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A beautiful house nestles in an orchard where a blackbird sings at dawn each morning from a branch laden with rosy fruit but underneath the trees a body lies too still to be asleep Melissa Craig is struggling with her new novel so when the invitation arrives to visit a nearby country house for some writing time she decides a bit of peace and uiet is just what she needs The house is everything she could have hoped for even if the staff do seem rather unsettled She has barely unpacked when the owner of the house persuades Melissa to investigate some threatening notes he has received But before she can do any digging he is found murdered in his own orchard As she starts to probe further Melissa realises that the dead man was universally disliked Controlling tight with money and nasty he certainly made some enemies But who could have hated him enough to resort to murder? His seemingly timid wife the secretary with whom he previously had an affair or perhaps the gardener with an old secret? With the police looking for an outsider Melissa is sure the murderer is close at hand But can she prove it? And can she unmask the killer before they strike again? A completely unputdownable mystery for fans of Faith Martin Joy Ellis and PD James that will have you totally hooked This book was previously published as Malice Poetic

10 thoughts on “Smiling at Death

  1. says:

    I found a new cozy series First of all I should state I have not been a huge fan of cozy mysteries but I am opening up to them and I am glad because I could have missed out on this oneSet in England Melissa Craig a mystery novelist decides to go to a “writer’s retreat” She is immediately drawn into a mystery The character Melissa was a very entertaining and intelligent protagonist Sometimes amateur sleuths can be annoying but not so here She is a well developed character Secondary characters also helped with the theme and pace of the novelThe book is fast paced with twists leading to the climax of the story and then the unexpected ending I didn’t uite figure out whodunnit and that added to my enjoyment Although this is the sixth book of the series I had no difficulty with reading and can be a standalone novel I loved that the author was able to accomplish continuing the series with new readers jumping aboard midway and not getting lost There was not a lot of backstory to catch the reader up This is skillful on the author’s part I am definitely going to read the previous books in the series 4 12 stars Thank you Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review All thoughts are my own

  2. says:

    Already book six in this series and I am still not getting tired of it On the contrary In my opinion the stories are and interesting and this one really had me hookedSome people don’t like cozy mysteries because well yes I sometimes wonder because of what actually But everybody is of course free to choose what they want to read I certainly can thoroughly appreciate this genreThe main character is getting stronger and stronger and this time she was almost a full time sleuthWhen I finished the previous book I thought I had found my favourite one I have to change my opinion I liked this one even This was the one with the most surprising outcome and I do love thatIt will be hard to top this story but I will keep you posted when I have finished number 7Overall a very good series with a very likeable sleuth 5 starsThank you Betty Rowlands Bookouture and Netgalley

  3. says:

    4 and ½ starsMelissa “Mel” Craig is a uite well known mystery writer who goes on a writer’s retreat at Uphanger Estate The police officer called to deal with the murder is DCI Ken Harris who happens to be Mel’s love interestStewart Haughan is the victim He has received what he believes are threatening notes He is not a very likeable person He berates his employees and his wife He rages at the little things that happen in the office Mel arrives in the orchard and finds the gardener staring at a body It turns out to be the unlikeable Stewart Haughan She doesn’t want to get involved but not to her own surprise she does She is soon joined aby another writer who happens to be a journalist Together they brainstorm Mel notices that the journalist likes his drink and seems to have a very strong dislike for someone he says he only met once When Ken appears on the scene he is surprised to see Mel but takes her presence in his stride He believes that it must be a business associate or other outside person who committed the crime Mel thinks otherwise and begins to put the pieces together and in an exciting conclusion the murderer is revealed This is a great little cozy mystery It is well written and the story flows nicely I like Mel and Ken She just can’t seem to stay out of trouble – it just finds her The story moves along at a good pace the pages fly by so uickly that the reader hardly notices time passing Very nice This is my first Betty Rowlands boon but it won’t be my last I immediately went to to look for others of her novels I want to thank NetGalley and Bookouture for forwarding to me a copy of this great book for me to read enjoy and review

  4. says:

    Another enjoyable instalment of the Melissa Craig Mysteries I've read all of them so far and Melissa is an engaging sleuth and memorable character There is a definite flavour of the early Nineties in this series but it adds to the ambience and authenticity Melissa is worried about her relationship with  Detective Chief Inspector Ken Harris is she ready for the commitment he seeks? The chance to visit a writers' retreat seems the perfect opportunity to take time out and decide what she wants Things of course do not go to plan and she finds her investigative skills are neededConspiracy lies murder and secrets provide a difficult mystery for the intrepid crime writer to solve and bring her into close contact with the very person she was avoiding The plot is particularly twisty with several people having excellent motives for murdering the victim and it takes all her skill and strength of character to discover the truthAn entertaining retro story for everyone who enjoys authentic English murder mysteryI received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review

  5. says:

    I do not read cozy mysteries very often but when I do I just love them Author Melissa Craig goes to Uphanger Learning Center for a week of working on her novel and to think about her current relationship The day after she arrived Stewart Haughan head of the center is found murdered He had been receiving anonymous notes and had asked Melissa to see what she could find out Shortly after Stewart's murder another guest write is found murdered Melissa's love interest DI Kenneth Harris comes to investigate Stewart Haughan was very much disliked and lots of secrets start to surface Of course Melissa gets right in on the investigation and things get really interesting This was book 6 in this series and is first one that I have read It is fine as a stand alone and I did not feel like I was lost in terms of characters andor story line I liked this book so well I am going to read the previous ones Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for the opportunity to read and review this delightful book

  6. says:

    British murder mystery series featuring author Melissa Craig Readable in one sitting is a series bonus that I love Intriguing storylines are anotherMelissa decides a local writing retreat centre will provide her an ideal getaway as autumn arrives in the Cotswolds Beautifully descriptive writing invites readers into the settings Characters very well drawn without initial overloading of introductions Pacing of the story is spot on for both comfort and suspense Well plotted I'm left anticipating next in seriesAppreciation to Bookouture for the review eArc without cost or obligation

  7. says:

    Rereleased and retitled this 6th book in the Melissa Craig series is another winner I am a fan of these cosy mysteries and enjoy following our heroine’s adventures finding bodies and mysteries wherever she goes This time Mel is at a writers retreat when the body count begins to stack up and it’s a race against time to solve the case and get her friendly Policeman to take her seriously before she joins the list #NetGalley

  8. says:

    way too abruptafter a brilliant mystery i am seriously disappointed in this one it was abrupt and rough it seemed too fast i’ll give her credit for not trusting the murder or sharing all the secrets with them like she usually does but something was off about this book

  9. says:

    Another in a series that I'm enjoying These are great for a distraction when I'm in pain and have a hard time concentrating The characters and plots are interesting

  10. 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