Title: The Haunting of Mount Cod
Author: Nicky Stratton
Release Date: 28th June 2018
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing
Lady Laura Boxford lives with her pug, Parker, in the retirement complex of Wellworth Lawns, formerly her family home.
One day she and her friend Venetia see the ancient actor Sir Repton Willowby arriving. He’s Venetia’s cousin by marriage and Venetia says he murdered his wife.
He lives at the Edwardian pile, Mount Cod and he says he’s being haunted by the ghost of an eighteenth century serving wench called Rosalind.
Laura is convinced he’s a charlatan using the ghost as a ruse for finding a new wife.
She determines to get to the bottom of the mystery on account of Venetia’s daughter, who stands to inherit Mount Cod.
But did Sir Repton murder his wife and is the house haunted?
I’m delighted to welcome Nicky to my blog today with a fantastic guest post about her favourite cosy crime books…
My favourite cosy crime
I really like the Inspector Singh series by Shamini Flint. He’s such an unusual character and I love the way he’s sent off by his bosses who you know treat him with disdain. I like the settings and you can imagine him lumbering down some street in Kuala Lumpur sweating profusely in the terrible humidity. There are always great plot twists and turns.
I’m also a fan of M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin novels. At first Agatha appears quite a likeable character and you feel a bit sorry for her but as time goes on she becomes more and more irksome but this only adds to the fun and humour of the books. She is rude, abrupt and tactless but because it’s all so ridiculous it remains funny. You can take an Agatha Raison anywhere and be instantly transported for a few hours of light entertainment to her Cotswold world of bad neighbours and wicked goings on. Anybody that can come up with a title like ‘The Quiche of Death’ has my vote.
In James Hamilton-Paterson’s Cooking with Fernet Branca the interaction and misunderstandings between Gerald Semper and his neighbour Marta on a Tuscan hillside are a hilarious pastiche of the rural idyll and the consequent disasters involving black helicopters, bad opera and eating smoked cat (off the bone) lead to a brilliant and ludicrous finale.
Anything by Carl Hiassen makes me laugh and Hoot is a classic example of his wayward humour. You only have to read the cover blurb and you’re ready to dive in, ‘The setting takes place in Florida, where new arrival Roy makes two oddball friends and a bad enemy, and joins an effort to stop construction of a pancake house which would destroy a colony of burrowing owls who live on the site.’ With characters called Leroy ‘Curly’ Branitt and Mullet Fingers, real name Napoleon Bridger Leep, what’s not to laugh about?
On a more gentle note, Alexander McCall Smith’s The No.1 Ladies detective Agency series evoke the heat and poverty of Botswana through the eyes if the inimitable Ma Ramotswe. Nothing is too much for her as she travels around in her little car solving cases involving wayward daughters, missing husbands and philandering partners, not to mention the curious conmen she encounters on the way. She is an insightful and wonderfully colourful protagonist.
No one can compile a list like this without mentioning the idiosyncratic Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie is brilliant in her descriptions of him. She had a great dry wit. I particularly like one from Hallowe’en Party, “There was only one thing about his own appearance which really pleased Hercule Poirot, and that was the profusion of his moustaches, and the way they responded to grooming and treatment and trimming. They were magnificent. He knew of nobody else who had any moustache half as good.”
Because of the many TV and Movie adaptations of Agatha Christie’s huge volume of work, one tends to forget this kind of prose is the backbone to her enduring success and popularity. One also forgets the great jokes she made and one of my favourites is, ‘An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.’
All About Nicky
Nicky Stratton came second in a short story competition when she was twenty; the prize was a brown typewriter called The Underdog 2000, but rather than become a novelist, she embarked on a thirty year career as a copywriter. Alongside work, Stratton raised two children plus a veritable menagerie of animals, including a hawk; she also took an Open University degree in Humanities, graduating at the age of fifty with a 2.1. She finally published her first novel, The Weight of Death, in 2016. Nicky Stratton lives in Stratford upon Avon with her partner Myles.