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Murder in Steeple Martin (Libby Sarjeant…

Murder in Steeple Martin (Libby Sarjeant Murder Mysteries) (original 2006; edition 2012)

by Lesley Cookman

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1196101,247 (3.31)9
Title:Murder in Steeple Martin (Libby Sarjeant Murder Mysteries)
Authors:Lesley Cookman
Info:Accent Press Ltd (2012), Edition: 2, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:contemporary mystery

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Murder in Steeple Martin by Lesley Cookman (2006)



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I found this first installment in British author Lesley Cookman's "Libby Sarjeant" series to be nicely enjoyable. I guess it's what's known as a "cosy." Former professional actress Libby Sarjeant, now middle-aged, has become involved with amateur theater and she comes to the village of Steeple Martin, in Kent, to direct a new play in the village's new theater. The play has been written by a member of one of the village's leading families, and it deals with a rather dark episode a generation back in the family's history. As this is a murder mystery, naturally there is, quite soon, a murder. In the meantime, further details about the historical incident in question begin to slowly leak out. And so forth. The mystery, I thought, was well done and the telling of the back-story particularly effective and restrained. There were a lot of characters and names presented in a hurry, and it took me some time to sort everything, and everyone, out. I just did what I usually do in such instances, which is to go with the flow and hope everything sorts itself out eventually. And eventually it all became mostly clear to me. The important characters were relatively believable, with Sarjeant's character nicely non-cliche-ridden. While it's not the most compelling series I've ever started, I will certainly be reading the next few series entries to see how Cookman developed the Sarjeant character. ( )
  rocketjk | Nov 15, 2013 |
Wow. I'm so surprised that someone rated this book highly. I basically gave the author one star for having the gumption to write a book and one for, well, I guess because I didn't want to be so cruel as to only give it one star.

Specifically, it was very difficult to keep track of the players, even with a cheat sheet at the very beginning. A better writer, or a writer with more experience, would have WRITTEN the relationships in a stronger fashion so that a key wouldn't have been necessary.

Additionally, a couple of--it turned out--key characters were hardly mentioned until the end.

Finally, bringing a psychic in on the action...really?

Don't waste your money. It's really not worth reading.

I found it much better the second time around. Actually, I read it again because I couldn't remember a thing about it...but then it turns out I could remember enough! My chief complaint the first time was the complicated story line with family falling off every branch of the tree. This time around I didn't worry so much about it. So I am now increasing the rating to 2.5 stars.

Some plots just need to age.... ( )
  kaulsu | May 23, 2013 |
Murder in Steeple Martin is the first in the Libby Sarjeant murder mystery series, and the first Libby Sarjeant read by me. It's a cosy murder mystery along the lines of Agatha Raisin.
Unexplained accidents at the theatre and the murder of a cast member, turns Libby Sarjeant amateur theatre director, into Libby Sarjeant amateur detective. The protagonist is a likeable woman, who doesn't wish to see any murder go unsolved. Being conscientious, she also knows the show must go on and therefore carries on directing while detecting.
Like all good murder mysteries, the crime isn't solved until the last few pages, and kept me guessing. The subplots are nicely done too.
This is a popular series, and I can see why. Alongside Libby ‘Miss Marple’ Sarjeant, we meet a cast of characters set to become regulars in the series, including a possible love interest, and Fran, her psychic friend and partner in sleuthing. In this novel, they all investigate together and have fun on the way, a formula which has proved successful enough to spawn a series of ten novels so far.
One for all who prefer their murder mysteries on the less gritty side.

Nina Jon is the author of the newly released Magpie Murders, a series of short murder mysteries with a Cluedo-esque element.
She is also the author of the Jane Hetherington's Adventures in Detection crime and mystery series, about private detective Jane Hetherington. ( )
  nina.jon | Feb 15, 2013 |
I really enjoyed this first book in a new series. I like the characters because they real. They have the same problems most of us have. What I like most is the throw-away Brit humour. It reminds me of Catherine Aird's or Susannah Stacey's gentle poking fun of certain stereotypes. You don't laugh out loud, as in an Evanivitch novel, but you smile a lot! ( )
  valchera | Jul 24, 2012 |
With a touch of Caroline Graham's "Midsomer" series, and a hint of Katie Forde's rural romance, this is a tale of engaging misfits and muddlers in a Kent village, whose theatrical endeavours rouse the long arm of the past with murderous consequences. ( )
  Bookbox | Apr 22, 2007 |
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In memory of Brian Cookman
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Libby sat on a plastic chair in the middle of what would be the auditorium of the Oast House Theatre and considered mass murder.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
First in a series of British murder mysteries featuring retired middle-aged actress and sleuth, Libby Sarjeant.

Artist and ex-actress Libby Sarjeant is busy directing a play for the opening of a new theatre in her village when one of her cast is found murdered. The play, written by her friend Peter, is based on real events in his family, disturbing and mysterious, which took place in the village during the last war. As the investigation into the murder begins to uncover a tangled web of relationships in the village, it seems that the events dramatised in the play still cast a long shadow, dark enough to inspire murder.

Libby s natural nosiness soon leads her into the thick of the investigation, but is she too close to Peter s family, and in particular his cousin Ben, to be able to recognise the murderer?
[retrieved 8/25/2012 from Amazon]
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Detective and mystery stories. In the tradition of Paul Gallico's classic "Too Many Ghosts" with a touch of Caroline Graham's "Midsomer" series, and a hint of Katie Forde's rural romance, this is a tale of engaging misfits and muddlers in a Kent village, whose theatrical endeavours rouse the long arm of the past with murderous consequences. 'Artist Libby Sarjeant's fresh start in a picturesque Kent village includes an exciting new venture - the Oast House Theatre. She never expects it to include a new romance in the form of Ben, but who's complaining? She just isn't expecting ingredients three, four and five: mystery, intrigue, and the shadow of old murder...' First in a new series - watch out for more murder mysteries featuring middle aged actress come investigator, Libby Sarjeant.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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