Review: Murder at the Abbey by Frances Evesham

Today, I'm delighted to share my review of an intriguing murder mystery set in leafy Somerset, England: Murder at the Abbey by Frances Evesham!

My thanks to Rachel's Random Resources and Boldwood Books for a copy.

Murder at the Abbey

The Exham-on-Sea Mysteries

Frances Evesham

Murder Mystery

Murder at the Abbey is part of a series, the Exham-on-Sea Mysteries, but it works well as a standalone. Readers quickly learn about all the characters involved, and their back story is nicely woven into the plot.

The Exham-on-Sea History Society is holding its annual summer picnic at the idyllic ruins of Cleeve Abbey, but the accidental discovery of several bones brings in the police. Are the bones ancient, or is there something more recent afoot?

Luckily for the bones, Libby Forest is at hand, together with her husband, Max. Of course, they become involved in uncovering a centuries-old secret. When during a night-time ghost hunt at the abbey a member of their group, Mandy, is attacked and left with serious head injuries, Libby knows there's more to the bones. Are the two incidents – the discovery and the attack – linked?

Meanwhile, a council session on a new housing estate gets out of control, and soon after, a member of their community is shot. But where is the connection? Libby has to dig in the past to find an answer.

This is the first Libby Forest adventure I've read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Quirky, quintessentially English, and with a subtle sense of humour, the plot unfolds very nicely. I also liked that the protagonists were not young hot-shots, but in their fifties. I also found Libby's passion – food, and baking in particular – a lovely side plot, as it gives her a purpose outside sleuthing. It adds a realistic slant.

The pace is gentle, with heightened tension in all the right places, and a few red herrings to keep us readers guessing. The characters are wonderfully defined, and the background setting is beautiful. An often overlooked county, the author manages to make us curious about the treasures that await visitors in Somerset.

There came a point when I suspected the right character, who turned out to bear a grudge, before the grand revelation at the end, but I thought it was very well resolved. All threads related to the incidents in this story were tied up neatly. As for the residents of Exham-on-Sea, the author leaves a few plotlines to be continued. It works very well that way, I thought. 

Murder at the Abbey is a quaint whodunit with a range of interesting characters in a beautiful setting. I shall look for other titles in the series. Well worth a read!



The Brand NEW instalment in the bestselling Exham-on-Sea series. 

An unsolved murder echoes down the corridors of Cleeve Abbey for years.

The Exham-on-Sea’s History Society's annual summer picnic comes to an abrupt end when human bones are discovered in Washford River, beside historic Cleeve Abbey.

Thrilled to find evidence of a possible centuries-old murder mystery, the members of the society organise a ghost-hunting night in the ruins of Cleeve Abbey, despite amateur sleuth Libby Forest's reservations.

Libby is a woman of many talents, a baker, chocolatier, even a reluctant sleuth, but she's no fan of the supernatural.and her doubts are justified when a friend is attacked under cover of darkness at the ghost-hunt.

Distressed and angry, Libby sets out with her new husband Max and their two dogs Bear and Shipley to uncover the connection between the murder of a sixteenth century monk and a present-day attack in picturesque Somerset.

With friends and neighbours as suspects, Libby and Max close in on the culprit only to find that others are still in danger.

There's no time to lose as the sins of the past threaten lives in the community.

Murder at the Abbey is the eighth in a series of Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries from the small English seaside town full of quirky characters, sea air, and gossip.

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About the Author:

Frances Evesham

Frances is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. Boldwood has republished the complete series. Frances has also started a new cosy crime series set in rural Herefordshire, the first of which was published in June 2020.

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