I really enjoy reading crime thrillers, among other books and genres, and have been enjoying the Holly Fleet Mystery series by Shaun Baines. The Holly Fleet Mysteries are cosy mystery stories set in the Northumberland countryside and feature a reporter / newspaper editor / amateur detective and all-round nosy parker (she could be Jessica Fletcher’s twin sister). I find them to be good little mystery stories that are easy and interesting to read and without all the violence associated with crime novels. They are as their genre suggests, cosy (if you want something darker and grittier then you need to read the Daniel Dayton series, also by Shaun Baines).
Mill Creek Cottage is book number four in the series. In the previous three books, Holly and her loyal sidekick (and Black Rock Manor estate hand), Callum, have saved Black Rock Manor from becoming a theme park, found a missing pensioner, located missing property (saving Black Rock Manor again), investigating spooky going-ons and now are back to find a missing bride.
When Holly’s estranged family turn up in Little Belton for the wedding of her niece, everything should be exciting and joyful. A time for celebrating. Not for Holly it isn’t. When the bride is kidnapped and held for ransom, Holly is thrust into the investigation, forcing her to get to know her family a bit better.
With a cold as ice, controlling mother of the bride, a debt-ridden loudmouth father of the bride, a workaholic, money-orientated groom who could be mistaken for having a more intimate relationship with his phone than the people around him, everyone is not part of a happy, close family unit. And it doesn’t take Holly long to work out that each family member is keeping secrets or outright hiding the truth.
To find the missing bride, Holly has to confront her past and her prejudices and avoid getting arrested in the process. Can Holly uncover her family’s secrets before one of them ends up dead?
Overall, this is another cosy and enjoyable instalment in the popular Holly Fleet Mystery series. Like the previous books it is well-written and the characters are excellent, each with their own charm and characteristics that have you liking or hating them. The story is simple but has plenty going on with lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing and second guessing. A really pleasurable whodunnit.
This book focused more on Holly and her strange family and very little of Little Belton and Black Rock Manor. Although we are taken around some very strange places around the town / outskirts of the town that are vividly brought to life with the authors skill of writing and attention to detail (so much so that it makes you want to visit). I did miss some of the quirks of the villagers.
A quick and easy book to read with nothing to offend the reader but keeps you in suspense right up until the very end.
RRP: £9.99 (Paperback) / £1.99 (Kindle)