Iris Grey is staying at Mill Cottage, in Hazelford, a Hampshire Village. Not only is she escaping from her failing marriage but she has also been commissioned to paint Dom Wetherby’s portrait.
The Mill is the house where Dom Wetherby lives, a famous crime writer whose books have sold millions and have been made into television programmes. But now it is time for him to retire his most famous detective and his writing. The portrait is one of the gifts that his wife, Ariadne gives him.
Iris is drawn into the Wetherby family as she starts to paint Dom. She starts to see the real man and not the facade as she spends time with him.
Invited to their Christmas Eve party, Iris watches as Dom and Ariadne greet welcome and unexpected guests. There is history at this party, there is hate at this party and there is a story to tell.
When a body is found on Christmas Day floating in a nearby stream, it seems that the party may have been the catalyst for what followed.
Iris, intrigued by what has happened and encouraged by a Wetherby family member she starts to ask some questions and hopes to get to the truth of the matter.
This is a rather light cosy murder mystery. For me it took too long in setting the scene before predictably you got to the dead body. I found it meander for far too long once the body had been found and it had a slightly unbelievable element to it in the process of detection and the denouement. The clues were there, the red herrings obvious and whilst I worked it out fairly early on, it did nothing to make me doubt my theory.
As someone who has read many Agatha Christie who can pull a punchy story in around 200 pages, this book is in fact 200 pages too long. It is a pleasant diversion and was the perfect book for an easy read after a hard day.
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
Murder at the Mill is published on 30 November.
I have never read any Tilly Bagshawe who is the author behind this book and this book, the first in what looks to be a series is a step in different direction for the author. I do wonder if perhaps this first book should be given the benefit of the doubt and perhaps the second will be stronger. I will have to wait and see.