A novella centered around the events surrounding the celebration in a village, A May Day Murder is Beth Fuller’s latest offering which once again had me craving for her full-length novel.
The small village of Kettleford is not a haven for Hester. There are three harridans who have an intense hatred towards Mrs. Matterson and being the old lady’s companion, Hester also has a target painted on her back. I loved how Beth Fuller uses the festival with its traditions like picking up flowers, filling up a basket, and dropping the basket near a well, and the interested admirers returning the basket to the fair maidens, the hobby horse race, the archery competitions, the parade of the Morris dancers to create a jolly atmosphere of the May Day festival. However, the readers experience a sense of peril sneaking up behind Hester as she is attacked and accused of murder. On one hand, the villagers are having the time of their life, but on the other, the cruelty becomes evident as a dead body lays not far away from the place where the events are conducted.
Ruben Penn, the new petty constable of the village helps Hester, and romance blossoms between the two instantly. I wanted a more detailed sketch of Ruben’s character, his integrity does get conveyed and parts of his past are also explored but somehow it just felt lacking to form a complete impression of the man.
A May Day Murder is touted as gothic and the bleak outlook that Hester presents of the village and its residents supports this. The description of the garish dressing of the Morris dancers and their face masks produces a disturbing feel and Hester’s panic after being attacked by one of them was convincing.
A short and gripping murder mystery, A May Day murder is thoroughly enjoyable.
Many thanks to Book Sirens and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
There’s more than ribbons on the maypole this year …
Hester never really belonged in the sleepy little village of Kettleford, and when a gruesome murder shakes the village to its core, Hester is the obvious scapegoat.
Can she and the handsome new petty constable clear her name and find the true culprit before she’s condemned?
And, more to the point, will the mysterious Morris Dancer stalking her even let her try …?
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