Thank you very much to Cathy over at Between the Lines for introducing me to this series. It was a great find.
Jack’s a retired ex-cop from New York, seeking the simple life in Cherringham. Sarah’s a Web designer who’s moved back to the village to find herself. But their lives are anything but quiet as the two team up to solve Cherringham’s mysteries.
This compilation contains episodes 1-3: Murder on Thames, Mystery at the Manor and Murder by Moonlight. Here Jack and Sarah investigate a suicide in the River Thames – or was it murder? They investigate an “accidental” fire with deadly consequences, and they nab the culprit behind the Rotary Club choir poisoning.
About the Series
Set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, the detective series brings together an unlikely sleuthing duo: English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack. Thrilling and deadly – but with a spot of tea – it’s like Rosamunde Pilcher meets Inspector Barnaby. Each of the self-contained episodes is a quick read for the morning commute, while waiting for the doctor, or when curling up with a hot cuppa.
You’d like to read a Cherringham story in novel-length? The first Cherringham book Dead in the Water is already available, and the second book The Body in the Woods, will be out on July, 25th 2017. Or maybe you’d like Neil Dudgeon to read them to you? Episodes 1-18 are also available as audiobooks!
For fans of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple series, Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series, Caroline Graham’s Midsomer Murders, and the American TV series Murder She Wrote, starring Angela Lansbury.
I used the audio version of this story and will review the audiobook as well as the stories itself.
- Listening Length: 7 hours and 48 minutes
Narration: Very good narration by Neil Dudgeon for this audiobook. I think I was falling in love with the sound of his voice. Probably because he was giving me visions of Mr. Darcy with that gorgeous English accent of his. 😂 On a more serious note, character distinction was pretty clear. There was sufficient distinction between the lead male and female characters. There was good distinction between older and younger characters. When Dudgeon slipped into his American accent for Jack’s character, it was well done. There were no awkward stumbles or pauses in the narration. (4.5/5)
Production: Sound quality was good, although a bit soft even with the volume turned all the way up. The audio was clear and sound levels were consistent. Pauses between chapters was sufficient. There was no disturbing background noise. However, quite frequently the audio and text fell out of sync. (3.5/5)
Overall Experience: Overall, this story translated to audio quite well. (4/5)
Murder on Thames
Cherringham – a quiet town in the Cotswolds. Nothing ever happens there, or so it seems – until one morning a woman’s body is found in the river. A terrible accident, according to the police. But is this true? Sarah believes there must be more to it. In Jack, a former NYPD homicide detective, she finds a partner who is willing to start investigating with her. They soon find out that things are not as clear as the police want them to be … This first – of many cases brings Sarah and Jack together in an unlikely partnership.
Mystery at the Manor
The elderly owner of Mogdon Manor, Victor Hamblyn, dies in a mysterious fire. But was it really an accident? Jack and Sarah are sceptical … The victim’s three middle-aged children, who all live in the village of Cherringham, are possible heirs. And possible murderers … Did one of them set the fire?
Murder by Moonlight
Just two weeks to go before the Cherringham Charity Christmas Concert. Choir rehearsals are in full swing. Then the worst thing happens: Kirsty Kimball, one of the singers, is found dead from a severe allergic reaction to one of the home-made rehearsal cakes. Jack is pulled in to help bolster the depleted choir – and soon he’s convinced that Kirsty’s death was no accident. Sarah agrees, and the two of them are soon immersed in the jealousies, rivalries, and passions of Cherringham’s Rotary Club choir …
The Mysteries: Each mystery story is well-plotted. They are short books, yet a sufficiently varied cast is presented. The suspects in each mystery are believable and possess compelling motives. The clues are cleverly scattered throughout the stories. The suspense was sufficient (without having to resort to the cliched throwing of the protagonists to the mercy of the culprits). The big reveals at the end were worth the wait.
The characters: Sarah Edwards and Jack Brennan are the two main protagonists in this series.
Sarah is a thirty-something web designer. She’s just returned to the Cotswold village of Cherringham, where she grew up, with her teenage daughter and younger son. The story opens after she’s divorced her cheating husband and moved out of London.
Jack is a fifty-something former NYPD homicide detective. The story opens with him living on an old canal boat moored at Cherringham. He lives with his darling dog, Riley and no one else as he was widowed a year ago. He is living the retirement plan he and his wife had created prior to her death.
To the reader, Sarah and Jack are both quite likeable. Even if Jack was a bit gruff and guarded with Sarah at the beginning. Cherringham is a small town where locals remain a bit weary of outsiders. Jack, as an American, bears the brunt of this. Even Sarah, as someone who has only just moved back to the village, is sometimes treated as an outsider. The softening of Jack’s edges is realistically gradual and enjoyable to witness. The same can be said for the ‘toughening up’ of Sarah.
There is a strong friendship between these two that develops across these first three stories. Will it eventually head towards a romance? That’s not a given. We’ll have to read more to find out.
The setting: A beautiful, cosy, charming Cotswold village comes alive on the pages of this book (or through your speakers 😉). The scenic descriptions work with the story and never detract from the tale.
“As if it were a prop, a lone swan, looking sooty and dishevelled, circled near them as they sat at a picnic table right on the edge of the water.”
Overall, these stories were sweet and quick and easy to read. I enjoyed this compilation and look forward to trying some more. I think there about 21 episodes out by now.
I give Episode 1-3 4/5 espresso shots.