Three out of Five Stars
The Summary: Join bestselling author Dahlia Donovan on a cosy mystery adventure in Grasmere Cottage Mystery book one. With love, wit, and a murder to solve, life for Valor and Bishan is about to get bloomin’ complicated in this sweet gay romance.
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.
The Grasmere Cottage Mystery is three book series that you definitely need to get as a bundle. Otherwise you’re going to hate yourself and the cliffhangers at the end of Dead in the Garden (Book One) and Dead in the Pond (Book Two). I wouldn’t have been a happy camper if I didn’t have all the books in hand while I was reading them.
Dead in the Garden starts out with Valor and Bishan finding the corpse of a former classmate in the garden over morning tea. For some reason the police focus on Bishan as a suspect. Bishan, is Autistic, and very much not who the police should be looking at. It takes another murder and a coded note before Bishan and Valor are back together.
What was really interesting was the fact that we got a realistic Autistic character in this series. You got a couple of different point of views as well. In the first book, which is told from Valor’s point of view, you get to see how they interact as a couple. Valor cherishes the touches Bishan bestows upon him and he knows when it becomes too much.
Valor also comes from a very wealthy family that he’s been disowned from. Honestly, he’s a bigger part of Bishan’s family than he ever was of his own. The Tambolis are extremely supportive and caring. It’s the type of family you want to be a part of, even if they can be a little bit overwhelming at times.
Dead in the Pond, picks up right where Dead in the Garden stops. This book is told more from Bishan’s point of view, which I liked. You got a feel for his internal thoughts and how his mind works. It’s just a little bit different than the way out minds work. The killer ups his game. He starts targeting those close to Valor and Bishan. They’re trying to figure out the puzzles left behind and who the killer is. This isn’t as easy as Poriot and Mrs. Marple makes it seem. There’s a bit of a subplot going on in this book in concern to Valor and his family. Why do they so desperately want him back in their lives?
The cliffhanger in this one is worse than in the first book. You’re left right in the middle of a situation wondering what the heck is going to happen.
In the conclusion, Dead in the Shop, relief settles over you because you know that Bishan and Valor are okay. That cliffhanger wasn’t nearly as bad as you originally thought it to be. Even though it made me so angry and this is precisely the reason you need all three books in hand when you start this series.
Now, I’m going to be completely honest with you. I kind of forgot there was a serieal killer running amuck. I was much more invested in Valor and Bishan and their friends interacting with each other than I was with the mystery aspect. And when I did find out who the killer was and why he was killing? Well It was an ‘eh, okay’ reaction and I was interested in the frogs vs. gnomes war that was happening.
Over all this was a cute, easy series to read. I really wanted more from it though. I needed a bit more about Valor’s family because it was so hyped up and then it fell a bit flat. And I didn’t much pay attention to the killer in the last book because it got a little boring. I absolutely adored Valor and Bishan though. They made my heart warm and left me feeling happy. Honestly I could have read about them without the mystery and been perfectly happy.