cover image Murder Among Us: A Mitchell and Markby Village Whodunit

Murder Among Us: A Mitchell and Markby Village Whodunit

Ann Granger. St. Martin's Press, $18.95 (250pp) ISBN 978-0-312-09875-9

Sharp characterization and a fine-tuned comic sense distinguish this latest entry in this British mystery series featuring the village of Bamford's Chief Inspector Alan Markby and his lover from the Foreign Office, Meredith Mitchell. Notable among the players is Zoe Foster, the muddy-booted, irresistible young woman who runs the Alice Batt Rest Home for Horses and Donkeys, the latter including malodorous, arthritic Maud. Zoe and other villagers in the Society for the Preservation of Historic Bamford are deeply distressed as the ancient landmark Springwood Hall is turned into a pricey country inn, complete with indoor pool and Swiss chef. The inn's grand opening offers high comedy as the Society's plump chairwoman publicizes her protest by running naked among the illustrious guests. Then Meredith, visiting from London for the event, discovers the body of another Society member fatally stabbed in the wine cellar. Markby and Mitchell sort things out, along the way dealing with an elderly molester of children, a surprising will and a terrifying incident of early morning arson. Readers may wish Granger ( Say It with Poison ) had delivered more of her fine humor, but she compensates somewhat by tossing in an unexpected romance. (Dec.)