114
Mystery /Contemporary

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


The sleepy Oxfordshire village of Hallowdene has a festival that marks the hanging of local 17th century witch Agnes Levett. Legend says that she was found with the murdered body of the local squire’s wife chanting spells, but mostly the festival is a good excuse for a bit of fun and a boost to tourism. This year will be different as archaeologists are digging under the stone where Agnes Levett’s body is supposed to lie, but legend also says that this will unleash the witch’s wrath. Last time she claimed three lives…

Last year one of my favorite books was the first in this series, Wychwood. This was a thrilling and imaginative story that sucked the reader in and just didn’t let go until the last page. Now London journalist Elspeth Reeves and her boyfriend, DS Peter Shaw, are back for another case. This time they are taking the scenic route, as this is a much slower story with less going on it in as regards crime and the (possible) supernatural. Instead the main focus is on their burgeoning relationship, which has grown out of being childhood friends and into something more.

With a job offer, Elspeth’s friend from London has come to stay, and Peter yearns for the excitement of the Wychwood case. I have to confess that I did, too, as I am not a romance fan and just wanted to read a spooky detective story. Of course, this is present as well, albeit at a more leisurely pace. The sleuths have a lot of suspects to sift through, ranging from a café waitress with a mysterious secret, the new owners of the manor house and their rebellious daughter, the local historian and the festival’s organizers.

If you want a comparison think Midsomer Murders crossed with Kate Ellis or Elly Griffiths. Expect an exciting denouement and more skeletons being unearthed than just those of the witch, and you have a good yarn for a dark autumn evening. I like the ambiguous feeling that there might or might not be a supernatural angle; you don’t have to be a woo-woo reader to enjoy this book.

Reviewers Note: A couple of slightly gory descriptions

Reviews of other titles in this series

Wychwood #1
Hollowdene #2


Reviewed 2018