Review of Death in the English Countryside by Sara Rosett
Overview from www.barnesandnoble.com: Location scout and Jane Austen aficionado, Kate Sharp, is thrilled when the company she works for lands the job of finding locations for a new film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but then her boss, Kevin, fails to return from a scouting trip to England. Afraid that Kevin has slipped back into some destructive personal habits he struggles with, Kate travels to England to salvage Kevin's and the company's reputation before word gets out that he is missing.
Things go from bad to worse when Kate arrives in Nether Woodsmoor, a quaint village of golden stone cottages and rolling green hills, only to find no trace of Kevin except his abandoned luggage. Even the rumpled, easygoing local scout they consulted, Alex, doesn't know where Kevin might be.
I can’t be quite certain but I believe that this story falls into the cozy mystery genre and thus that is what I am labelling this as. The story begins with our protagonist, Kate Sharpe who works for a company that finds locations out in the real world where movie companies can shoot their movies. Kate comes into work one day only to discover that her boss Kevin has not yet returned to the office after a scouting trip to the English countryside—and what’s worse, he apparently did not use his return ticket.
Kate’s clandestine mission is to fly to England and find him all the while keeping his past alcohol problems under wraps so that their current client doesn’t bolt. Expecting to find him in a local pub somewhere hung-over, Kate is dismayed to learn that has been days since he has been seen and that his disappearance is looking less and less likely to be alcohol-related.
With the help of the location scout (Alex) that Kevin had been working with, she attempts to discover what really happened to him and convince the police to spend less time focusing on her as a potential suspect. Meanwhile she begins to wonder if her instincts about Alex’s innocence were not to be trusted after all as Inspector Quimby casts doubt on his alibi shortly after an unknown assailant makes an attempt on her own life.
This story was great. I really liked the characters as well as the plot itself. I believe it is the first book in a series and if I am right about that it should make a very interesting one at that. It would be unique to say the least to have a woman working for a film locations company as an amateur sleuth in a cozy mystery. It is different and refreshing though I would love to know where the author will find future situations for Kate to be exposed to other crime investigations.
The English village did not play out in the stereotypical way that I have often seen in the past. The villagers seemed generally kind to our main character but not nauseatingly so. In other words, I found the setting entirely believable.
Also, the story was clean. I don’t remember much in the way of foul language or sex scenes. The violence was minimal. I don’t even recall any blood though I am sure that there was some.
The plot was engaging enough to keep me guessing up to nearly the very end. It did not feel like the author left anything out. In the end, as Kate herself said, it was just a bunch of little things that didn’t add up and made her think twice.
I recommend this book for a good light-hearted read, a good summer read. It won’t take long to get through and it kept my attention throughout. As of this writing, it is not too expensive either. If you like this genre, you’ll probably want to check it out.