A Lesson in Murder (Cherringham #13) by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards
Release Date: 9th March 2015
Publisher: Bastei Entertainment
When Jack and Sarah are called in to investigate mysterious pranks at an exclusive girls’ private school, it seems at first that it might be the work of a few mean pupils with a grudge. But things quickly turn serious when a popular teacher meets a sudden, violent death. Now, with murder in the air, Jack and Sarah have their own lessons to learn about the Cherringham Girls School, its dark secrets… and who wanted that teacher dead before they learned the truth.
The village of Cherringham is like something straight out of a Miss Marple mystery. Sleepy, quaint and typically ‘English’ it’s the kind of place that you wouldn’t associate with any untoward happenings in a million years. However web designer Sarah and ex NYPD Detecitve Jack know that this is not the case.
The pair team up together to solve an array of mysteries that take place around the village and this time their focus is on Cherringham Hall; a grand private school that has been experiencing some rather mysterious happenings of late. Seemingly eager to find out who is behind the pranks, the headmaster calls upon Jack and Sarah for help. However, the case soon takes a much more serious turn when one of the teachers commits suicide. As soon as Jack and Sarah get digging it becomes apparent that all is not as it seems at Cherringham Hall…
I was immediately taken in with the idea of the Cherringham series. As a newly converted lover of crime I was keen to give these bite-sized mysteries a go and felt reassured in the fact that they were ‘cosy’ crimes (this must mean no grizzly murders, right?)
Obviously there are a whole series of books and I chose to start at number 13 (why not!?) but this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the novel in any way. There’s a handy guide to Jack and Sarah at the start of the story which brings readers up to speed on the pairing, so you don’t feel as though you’re missing out on anything if you’re not starting at the beginning. I felt as though we were fed just enough information to form a quick picture of the two characters in your mind and you’re then all set and ready to delve in to the mystery…
I feel as though I picked a good story to start with as A Lesson in Murder had an intriguing and well thought out plot line. I loved how Jack and Sarah worked together, playing on each others strengths in order to solve the mystery as fast as they could. They were sharp, smart and are definitely a pairing that I am looking forward to meeting again. Despite being an unlikely pairing, they are actually the perfect match and their brilliant partnership really helped to cement the story.
As for the length of the story – whilst there’s pros and cons to solving a crime in such a short amount of time, I feel that it worked well overall. Short stories seem to be on the increase and they are perfect for your lunch break or when you have a spare half an hour but don’t want to get stuck into a full length novel. My only niggle was that I did feel as though the ending was all tied up just a little too nicely, but maybe that’s part of the appeal for a ‘cosy’ crime. Everything’s done and dusted in time for tea (well not quite, but you know what I’m getting at, right?) It might just be me who feels like this though and how I perceived the outcome so don’t let that put you off at all. This series is still most definitely worth a read.
That aside I found myself really enjoying this story. I am certain it will appeal to fans of Agatha Christie or M.C. Beaton and I will definitely be checking out the rest of the books in the series. I’m really looking forward to returning to Cherringham…
A huge thank you to Sophie at ed pr for sending me a copy of A Lesson in Murder for review. ♥
Co-authors Neil Richards (based in the UK) and Matthew Costello (based in the US), are known for their script work on major computer games. The Cherringham crime series is their first fictional transatlantic collaboration.
Find out more about the Cherringham series over on Goodreads.