I read a lot of what is classed as ‘cosy crime’. It’s undemanding but the puzzles are generally interesting so it’s a great form of relaxation. There are so many new series that it’s hard for any one to stand out. I did however, think that this one is a brilliant start to a new series set in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside
DCI Dan Armstrong has retired and for a retirement gift, his colleagues have brought him a two week writing course high in the hills of Tuscany. The joke is that the course is a course in erotic writing! His fellow course members are a varied lot including a brother and sister who seem far too close in the wrong sort of way and a couple of elderly ladies who write extremely erotic fiction. It doesn’t take long for the murder to occur and Armstrong becomes involved in the investigation.
I really liked the character of Dan Armstrong and feel that this will be an interesting series. As an ex-detective, it doesn’t feel unreasonable that he would become part of the investigation and the growing friendship between him and the Italian detective in charge of the case feels very realistic. Dan is on a journey through this book as he comes to terms with his retirement as well as his impending divorce and I enjoyed seeing how he developed through the novel.
The other course members were interesting with very varied backgrounds meaning that any of them could have been the murderer. There were some great scenes with snappy dialogue which made me laugh out loud at some points. In addition, there is also a gorgeous, cute dog. An unruly pet seems almost obligatory in cosy crime stories at the moment but Oscar is one of the best I have come across.
However, the stand-out character for me was Tuscany itself; the descriptions of the towns and villages as well as the meals eaten were a great addition to an intriguing mystery. The detail was enough to really let the reader picture the scene but not overwhelming and I always love novels that transport me to somewhere new.
This was an intriguing mystery with lots of plot twists which certainly kept me interested.
I’ve never read any of this author’s previous novels but I will certainly look out for the next one in this series.
Thank you to Net Galley and Boldwood Books for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Murder in Tuscany will be published on October 18th 2022