Death in Elysium

Written by Judith Cutler

Review written by Sara Townsend

Sara-Jayne Townsend is a published crime and horror writer and likes books in which someone dies horribly. She is founder and Chair Person of the T Party Writers’ Group.

Death in Elysium
Severn House
RRP: £19.99
Released: October 1, 2014

When the rector of the little Kent village of Lesser Hogben brings home his new wife, the gossips have a field day.  Jodie Welsh is a decidedly unconventional vicar’s wife.  Formerly a high-flying City business woman, Jodie did not expect Mr Right to turn up when she was the wrong side of 50, nor did she expect him to be a widowed vicar. 

But this is what happened, and Jodie now finds herself adjusting to life in the small village, trying to learn how to bake cup cakes and finding things to occupy her time now that she is no longer wheeling and dealing in the business world.  In spite her best efforts to fit in, Jodie sets tongues wagging in the small village, due to her outspoken nature and her desire to give employment to the disaffected youth of the village.  One day on her daily run Jodie comes across a building site deep in the countryside that no one seems to have any knowledge about, and she sets about trying to find out what’s going on, enlisting Burble, the young man she’s been paying to do some gardening, to help.  When Burble disappears, Jodie realises her investigations have stirred up more trouble than she anticipated, and her own life might be in danger.

This is a mystery that will appeal to both fans of the ‘cosy’ crime genre and those who are fond of strong women sleuths.  Jodie is an immensely likeable character, and the way she manages to stamp her own mark on the role she has found herself in is original and appealing.  She struggles with the shadow of her husband’s first wife, Merry, who was accepted in the village in a way she feels she never will be as an outsider, and does her best to be supportive of her husband, frustrated by their neglected old rectory and the fact that she can’t use any of her own money to buy themselves a better house.  But she has kept on her little flat in London, and she and her husband Theo escape there every Monday – the only day off he gets from being spiritual guidance counsellor in the village.

I was a bit sceptical about the set-up when I first started reading this book, but it comes across as entirely plausible.  Jodie Welsh is an engaging and entertaining character, and I really enjoyed reading about her adventures.  I will be looking out for future books in this series.


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