Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Book Review - Hate Bale by Stephanie Dagg

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Title: Hate Bale
Author: Stephanie Dagg
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Author supplied copy
Publisher: Self Published 
Publication Date: 17th April 2019
Rating: 4 Stars

Grumbling guests and escaping piglets are precisely what Martha doesn’t need. She’s already struggling to run a holiday cottage and a rather large smallholding single-handedly. Since her husband Mark died, three years ago, her rural property in France, beautiful as it is, has become an increasingly heavy millstone around her neck.

So whilst she’s horrified to stumble across a corpse at the local farm supplies shop, it does at least distract her from her own woes. Best friend Lottie swoops in to offer moral support, and encourages Martha to join her in some unofficial sleuthing. Meanwhile, police officer Philippe Prudhomme, a former fellow chess-player of Mark’s, undertakes a rather more professional investigation. 

However, the killer remains at large. And when more bodies (one and a bit, to be precise) come Martha’s way, it definitely feels like he’s closing in on her… 

There’s humour, suspense and excitement in this entertaining cosy mystery set in the French countryside. 

I'm rather partial to a cozy mystery, although I find I don't up reading them as often as I would like, so this made a pleasant change to my reading.   Having enjoyed Stephanie Dagg's Christmas rom-coms featuring llamas - I wasn't too surprised to discover this book was set on a farm, 

Not just a farm, but one with a real menagerie of animals, both furry and feathered. Not to mention Martha's faithful companion Flossie who seemed adorable.   

Martha really did have a knack of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, as she stumbles across two dead bodies, and has a bit of one delivered to her farm, in not the most usual way of transporting body parts (not that I'm sure what the norm is, as after all cutting a body up into pieces is rather sadistic). 

I loved the authors humour, as Martha and best friend Lottie decide to do some amateur sleuthing, they even comment that they are just like characters in cozy mysteries.  The exact line really did make me giggle out loud.  

I really enjoyed this piece of rural France, with its small cottage let to holiday makers, one of which who was an utter nightmare, Martha starting to get back int to the swing of life after her husband's sudden death a few years previous, the new interest in cycling, and even the mystery surrounding the dead bodies. 

This has all the trademarks of a good cozy mystery and I really hope this isn't the last we see of these characters. After a bit of a slow start, just as it took me a while to get into the swing of the story, I found myself really looking forward to each time I could steal some time to find out what was happening next. 

Thank you to Stephanie Dagg for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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