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A snow covered cottage is nestled in the hills all ready for Christmas but inside a body lies dead upon the floor Melissa Craig is enjoying her first winter in the Cotswolds taking brisk walks through the snowy fields and basking in the winter sunshine The only thing Melissa is plotting is her Christmas shopping But after the unexpected death of local writer Leonora Jewell Melissa is asked to complete Leonora’s final book However on her first visit to the cottage she finds a gruesome object overlooked by the police a metal bar covered with dried blood Terrified Melissa rushes to the nearest telephone box to call the police But by the time they reach Leonora’s cottage the murder weapon has mysteriously vanished With no murder weapon the detective in charge of the case scoffs at Melissa’s suspicions Furious and frustrated Melissa focuses on finishing Leonora’s novel But as she reads Leonora’s notes for the book she starts to wonder did Leonora accidentally plot out her own murder? As Melissa does some investigating of her own she uncovers some pretty suspicious local characters But with the police unwilling to help can Melissa solve this vicious crime alone? By hook by crook or by the book Melissa must find the killers before they strike again If you adore Faith Martin Joy Ellis and PD James you’re in for a treat with this unputdownable mystery novel


10 thoughts on “Malice Poetic

  1. says:

    MY REVIEW This is number 5 in fifth Betty Rowlands series of books featuring her heroine the author Melissa Craig This is again set in the Cotswolds during a snowy winterHer vegetarian neighbour and friend Iris is also part of this story and the usual Police and press characters and her ever faithful agentThis is a nice gentle tale with lovely descriptive walks in the snowy countryside along with a search for clues and suspects in the nasty death of a fellow author Leonora Jewell The marvellous Gloria also makes her usual appearance  Melissa is again caught up in all sorts of scrapes and ends up in danger herself in this charming well written cosy mystery An absolute pleasure to readI would like to thank the Authorthe PublishersNetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review#MurderOnAWinterAfternoon #netgalley


  2. says:

    Originally published in 1996 as Malice Poetic this reissue is now titled Murder in the Orchard I have not read any other novels by Betty Rowlands so this was my first time checking out what could become a new reliable series for me The victim in this story was certainly written to be a prime candidate for murder and Melissa Craig is a character who picks up on atmosphere and clues uickly to guide the reader along the right path to solving the mystery I enjoyed the story but it does suffer somewhat from the lack of technology specifically cell phones which has become so prominent now but was not so evident in 1996 Even though this is the sixth book in the series I would imagine that readers would not have any problem picking any of the books to read regardless of publication order Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for an eGalley of this novel


  3. says:

    Today I am reviewing #5 of Betty Rowlands’cozy mysteries Murder on a Winter Afternoon Remember Melissa Craig the cozy mysteries writer who solves real murders too? Well guess what She can’t stay out of a murder even if she wants toThis time Melissa is hired to finish a mystery novel started by another writer who recently passed away The lady writer Leonora Jewell was old and everyone assumed that she died of natural causes But Melissa in order to finish the book visits Leonora’s house and there she finds something that looks like a murder weapon She reports her finding at the police station but the police can’t find a thing The murder weapon is gone So Melissa even when specifically ordered not to starts her own investigationMaybe it was a burgler? Or maybe it has something to do with the book Leonora was writing?Melissa is not going to involve in the investigation No she is just going to satisfy her own curiosity and sense for justice Just thatI absolutely love Melissa Craig as a main character Stubborn smart full of imagination a woman whose fantasy works well both in her books and the real world outside A younger version of Miss Marple I love the witty neighbor Iris and her cat I love these cozy mysteries written in a old fashioned way settled in a rural place where characters don’t use the modern technology I know this story was originally published in 1995 and many things are changed since then But these cozy mysteries are great relaxation after reading a hard core thriller with a serial killer in it This is a perfect read for a cold winter afternoon settled in an armchair with a cup of warm tea


  4. says:

    There a different kinds of crime genres I really like the psychological and the police procedural ones but every once in a while I can find myself immersed in a cozy mysteryThis is the 5th book in the series and I have read and enjoyed them all Melissa the main character tries desparately to stay out of trouble like she always does but never succeeds in Somehow she can't help herself She wants to solve the case but this time she needs someone to confide in No one is better suited for this than a sollicitor right?I liked the setting and I was happy to see that Iris was in the picture again This is a series that keeps you coming back for 5 starsThank you Betty Rowlands Bookouture and Netgalleyhttpsbforbookreviewwordpresscom


  5. says:

    smart smart smart and then dumb as a door nailthe mystery was great the crazy things Mel did were completely reasonable until she told the bad guy the while story hunting he was a good guy DUH obviously he was involved so annoying good mystery otherwise


  6. says:

    Another mystery solved by the crime loving fictitious author Melissa Craig Betty Rowland’s’ feisty heroine prevails again in her 5th book in the series and Mel’s adventures continue This time Mel is asked to finish another author’s final novel after her untimely death during a burglary gone wrong As she becomes embroiled in writing the mystery she discovers similar criminal activity happening on her very doorstep #NetGalley


  7. says:

    I’ve had a bit of a binge session reading these books so I’ll do my reviews all on my post They are fabulous books to pick up and put down when you have five minutes here and there The books are all part of the Melissa Craig series but they can be read as standalone books with no problems at all They also have all been released under different titles in the past but the book fairy has come along and brought them right up to date with new covers and titles They are delightful in the way that they are “cosy crime” books meaning that there is no blood and gore no overly violent scenes and a little bit of humour thrown in for good measure If you like books written by the great Agatha Christie or MC Beaton then you will love theseMurder on a Winter Afternoon This has previously been released as Deadly Legacy Crime author and amateur sleuth Melissa Craig is back in this Christmas themed mystery Following the death of local author Leonora Jewell Melissa is asked to finish off Leonora’s last book But when she visits Leonora’s cottage she finds an iron blood which is covered in blood and suspects that Leonora was murdered With the Police not believing her Melissa decides to investigate Leonora’s death herselfMurder in the OrchardThis has previously been released as Malice Poetic Melissa Craig is asked to investigate some threatening notes which have been received by the owner of a nearby country house but before she can do any kind of investigating the owner is found dead in his own orchard Universally hated Melissa discovers that he wouldn’t have won any prizes in a popularity contest but who hated him enough to kill him Can she find the killer before they strike again?Murder at Larkfield BarnThis has been previously been released as Smiling at Death We are back in Upper Benbury where Melissa is shocked to discover one of her old neighbours has been murdered and the killer has painted a horrific smile on her face Looking at her other neighbours and people who live in the Village is the killer closer to home than Melissa could have imagined?These were all great books to read I love the character of Melissa Craig Being a crime writer she obviously finds it useful when she is investigating all these terrible murders that she appears to always be caught up in I would like to imagine her to be your typical uintessential English lady all dressed in tweed with thick ribbed tights and very sensible shoes but reality probably has Melissa as a bit ‘normal’ than that She comes across as a bit of a “nosey neighbour” but one that definitely has a heart of hold One thing you could definitely say of Melissa though is how unlucky she must be to always be around when a murder has been committedThe characters not just in these three books but in all of them I’ve read so far are fun interesting and likeable As the books move on and some of the earlier characters begin to come back into the later stories you begin to build a relationship with not just Melissa but some of her friends as well The locations of the books and particularly the village of Upper Benbury are beautifully set and you can just picture Melissa rushing round the countryside looking for clues as you readI would whole heartedly recommend these books if you’re after a good old fashioned whodunit You won’t have to cover your eyes from fear or rest your uneasy stomach after too much blood and gore What you will get though is a series of very easy to read books that are fun and light hearted but with enough crime and mystery to keep you trying to work out the clues before Melissa does If you’ve never tried a cosy mystery book before then what are you waiting for


  8. says:

    Keeping with my wintery reading theme next up is Murder on a Winter Afternoon by Betty Rowlands It’s also a Christmas read kind of since it takes place at that time of the year and two of the characters do help with the script and scenery for a Christmas show even if it’s only mentioned once or twice This is the 5th or 7th depending on how you count in the series starring Melissa Craig but the first I’ve read and I though it worked uite well on its ownMelissa is an author and she’s been asked to finish the last novel of her neighbor Leonora Jewell Leonora usually wrote family dramas but this last one is of a crime novel right up Melissa’s ally Leonora was killed presumably by the burglars who had been making the rounds and not by the sex strangler who is making women in the area extra cautious Of course it turns out to be neither and Melissa finds the weapon she was killed with; it had been hidden very purposefully but it disappears before the police show up Melissa’s convinced Leonora was killed for something she found out during her research which of course puts Melissa in danger as she is trying to follow Leonora’s thought processIt’s a good mystery with plenty of clues and several suspects I like Bruce the newspaper man who helps Melissa he’s useful in ferreting out clues and helping Melissa get into situations that could lead to trouble He’s a fun character Melissa’s boyfriend is a detective but he’s out of most of the action sick in the hospital Leonora’s book Deadly Legacy centers around shady dealings in the art world and Melissa’s painter friend Iris is a huge help too I’m not sure why but “art mysteries” tend to be some of my favoritesI did figure out who the killer was and yelled at Melissa in my head to stop making stupid decisions but it’s a cozy mysteryOverall it was a solid book not outstanding but enjoyable


  9. says:

    These Mel Craig Mysteries just get better and better I don't know if it's because I know the character a little better with each one This book has like the last one a bit of an art theme going on It's a bit of a different situation to in the previous book but is interesting and works well all the sameYou might expect that by the third book Mel might have been a bit on the ball with this mystery Mel is a mystery novelist herself which is part of the reason that she gets involved in all of these crimes in the first place so she should surely be able to solve things reasonably easy In this book she doesn't spot what I felt was fairly obvious though I don't know if the mystery would have worked so well if she had so I'll let her off I was getting a little stressed and wanting to give her a shakeOne of the great things about reading a series is that you get to see the characters develop over time In this instalment we see the development of a relationship that grew a little in the last book I wonder if we'll see of this in subseuent books?The only slightly annoying thing about this series is that on the one hand it is uintessentially English but the book must have been prepared for the American market There are a few too many cell phones and cookies for my liking that just detract very slightly from that British setting Overall though this is a great classic mystery series and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the booksI received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own


  10. says:

    Murder on a Winter Afternoon is the fifth book in Betty Rowland’s Melissa Craig Mystery series This story is set in the village of Upper Benbury in the Cotswold Hills Author Melissa Craig has pretty much isolated herself to her Hawthorn Cottage except for the occasional walks with her neighbor at Elder Cottage artist iris Ash She has finally finished her rewrites and has sent it to her agent Joe Martin breathing a sigh of relief and looking forward to a relaxing Christmas But when Joe calls her it is not to discuss her novel but rather her taking on the assignment to finish the chapters of the 100th book written by elderly author Leonora Jewell who has been found murdered in her remote cottage not far from Melissa It is thought that she surprised a burglar and the struggle resulted in her death With much pleading Melissa finally arranges with Joe to see the manuscript and visit the late author’s home to look at her notes and research Her boyfriend DCI Ken Harris of the Gloucestershire CID is none too happy that again Melissa will be holed up in her study but when he needs to travel for work it becomes a moot pointWhen Melissa takes on the assignment she never expects to be drawn into a calculated murder and an international art theft ring And even less does she expect who the mastermind will turn out to be An interesting story with many twists and turns I did enjoy this book and would recommend it