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Murder at Hawthorn Cottage

A Melissa Craig Mystery, Book 1
Written by: Betty Rowlands
Narrated by: Joan Walker
Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Meet Melissa: cat lover, caring mother… daring detective?

Melissa Craig is absolutely delighted with her new life in an old crumbling cottage, spending her days pruning the primroses and getting to know Binkie, the ginger cat next door. She only wishes she had made the move to the countryside sooner.

But when a knock at the door brings news of a shocking discovery, she suddenly finds herself thrown in to the middle of a baffling mystery: the bones of a young woman have been found in the woods just behind her new home.

Perhaps the little village of Upper Bembury is not as idyllic as it first seemed?

Strange phone calls in the night convince Melissa that the police are barking up completely the wrong tree, so she can’t resist doing a little digging of her own. From the bingo hall to the beauty salon and beyond, her search ruffles a few feathers and uncovers many of the village’s most scandalous secrets, but gets her no closer to finding the culprit.

The discovery of a tatty old photograph in a drawer is the final piece of the puzzle she needs, but as a newcomer in this close-knit community, does Melissa have what it takes to get to the bottom of this extraordinary murder mystery alone?

A joy to read! An absolutely unpausable whodunnit for fans of Agatha Christie, P.D. James and Faith Martin.

This book was previously published as A Little Gentle Sleuthing.

©2018 Betty Rowlands (P)2018 Bookouture

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Murder at Hathorne Cottage . By Betty Rowlands.<br />Re

Read by Joan Walker. An excellent reader.
Loved this book can't wait for the next mystery .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent narration for a decent mystery

Story is okay, its no Sherlock Holmes, its really Joan Walker who carries the story and elevates this book to being a great tale of mystery. Characters are okay a little flat but its easy to ignore because of the performance. Its a great book for a long drive or commute and is a relaxing listen would highly recommend. I think one thing to keep in mind is the age of the novel, though the narration is recent, the story was originally published in the 90's, so some of the characters who you are meant to sympathize with come off as desperate and/or abusive.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sally
  • 2018-10-27

Good clean mystery.

I enjoyed this novel. It is interesting and full of twists. Would recommend to anyone who likes a well written mystery.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 2018-09-09

Without A Doubt,.. The Strangest Narration I Have EVER Heard

Yikes,..!!.. A book can be absolutely stellar... but if you choose the wrong narrator,.. and give her free reign to muddle the accents of everyone in the entire book..(except the heroine) you are sure to have a recipe for disaster.
A quirky , regional inflection, not unlike a peculiar aunt is FINE for one character,.. but she did it for men, women,young,old, good ,bad .. impossible not to be peevish by the time it was blessedly over...

49 of 53 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • LM
  • 2019-03-26

Grating Narration and Unrealistic Characters

I've read and enjoyed several Betty Rowlands mysteries, but I couldn't even finish listening to this one. Melissa, the main character, is uncharacteristically feeble and a bit slow. Iris the next door neighbor is an irritating mix of bossy bohemian artist ("even the smell of meat will make me puke!") and neurotic, judgmental spinster (strippers who were assaulted "were asking for it" or "had it coming to them," yet she lusted after the married vicar -- goodness knows why). The mystery took many, many chapters to kick in and was so underwhelming that I lost track of it.

The worst part, however, was the narrator, whose reading was affected and overdone. My biggest peeve was that she over-pronounced her "sh" sounds to a jarring degree, so that "measure" sounded like "meaSHure," as though she were channeling Sean Connery. She also, weirdly, used high pitched voices for the men (though the screechiest voice was saved for Iris) and varied the volume so much that she went from almost a whisper to a shriek within the same conversation.

I don't know if the author simply took a few books to find her footing so the weak characters and plot in this one were aberrations, but the narrator is a deal breaker. No more for me.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Deborah
  • 2019-06-16

Narrator’s voice gives entire cast grey hair & wrinkles

Another reviewer did warn about this narrator; she sounds like an intelligent, cultured woman of @65- nothing wrong with that, unless one is asked to voice a character or cast of characters in their 30s-40s. Something in the tone of her voice just ages
everyone. Story was not bad, maybe a bit boring


6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Beatrice
  • 2018-11-11

4 stars

The story started off slowly, creating the characters and establishing the setting. I almost gave up on it. But, I continued to listen and it was worth it. Murder at Hawthorne Cottage is a realistic story with engaging and believable characters. The supporting cast is also interesting and adds to the feeling of genuineness of the mystery. There are several twists and turns and the villain is a complete surprise. I look forward to the next book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kozz
  • 2018-09-15

Top-notch

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Audible really brings a book to life. On to Betty's next cozy mystery!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • joan gourley
  • 2018-12-30

Great surprise

After reading many mysteries including several cozy ones. This was a great book. I would rate this one of my favorites. The characters were fun so interesting.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Nola A. Stewart
  • 2018-10-25

What a waste of my time!

Could not even finish this book. Poor plot, even worse story telling. The narrator though her voice beautiful had a difficult time creating characters that were believable. It was a slow build to a not so interesting mystery with unbelievable characters and choppy ending. I skipped to the end of the book to find that out.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Frieda
  • 2018-09-20

splendid!!

This is going to be a very interesting series. Don't miss it!! I liked narrator.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JeanT
  • 2018-10-02

Everything’s good about this book.

I had a hard time putting this down. A lot of personal details and mystery/crime clues made this one full of suspense and anticipation. I’m looking forward to her next book.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful