Winter Downs by Jan Edwards

Review published on June 30, 2017.

I was initially drawn to this book because of the cover, which is so attractive and very 1940s. The story is a really interesting premise as we follow Rose Courtney, known as Bunch, as she becomes an amateur sleuth when her friend, Jonathan, is found shot dead in the woods. It appears to be suicide but Bunch is not convinced and she’s determined to prove that it’s really murder.

Bunch is a strong female character and as a member of the aristocracy she’s a little unusual for her time, age and position in that she is unmarried and doesn’t particularly mind about it. I thought she was an excellent character and very well portrayed. I liked her relationship with her sister, Daphne, known as Dodo, and I particularly enjoyed their grandmother who is a really feisty lady.

It’s quite an atmospheric story and gives a nice snapshot of the times. Bunch’s home has been taken over for war reasons, rationing is a big part of the story, everywhere is in turmoil and there’s snow on the ground thwarting the investigation. All this is described well by the author and I found it easy to imagine the various settings.

Despite all this, I must admit that I found this book quite hard to get into for some reason. It is a very good example of a period murder mystery and I can imagine it will appeal to those readers who like a good old-fashioned whodunnit. There is no fault with the book, I just think it turned out to be not quite my thing. Maybe I’ve just got so used to a different kind of thriller that this cosy crime type story just didn’t grab me in the same way. Nevertheless, I think the author has done a great job with what I believe is the first in a series featuring Bunch Courtney.

Nicola Smith 3/3

Winter Downs by Jan Edwards
Penkhull Press 9780993000867 pbk Apr 2017

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