A MelanieM Review: Grasmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy by Dahlia Donovan


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

A Romantic Cosy Mystery Trilogy by  author Dahlia Donovan on a cosy mystery adventure in Grasmere Cottage. With love, wit, and a murder to solve, life for Valor and Bishan is about to get bloomin’ complicated in this sweet gay romance that covers three stories and will leave you wanting more. 

The stories appear together under one cover in paperback format at Hot Tree Publishing, also separately in all eBook formats wherein lies the rub for me.  See, I was lucky to read it as one story (still not sure how the author and publisher gave me the paperback version in e format).  Cal them.  Because read in one flowing story?  The best thing ever!!

I didn’t realize they were actual separate stories until I went back to the author to beg her to write more Grasmere Cottage cosies. That’s when I found out these were three stories not one and this couple was, at least, temporarily on hold for more.  But after reading these amazing tales you will see why I’m holding out  for the trilogy to   turn into a series.  Why Valor and Bish have captured my imagination along with my heart.

Especially when the author hooks them up with one really ugly serial killer intent on destroying their hard won love and  sanctuary in Grasmere Cottage. Oh what a marvelous couple Dahlia Donovan has created here.  Unusual and perfect for each other, each with their own fascinating back histories and personalities that when mixed together become a complex, highly intelligent, loving, and absolutely unique crime fighting couple.

Talk about your layers!  Valor Tarquin Scott, tossed out of the family (for being gay) highly bred society son, now running a niche bakery and living happily with Bish in what his family refers to as his grubby little cottage.  Bishan Tambol, autistic, has been able to turn his love of music into a career with the London Symphony Orchestra. That together with their cat, and a love of the stories of the detective Poirot given them a contented and lovely life together.  Plus the support of Bish’s huge family too.

Then the killer strikes in their garden and nothing is the same.

Donovan’s character of Bish, his struggles with his autism, especially once his routine’s are destroyed when the killer infiltrates their lives is incredibly realistic and often painful.  You’ve come to care so quickly for this pair and Bish.  And to see how shattered Bish becomes at points just hurts.  And how amazing when he finds his strength and methods to cope to work the puzzles to help find the killer.  And Valor too is just that splendid bundle of depth and determination that makes you to just cheer him on, him and Bish naturally.  To push through all the vile threats of not just a murderer but that of Valor’s family also intent on derailing his life for their own purposes as well.

This book, oops, these books truly have everything to keep you glued to the pages.  A plot that will keep you guessing right up until the end, so many twists and turns that the suspense is a white knuckle read all the way, so much heart and love because the relationship is just so  endearing. And  finally, because these are people/characters you may never have met before, loving each other, and succeeding to vanquish evil and live happily, we assume, ever after in Grasmere Cottage.  Fighting the righteous gnome/frog wars!

Really, Dahlia Donovan!  If for no other reason.  I need more gnome/frog wars!

So pick these up.  They will do great things for your heart.  Stupendous characters who love each other in a cottage complete with cat and crazy neighbor.    The plots are terrific, the writing marvelous, and all things combined…makes these the cosies of your heart.  Don’t miss out.  I highly recommend them one and all.




Book Covers:  Claire Smith.  I love the covers for the whole series.  Fun, out of the box for an english cozie but this artist has always surprised me and continues to do so.  I like it.Grasmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy by Dahlia Donovan  Paperback     Hot Tree Publishing 


Dead in the Garden (Grasmere Mystery #1):

Dead body in the garden? Check.

Mystery to solve? Check.

Police focused on the wrong person? Not good.
All grown up and graduated, Valor Tarquin Scott, son to Earl and Countess Scott, owns The Ginger’s Bread, a biscuit shop, in Grasmere in the Lake District. The love of his life, Bishan Tamboli, has turned his music studies into a successful career playing with the London Symphony Orchestra. It’s a perfect life with their cat, spending evenings watching Poirot on the television.

The nightmare begins with one dead former schoolmate, leading police to believe Bishan is responsible.

Valor struggles to solve the cryptic puzzles left behind in a race to prove Bishan’s innocence.

He can’t help wondering how far the body count will rise before they manage to stop the killer.


Sales Links:   Hot Tree Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 128 pages
Published October 6th 2018 by Hot Tree Publishing
Edition Language English

Dead in the Pond (Grasmere Cottage Mystery #2)

Killer on the loose? Check.

Frogs in the garden? Check.

Playing a twisted game with a killer? Not good.

Bishan Tamboli struggles to recover from his false arrest. He worries the police still aren’t as convinced about his innocence. With his longtime boyfriend, Valor, at his side, he intends to solve the puzzles and catch the murderer amongst their former schoolmates.

He’s fought hard for his independence as an autistic and refuses to throw it all away because of a nameless monster. With friends and family in the killer’s crosshairs, Bishan fears the mystery will bring the end of everything and everyone he loves.



Sales Links:  Hot Tree Publishing | Amazon

Book Details: Kindle Edition, 120 pages
Expected publication: October 13th 2018 by Hot Tree Publishing
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Grasmere Cottage Mystery #2

Dead in the Shop (Grasmere Cottage Mystery #3) :

Deadly fire? Check.

Fear-induced heart attack imminent? Check.

Time running out on them? Not good.

Valor Scott wants nothing more than to enjoy life in his little cottage with his boyfriend. The shadows of a serial killer continue to haunt him, though. He only wants the living nightmare to end. He battles one catastrophic event after the other, intent on bringing his loved ones through to the other side safely.

As their killer finally comes out into the open, Valor finds himself face-to-face with an obsessed murderer intent on destroying everyone in their path.




Sales Links:  Hot Tree Publishing Amazon

Book Details:Kindle

Edition, 121 pages
Expected publication: October 20th 2018 by Hot Tree Publishing
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesGrasmere Cottage Mystery #3



A MelanieM Review: Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries) by Charlie Cochrane


Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

JuryOfOne_600x900Inspector Robin Bright is enjoying a quiet Saturday with his lover, Adam Matthews, when murder strikes in nearby Abbotson, and he’s called in to investigate. He hopes for a quick resolution, but as the case builds, he’s drawn into a tangled web of crimes, new and old, that threatens to ensnare him and destroy his fledgling relationship.

Adam is enjoying his final term teaching at Lindenshaw School, and is also delighted to be settling down with Robin at last. Only Robin doesn’t seem so thrilled. Then an old crush of Adam’s shows up in the murder investigation, and suddenly Adam is yet again fighting to stay out of one of Robin’s cases, to say nothing of trying to keep their relationship from falling apart.

Between murder, stabbings, robberies, and a suspect with a charming smile, the case threatens to ruin everything both Robin and Adam hold dear. What does it take to realise where your heart really lies, and can a big, black dog hold the key?

What marvelous characters! What a hedgerow maze of a plot! With Jury of One Charlie Cochrane moved her cozy mystery series even closer into my heart.

Characters Adam Matthews and Robin Bright melt you with their genuineness.  By that I mean, I believed in them utterly.  Their kindnesses and their doubts about the relationship in its newness, their intelligence and perceptions about each other and the people around them.  I accepted them as real and moved forward into the story from the first page.

The two person pov continues and I love it here.  Both Robin and Adam are strong, necessary voices here and the contributions the different perspectives make to the plot and relationship are necessary to the story and series.  We see what Robin’s continuing need to hold onto his flat is doing to the relationship on Adam’s side and his.  That’s the more intimate element.  Then when it comes to the larger scope, that of the murder mystery or mysteries here, we see how segments in both of their lives are starting to add up to a startling…well, that’s best left to the author and this wonderful book.

I think what really engages me here is the details in their lives.  Having teachers in my background, I understand when Adam faces a evening of grading papers or other such things that he has brought home to work on. He’s used to it or was until Robin entered his life. Now he loves the companionship but it seems to be missing. And Robin?  Coming home so exhausted from his cases and long hours that he can barely keep his eyes open to see his way to their bed, let alone  converse, eat, or make love in a new relationship?  He’s a inspector on a murder case and that’s his life.  Something brand new for Adam and a huge adjustment for them both.  Neither backs away from it, the author makes sure of it but I love how its handled.

And then there’s himself, that big black Newfoundland Campbell who lends a ear, a discerning look or much, much, more when needed.  Yes, I adore him too.  He’s as much of this family as Adam and Robin and the village they live in.

So make room Midsomer Mysteries, I’m adding another English mystery series to love.  I can’t wait for the third mystery to arrive.  For those of you new to the series, you have several choices.  The audiobook is out and my review will be coming shortly.  Or you can follow the ebook route.  Either way catch up.  This is a series to treasure if you love your murder mysteries and a realistic wonderful main couple like Robin and Adam, with a big Newfy thrown in for good measure.

I highly recommend them all.

Cover art by L. C. Chase is well done and works for the mystery inside.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing |  ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 298 pages
Published March 21st 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleJury of One
ISBN 1626493766 (ISBN13: 9781626493766)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:  Lindenshaw Mysteries

Murders Afoot with the Return of the Lindenshaw Mysteries in ‘Jury of One’ by Charlie Cochrane



Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries) by Charlie Cochrane
iptide Publishing
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Purchase it Here

Jury of One is the second in the Lindenshaw Mysteries series. It features a gay Detective Inspector, Robin, whose investigations never seem to run in a straightforward fashion, and his teacher partner Adam who finds Robin’s cases appear determined to involve him. And there’s Adam’s dog, Campbell, who’s desperate to stick his big, black wet nose into everybody’s business.

About  Jury of One

Inspector Robin Bright is enjoying a quiet Saturday with his lover, Adam Matthews, when murder strikes in nearby Abbotston, and he’s called in to investigate. He hopes for a quick resolution, but as the case builds, he’s drawn into a tangled web of crimes, new and old, that threatens to ensnare him and destroy his fledgling relationship.

Adam is enjoying his final term teaching at Lindenshaw School, and is also delighted to be settling down with Robin at last. Only Robin doesn’t seem so thrilled. Then an old crush of Adam’s shows up in the murder investigation, and suddenly Adam is yet again fighting to stay out of one of Robin’s cases, to say nothing of trying to keep their relationship from falling apart.

Between murder, stabbings, robberies, and a suspect with a charming smile, the case threatens to ruin everything both Robin and Adam hold dear. What does it take to realise where your heart really lies, and can a big, black dog hold the key?magnifiying glass with fingerprint

About Charlie Cochrane

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:



Leave a comment for a chance to win a download of  Lessons in Love (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #1) in audio! Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 26, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Lindenshaw Mysteries

Adam Matthews’s life changed when Inspector Robin Bright walked into his classroom to investigate a murder.

Now it seems like all the television series are right: the leafy villages of England do indeed conceal a hotbed of crime, murder, and intrigue. Lindenshaw is proving the point.

Detective work might be Robin’s job, but Adam somehow keeps getting involved—even though being a teacher is hardly the best training for solving crimes. Then again, Campbell, Adam’s irrepressible Newfoundland dog, seems to have a nose for figuring things out, so how hard can it be?

The Best Corpse for the Job (Lindenshaw Mysteries, #1) Charlie Cochrane*

Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries, #2)Charlie Cochrane*

*A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Recommended Story.

A MelanieM Review: The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane


Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Best Corpse for the Job cover

Tea and sympathy have never been so deadly.

The private school of Lindenshaw St Crispin’ has long lost the luster it once had.  Once a sought after place of high education, it has now sild slowly into the ranks of lesser schools and its dwindling enrollment reflects that.  But the governors want a return to its glorious days and to do that they need to hire a new Head Master or Head Teacher as the title is now called.  Among those chosen for the selection panel is schoolteacher Adam Matthews.  All Adam wants is to chose the best person for the children and go home to his quiet life at the end of the day.  But when one of the applicants is found strangled in the school, everyone looks to be a suspect, even Adam himself.

Inspector Robin Bright isn’t thrilled to be back at St. Crispin’s. the scene of the crime and his old alma mater.  The school and its grounds,  as well some of the old staff that still remember him, bring back old painful memories Robin would rather stay forgotten.  The one bright spot is one that he shouldn’t be thinking about? That would be the handsome and kind schoolteacher, Adam Matthews.


All the secrets of Lindenshaw St. Crispin’s start to surface as another body is discovered.  As the stakes get higher and the murderer becomes more desperate, Adam and Robin have to decide who they can trust and rely on, even deciding if that includes each other.  The complications rise up and the race is on to find the killer before Adam and even Robin himself are targeted.

If you look up the definition of Cosy Mystery in the dictionary, it includes this statement ”

“Cozies are mystery novels typically set in English country houses, villages, or other benign environments. Cozies feature very little violence, aside for the murder, and few gory details. The term arose from the relatively genteel settings, the common use of amateur sleuths as protagonists, and the fact that all loose ends are tied up and the villain caught and punished by the novel’s conclusion.”

To that I will add, the Cozy Mystery is a popular trope found in all forms of media, from Agatha Christie, the grande dame of Cozies to Murder, She Wrote.  It has a timeless appeal with its small town settings and the intimacy found between all the various townspeople… victims, murderers, suspects alike.  It lacks the brutality and rawness of other mysteries, concerning itself with the amateur sleuth and their ability to reason.  Small wonder that Charlie Cochrane, that marvelous author of stories composed of civilities, history, and relationships has written a cozy to delight us all.

The Best Corpse for the Job brings us into the small English village of Stanebridge and a school in decline.  Lindenshaw St. Crispin’s is a school mired in its past.  And its teachers, well, most of them, realize that to survive it needs a new Headteacher (formerly known as Headmaster) and direction to pull it into the present.  A panel is chosen to decide who is the best candidate for the job and then hire that person.  So deceptively simple a decision and yet so fraught full of politics, personality clashes, and ambition that you know it will go wrong right from the start.  And it does, deliciously so.

Cochrane brings us into the civilized halls and playing  fields of this most austere establishment, letting us feel our way through the aged paneled hallways, noting the deep history of the school while subtly highlighting the wear, tear, and worn nature that its lowered status has caused.  Through Cochrane’s descriptions one doesn’t have to had stepped foot in such a school to feel the atmosphere of stress, age, and years of children of all ages trooping in and out have wrought upon St. Crispin’s.  It’s all marvelously there, a perfect setting for murder most foul.

Adam Matthews, a kind and caring teacher who prefers to keep his homosexuality quiet from some of the more bigoted members of the staff, is such an attractive main character.   His geniality, his concern for his students and the future of the school make him immediately likable.  We get his concerns and we adore the way in which he appreciates his life, from the school to his small house, complete with enormous Newfoundland called Campbell.  He’s the perfect amateur Cozy sleuth and he acquits himself handsomely here from start to finish.

More complex, definitely more brooding, Inspector Robin Bright has a painful history that is deeply rooted in the very school that is the scene of the crime.  And this crime has brought up all the old hurtful memories and issues that Robin thought he had put in the past.  Again, Cochrane makes us feel the bitterness and anger Robin has carried with him all these years and it’s a stark contrast to Adam and the type of teacher he represents. Robin too is someone the reader will care about greatly.

And at the heart of this story is the crime and murderer who remains hidden for most of the story.  It’s a twisty little mystery, one that the reader will enjoy puzzling out along with Robin and Adam, as the scares, clues, and suspense ratchets up the stakes for all.  Is there a heart thumper or two?  Why, yes, there is and it makes the ending all the more enjoyable.

I hope that there are further mysteries ahead for Robin and Adam, they make quite the team.  And Charlie Cochrane’s ability to bring the gentility, intimacy, and sometimes deadly village goings on to life makes her a Cozy Mystery author to write home about.   Consider The Best Corpse for the Job, and its author, Charlie Cochrane both among Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words highly recommended reads.

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase.  I have to admit to being disappointed in the cover.  Too modern for a Cozy, it missed so many opportunities to highlight the story and the mystery it involves.  It looks more like a modern office than ancient private school.

Sales Links:  Riptide Press (available for pre order)   All Romance eBooks   Amazon – all links to follow

Book Details:

ebook, 298 pages
Expected publication: November 24th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
original titleThe Best Corpse for the Job
edition languageEnglish