Book Review: The Tree of Death (A Rosemary and Thyme Mystery) by Brian Eastman

When Laura Thyme and Rosemary Boxer are asked to come to the village of Baffington to work on the parish church cemetery, they uncover more than a few weeds and brambles in the churchyard…

Laura’s cousin, Keith Briggs is the vicar of Baffington.  Over the years, the cemetery around the parish church has been neglected, but as the village’s Medieval Fayre approaches, organised by the local historian and celebrity, Franklin Danvers, everything in Baffington must be perfect.  Naturally, Keith calls in his green-fingered cousin and Laura and Rosemary set about trying to make the cemetery fit in with Franklin Danvers vision for the village.

However, when the local troublemaker and heartbreaker, Malcolm Sutton returns after a year away, the peace of the village is broken.  There are not very many residents who are happy to see him back in Baffington, including his sister, Marie and former girlfriend, Harriet.  The following morning, when Laura and Rosemary return to continue their clearing of the overgrown graveyard, they find his dead body.  He has been shot with an arrow.

As part of the preparations for the Medieval fayre, many of the villagers have been roped into archery practice as well as supplied with a bow and number of arrows for them to practice with at home.  Needless to say, suspicion very quickly falls upon the village’s archers, but which one was not only a good enough shot to murder Malcolm, but had motive to do so?

I only had one issue with the reading of The Tree of Death, and that was I was confused a little by the chronology of the first few chapters.  Somewhere in between, the story jumped a year ahead, and I felt that wasn’t made very clear.  However, once I had moved past those early pages, I found the story riveting.

The story was that of a good, predictable cosy mystery.  The setting was a typical English village, centred around the village pub, parish church and in the case of Baffington, the ancient yew tree; however, there was much more going on there beneath the surface than you expect.  There were also a range of possible suspects and as you moved through the book, the characters secrets were revealed, which helped to clear their name.

If you like cosy mysteries and enjoyed the TV series that inspired the book, Rosemary and Thyme (that’s the reason that I picked up the book myself), then you will probably enjoy reading The Tree of Death.

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