It would be a bit misleading of me to offer a review of The Cosy Knave, a newly published cosy mystery set in Yorkshire and penned by Danish writer and blogger Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen. Having been one of the beta readers of earlier versions of the book I don’t think I could claim my usual objectivity when setting out to review. But I do want to tell you about the book whicb I enjoyed as the original chapters made their way to me from Denmark and enjoyed again when I read them as a collective whole this week, following the book’s official launch last Monday.
It was nearly a year ago that the first three chapters of The Cosy Knave arrived in my email box and I leapt into a story about which I knew very little. I’d been a reader of Dorte’s crime fiction-related blog for some years and when she asked for volunteer readers for a new novel I was curious enough to raise my virtual hand. I do, after all, like to read cosy mysteries occasionally and one set in England but written by a Dane (who is an English teacher) should, I thought, prove a curiosity if nothing else.
I was quite taken with those first three chapters, which introduced the small Yorkshire village of Knavesborough to which its prodigal son, a world-class violinist, was returning. This fact was the subject of much gossip at a village knitting group but it’s not until all the villagers gather together at Ye Cosy Knave (a tea shop) to watch a football (soccer) world cup match that they meet Sir Marco Bellini (who had been Mark Baldwin) when he left the village all those years ago. The first of several deaths follows shortly thereafter which offered the opportunity to meet a hard-working hero, a young constable, and his ambitious wife-to-be along along with a succession of amusingly named characters who form the suspect pool. Over the next month or so I eagerly awaited the arrival of each new batch of chapters until the conclusion arrived late last October (for someone who reads several books a week it was near-torture to spread a single book across 4-5 weeks).
I have kept up with Dorte’s progress on reviewing and editing the book via posts on her blog and I was keen to see the finished product when it was officially published last week. How different would it be I wondered? It’s still easily recognisable as the book I read but has acquired the kind of polish that the editing process allows for. I had a quick look today at the first of those original chapters and can see the changes that Dorte has made and appreciate the reasoning behind those changes. I hope at least a few of my suggestions helped her in this process.
And now the book takes on a life of its own and you can read it to. Here’s its official description
A humorous cosy mystery, set in Yorkshire 2010.
The vicious attacks begin when the prodigal son of Knavesborough, Mark Baldwin, returns to the sleepy village after forty years in Argentina, fully equipped with fame, fortune and effeminate butler.
Small wonder that the spiteful nosey parker Rose Walnut-Whip is stabbed, but how could the murderer get away with shattering the perfect, English tearoom idyll in front of twenty villagers?
Constable Archibald Penrose is in dire need of assistance as his superior, DI Mars-Wrigley, is preoccupied with England´s chances in the football world cup. Penrose´s enthusiastic fiancée, the mint-new librarian Rhapsody Gershwin, is more than willing to help as she sees this as Penrose´s route to promotion (and a welcome raise).
As she is the vicar´s daughter, Rhapsody´s treasure trove of local knowledge may come in handy, and to be perfectly honest, the young sleuth may also be a tad curious. And of course the crimes do not stop here. A dangerous criminal is on the loose in Yorkshire. Can the young couple stop the perpetrator in time?
I think the book displays the best elements of a cosy mystery, including that insular village life they are so famous for and a minimal amount of violence. Happily (for me at least) the book eschews the elements of cosies I’m not as fond of, including talking animals and ghosts. It is recommended to those of you who enjoy a light-hearted traditional mystery with lashings of red herrings and a nomenclature that will keep a smile on your face throughout.
The book is available from Smashwords in a variety of eBook formats and here’s a coupon code, provided by the author, which brings the price down to $2.99US: PN22N