by Kathleen Costa
This week we have reviews of all of Carrie Marsh’s Millerfield Village Cozy Mysteries. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of any one of the books in the series, and links to purchase them from Amazon.
Millerfield Village Cozy Murder Mystery series by Carrie Marsh
Review by Kathleen Costa
Laura Howcroft is struggling as a new resident of Millerfield Village and with her new job at the Woodend Cottage Hotel. She’s only from Cambridge, less than 100 miles away, but many villagers think of her as just another ‘Foreigner,’ which will be hard to overcome. She is slowly making friends: Janet Lister, energetic co-employee and the very handsome Dr. Howard Lucas, the village’s only doctor, but oddly Monty is still her closest confident. Monty is not your normal BFF…he is a cat. He meows, but she can hear his voice in her head. It’s helpful when needing feedback about evidence, suspects, and possible scenarios and he can go places no human will and talk to other animals humans often ignore. But as time passes, Laura begins to insinuate herself into the village…how? By investigating murders and uncovering the truth to almost everyone’s relief.
Carrie Marsh has penned a delightful series which currently includes four books, the most recent, The Dead Among Us, released this month, may be the best of the set. Although the mysteries are uncomplicated, they offer a level of entertainment and include some of what I like in my ‘cozy’ mysteries: strong female lead, a hint to outright romance, quirky characters, a twist or two and a bit of the British quality.
Carrie writes a nice female character to enjoy in Laura, who has reasonable reactions to the events and has found ‘true love’ with the local doctor. I was intrigued by the interesting twist that she has the unusual talent of being able to talk to her cat with a mind-voice connection, but how this came about is not explored. Monty the cat is as quirky as you can get, but acts more like a sounding board than a sidekick, although he does show up at the most opportune times. Be aware that Monty isn’t Dr. Watson to Laura’s Sherlock Holmes!
I do suggest that if you are a ‘must start at the beginning’ reader or prefer to see any subtle development of characters and any changes in dynamics, you may wish to start with book 1 Dining With the Dead. However, no matter where you begin, they can be considered standalone stories.
For a book set in and around Kent, England, this anglophile found British references sparse. I had hoped for a more uniquely English tone. The references to the law enforcement didn’t seem British enough, and the uniquely British foods, accents, manners and culture seemed overlooked. I did enjoy the series, and will continue to seek out future Carrie Marsh books.
The Dead Among Us Earns 4.5/5 Mysterious Ancient Time Warps!
Laura and her BFF Janet have their night of wedding prep and bridesmaid’s dresses horribly interrupted. Outside the window along the wood line is an apparition enveloped in a mist floating
at the edge of the garden, so, of course, Laura’s curiosity leads her to investigate. She stumbles upon an ancient burial mound. Aaaah! Darkness…
She awakes among very unfamiliar surroundings. Entering a huge nearby manor, she explores quietly opening doors for clues on her whereabouts. Behind one door she sees a very sick man…dying man! She hears a scream, “Master’s dead!” Frightened, Carrie struggles to make a mental connection with Monty, her BFF cat. He helps to lead her back to the ancient mound…again, dizzying darkness. Shockingly it appears Laura somehow had slipped into the past, about one hundred and fifty years ago and stumbled on a strange death…murder?
Millerfield is once again caught up in strange events, and Janet and Ben’s new business venture Melrose Place Bed and Breakfast is suffering; the rumors of ghosts and additional sightings don’t make for a relaxing environment. Laura decides it to be very important to uncover the contemporary truth of the apparition and maybe bring to light a possible ‘very cold’ case of murder.
This is where it all began…
Dining With the Dead earns 4/5 Ghostly Sightings!
Laura tries to make the best of her new environment with a friendly smile, even though villagers refer to her as a “Foreigner.” However, her efforts are compromised when she is met with a very distraught housekeeper pleading her innocence against an accusation of theft. Before more details could be gathered, Laura is interrupted by a scream coming from a hysterical Mrs. Poole, hotel chef, ranting about seeing a ghost. Then through Mrs. Poole’s grandson she discovers that, Farmer Hogarth, on the other side of the village, saw a ghost, too. It gets worse when a new guest is found slumped over a table in the dining room…dead. Laura decides to try to put herself into the good graces with the villagers by investigating to find the truth.
Cooking With the Dead earns 4/5 Pastry Cloths!
Laura is settling in to quiet country life and making new friends. Even her cat, Monty, explains he is doing well, too. Continuing to work at the Woodend Cottage Hotel, Laura hopes to hire a new pastry chef to set the hotel apart with treats for tea time. However, the applicant she hopes will take the position seems abrupt and unpleasant, but his audition went deliciously well. “You’re hired!” Everything is looking up until a one a.m. phone call alerts her to some serious news. “He’s dead!” Laura cannot stand for this to effect the hotel, and also no one deserves to die like that. She’s off to investigate and figure out this mystery before anyone else is cooked, but with a pastry competition scheduled, she definitely has a full plate.
Paying Back the Dead earns 4/5 Mysterious Pointy Objects!
mother’s cousin for twenty years, but, before a family reunion can be managed, he ends up dead…worse, no one really liked the ‘miserly sod,’ so grievers seem few. Laura is developing a nice relationship with the local doctor who is the ‘go-to-guy’ providing clues to help with her investigation. Several villagers become more suspicious as family conflicts are revealed and interesting visitors to the village appear.
Interview with Carrie Marsh, author of the Millerfield Village Cozy Murder Mystery Series:
KRL: It is great to have with us Carrie Marsh, author of the Millerfield Village Cozy Murder Mystery Series, celebrating the recent release of book 4, The Dead Among Us. What motivated you to become a writer?
KRL: Can you tell us a little about how that this series? Is there a reason you chose to write in the cozy mystery genre?
Carrie: The Millerfield Village Cozy Murder Mysteries are immersed in the tranquil, hilarious, and sinister aspects of village life. The heroine, Laura, is a favorite of mine because of her pluckiness and her gentle side. Her ability to talk to Monty, her cat, is a special trait unique to her and this series. As someone who was raised in a small village, the Cozy genre is one close to my heart. All the foibles of villagers and the things that can go wrong in village life, are things I intimately know and love, as is the Kentish countryside.
KRL: Is there a reason you chose a small English village as the setting for your series? Do you have personal experience with the Kent countryside?
Carrie: I grew up in a small village (not Millerfield in Kent, but close enough!), so it was natural to choose to set this series there. In that sense, Millerfield exists, though it is not a real place and lives only in my mind. My mother is from Kent and I have happy memories of the countryside from holidays. Millerfield village is woven out of these childhood memories. Right now, I am residing in a small country called Singapore with my family which I am enjoying most.
KRL: Are any of your characters based on real people…friends or family? Names changed to protect the innocent, so to speak. Are you like Laura Howcroft in some way?
Carrie: The characters are constructs of several people. Sometimes I don’t even recognize where the different traits come from until after I am finished working. Laura is a combination of my BFF (who incidentally is an animal communicator) and traits I wish I had. Her romantic struggles are mine, I would say, hey, write what you know, but largely she is a construct of several strong female role models in my life. I think Laura is someone I wish I was like!
KRL: You have a 96-page story titled The Case of the Hated Body in your Sleepless Detective Murder Mystery series. Can you give us some background about the story, and what can we expect in the future with Detective Richard Watson?
Carrie: The Hated Body was inspired by a visit to an eerie Victorian hotel, similar to the one in which the story is set. Immediately after the visit, I found myself in a rough city neighborhood, and the two collided in my mind to birth the story of a woman, dying alone in the hotel, on the run from the harshness of life. As for the future of this series or Detective Richard Watson, his “future” is still in progress…
As I am way too busy with another publication, I would like to keep this character on hold for the moment, but I do want to come back to him some time in the future.
KRL: How did you go about getting published?
Carrie: I am more into self-publishing.
KRL: What can we expect from you in the future?
Carrie: You can expect me to spin out even more entertaining cozies. Also, I will be creating another pen name for cozies that deals with the paranormal elements.
KRL: Did you receive any ‘sage’ advice that you might share with aspiring writers?
Carrie: Do not be afraid to put out your ideas and dreams and share your stories with the world. A lot of people want to read your stories.
KRL: We know you write, but what do you read? Is there another author who inspires you or one you might consider a professional or personal hero?
Carrie: I like to read Agatha Christie’s stories. Her stories inspired me a lot with my cozies.
KRL: So many authors say writing is all encompassing, but do you have any favorite movies you like to watch or television bingeing? What about music you enjoy or hobbies that take up what free time you may have?
Carrie: I am more of a movie junkie. I watch any movies that have great CGI. As for music, I like Rick Astley’s music and his ionic Rick Rolling moves.
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Carrie: I am a good cook, particularly with Asian food.
KRL: This has been fun. Is there anything you would like to add?
Carrie: Nothing else, but I’d like you to remember to support my stories and share them with your friends.
KRL: Thank you, Carrie, for joining us and sharing a little about yourself and your books.
To enter to win an ebook copy of any one of the books in the series, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “marsh,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 27, 2017. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address. PLEASE STATE IN ENTRY WHICH BOOK YOU WANT.
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