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Murder in the Valleys

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Ex-superintendent Fabia Havard is struggling with civilian life when a local girl is found dead. Out walking near the rain-swelled river running past her small Welsh town, she comes across the body of Amber Morgan. Fabia’s police training tells her instantly that the death is the result of foul play. But no longer in the force, all she can do is call it in. Yet she has m Ex-superintendent Fabia Havard is struggling with civilian life when a local girl is found dead. Out walking near the rain-swelled river running past her small Welsh town, she comes across the body of Amber Morgan. Fabia’s police training tells her instantly that the death is the result of foul play. But no longer in the force, all she can do is call it in. Yet she has mixed feelings when she discovers it is her former colleague, Matt Lambert, newly promoted to chief inspector, who will head the investigation into the girl’s death. Despite this, having known the victim, and bored with her new job as an illustrator, Fabia can’t help probing into the murder. However, her inquiries further upset the quiet of the town. Not least her neighbour, busybody Rhona Griffiths, who was seen arguing with the victim the day before her death. Fabia’s activity bothers Matt Lambert but time and time again Fabia’s instincts are proved right. He can’t help leaning on her in order to progress the investigation but that will also involve confronting why she left the force years ago. Can they put their differences aside and work together to bring the perpetrator to justice despite Fabia’s painful past being brought up again? Or will Fabia’s moonlighting get her into further danger? MURDER IN THE VALLEYS is set in the fictional town of Pontygwyn in the Welsh valleys under the shadow of the Black Mountains. It will appeal to readers who like traditional whodunnits, those who like the landscape, atmosphere and people of South Wales, and everyone who likes a good read that keeps you turning the page.


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Ex-superintendent Fabia Havard is struggling with civilian life when a local girl is found dead. Out walking near the rain-swelled river running past her small Welsh town, she comes across the body of Amber Morgan. Fabia’s police training tells her instantly that the death is the result of foul play. But no longer in the force, all she can do is call it in. Yet she has m Ex-superintendent Fabia Havard is struggling with civilian life when a local girl is found dead. Out walking near the rain-swelled river running past her small Welsh town, she comes across the body of Amber Morgan. Fabia’s police training tells her instantly that the death is the result of foul play. But no longer in the force, all she can do is call it in. Yet she has mixed feelings when she discovers it is her former colleague, Matt Lambert, newly promoted to chief inspector, who will head the investigation into the girl’s death. Despite this, having known the victim, and bored with her new job as an illustrator, Fabia can’t help probing into the murder. However, her inquiries further upset the quiet of the town. Not least her neighbour, busybody Rhona Griffiths, who was seen arguing with the victim the day before her death. Fabia’s activity bothers Matt Lambert but time and time again Fabia’s instincts are proved right. He can’t help leaning on her in order to progress the investigation but that will also involve confronting why she left the force years ago. Can they put their differences aside and work together to bring the perpetrator to justice despite Fabia’s painful past being brought up again? Or will Fabia’s moonlighting get her into further danger? MURDER IN THE VALLEYS is set in the fictional town of Pontygwyn in the Welsh valleys under the shadow of the Black Mountains. It will appeal to readers who like traditional whodunnits, those who like the landscape, atmosphere and people of South Wales, and everyone who likes a good read that keeps you turning the page.

30 review for Murder in the Valleys

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    I don’t remember ever reading a book set in Wales. I know lately there are a number of recent mysteries set in various UK setting. This is a new author and narrator for me. The book is well written. The plot twists about. The characters are interesting as is the countryside. The protagonist is a police ex-superintendent, Fabia Havard. Fabia becomes involved in a local murder and is in contact with her former colleagues. The narrator uses an accent, but I cannot determine if this is a Welsh accen I don’t remember ever reading a book set in Wales. I know lately there are a number of recent mysteries set in various UK setting. This is a new author and narrator for me. The book is well written. The plot twists about. The characters are interesting as is the countryside. The protagonist is a police ex-superintendent, Fabia Havard. Fabia becomes involved in a local murder and is in contact with her former colleagues. The narrator uses an accent, but I cannot determine if this is a Welsh accent as I do not recall ever hearing one. This is an enjoyable read. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is seven hours and forty-nine minutes. Gwen Watson does a good job narrating the book. Watson is a British voice-over artist.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Harriet Steel

    Despite the references in the title, I didn't think this was a particularly cosy mystery, nor was the Welsh setting very vividly conveyed, however it was an enjoyable read. To me, the book fell more into the category of a standard police procedural, of which there are a lot about at the moment in book form or on the TV. Aside from a decent plot, it's the kind of book that stands or falls on how interesting the characters and their interactions are, and I thought the author did a competent job of Despite the references in the title, I didn't think this was a particularly cosy mystery, nor was the Welsh setting very vividly conveyed, however it was an enjoyable read. To me, the book fell more into the category of a standard police procedural, of which there are a lot about at the moment in book form or on the TV. Aside from a decent plot, it's the kind of book that stands or falls on how interesting the characters and their interactions are, and I thought the author did a competent job of making Fabia and Matt likable and interesting. The "will they won't they" relationship set up could last for several books! There were other good characters like the horrible Rhona to help the story along. It's a pity that there were a few grammatical errors and clichés - rather a lot of clenched jaws and chewed bottom lips as well as my personal bugbear, the smile that doesn't reach the character's eyes - but I'd definitely read another book by this author sometime. If I could, I would have given 3.5 stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Powell

    A very gentle murder mystery

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ted Tayler

    "First-class thriller" Strong characters with an absorbing story line. Setting and dialogue perfectly pitched to the Welsh countryside. A little gem. Highly recommended. "First-class thriller" Strong characters with an absorbing story line. Setting and dialogue perfectly pitched to the Welsh countryside. A little gem. Highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan Yoon

    Light English murder mystery.

  6. 5 out of 5

    margo wheeler

    Early derivative Characters rather pedestrian and narrowly drawn with the exception of vicar. Setting of South Wales ignored. Story very ordinary. Sadly not new.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    There has been a pletora of this type of book recently – some set in Ireland, some in the Outer Hebrides, most of them following the same storyline with a male detective and his female colleague or, in this case, ex-colleague. This, in my opinion, is one of the better ones. The characters really come to life, from the spiteful spinster Rhona who I instantly disliked, to the publican's son who was torn between his hate of the police and his desire for the murderer to be brought to justice. I real There has been a pletora of this type of book recently – some set in Ireland, some in the Outer Hebrides, most of them following the same storyline with a male detective and his female colleague or, in this case, ex-colleague. This, in my opinion, is one of the better ones. The characters really come to life, from the spiteful spinster Rhona who I instantly disliked, to the publican's son who was torn between his hate of the police and his desire for the murderer to be brought to justice. I really felt for him. I very quickly became engrossed in this story and enjoyed all the twists and turns and red herrings and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mainer207

    This was much better than I expected. I have read a lot of the UK police genre. This story takes place in Wales but it could be anywhere. The country didn’t play much of a part in the story. A former Superintendent was forced to leave the police under possibly trumped up circumstances. There’s a murder in her small town and her former colleague and lover(?) is sent to investigate. I liked the characters in this book: the police officers, the townspeople alike. The narrator of the audiobook had a This was much better than I expected. I have read a lot of the UK police genre. This story takes place in Wales but it could be anywhere. The country didn’t play much of a part in the story. A former Superintendent was forced to leave the police under possibly trumped up circumstances. There’s a murder in her small town and her former colleague and lover(?) is sent to investigate. I liked the characters in this book: the police officers, the townspeople alike. The narrator of the audiobook had a good voice but there were several mispronunciations. I look forward to the next book. I await its release as an audiobook.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Very enjoyable, held ones attention from the beginning and the murderer remained hidden until the end which added to the enjoyment. Hopefully will find more books by this author. All her characters were very believable. Definitely a book to be recommended to friends. Having the various landmarks described added to the enjoyment.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Judith Favia

    Picked Up Nicely I almost quit reading after the first chapter or two. They felt awkward and stilted as the author tried to set up the situation and characters. Much better to show than tell. However, things did pick up and the resolution was both surprising and satisfying.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This book is DNF. I tried to read it more than once and just did not like the writing nor the characters.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ex-superintendent Fabia Havard is struggling with civilian life when a local girl is found dead. Out walking near the rain-swelled river running past her small Welsh town, she comes across the body of Amber Morgan. Fabia’s police training tells her instantly that the death is the result of foul play. But no longer in the force, all she can do is call it in. Yet she has mixed feelings when she discovers it is her former colleague, Matt Lambert, newly promoted to chief inspector, who will head the Ex-superintendent Fabia Havard is struggling with civilian life when a local girl is found dead. Out walking near the rain-swelled river running past her small Welsh town, she comes across the body of Amber Morgan. Fabia’s police training tells her instantly that the death is the result of foul play. But no longer in the force, all she can do is call it in. Yet she has mixed feelings when she discovers it is her former colleague, Matt Lambert, newly promoted to chief inspector, who will head the investigation into the girl’s death. Despite this, having known the victim, and bored with her new job as an illustrator, Fabia can’t help probing into the murder. However, her inquiries further upset the quiet of the town. Not least her neighbour, busybody Rhona Griffiths, who was seen arguing with the victim the day before her death. Fabia’s activity bothers Matt Lambert but time and time again Fabia’s instincts are proved right. He can’t help leaning on her in order to progress the investigation but that will also involve confronting why she left the force years ago. Can they put their differences aside and work together to bring the perpetrator to justice despite Fabia’s painful past being brought up again? Or will Fabia’s moonlighting get her into further danger? MURDER IN THE VALLEYS is set in the fictional town of Pontygwyn in the Welsh valleys under the shadow of the Black Mountains. It will appeal to readers who like traditional whodunnits, those who like the landscape, atmosphere and people of South Wales, and everyone who likes a good read that keeps you turning the page. MURDER IN THE VALLEYS is FREE with Kindle Unlimited and coming soon to paperback. Good

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ferne

    As I was scrolling for the next titles to read on Kindle Unlimited the subtitle caught my eye, "A cozy Welsh crime mystery full of twists." I've been drawn to reading novels this year either by authors "new" to me, or different location settings or subjects I've not familiar with [see review for "Six Cloves Under" (A Garlic Farm Mystery #1) by Gin Jones as a good example]. This title is by an author I've never read previously and I couldn't remember reading a novel set in Wales since reading nov As I was scrolling for the next titles to read on Kindle Unlimited the subtitle caught my eye, "A cozy Welsh crime mystery full of twists." I've been drawn to reading novels this year either by authors "new" to me, or different location settings or subjects I've not familiar with [see review for "Six Cloves Under" (A Garlic Farm Mystery #1) by Gin Jones as a good example]. This title is by an author I've never read previously and I couldn't remember reading a novel set in Wales since reading novels by Rosemary Pilcher. Sometimes spontaneous choices are simply the best! Anyone who loves watching mysteries on AcornTV, BritBox, etc. will enjoy this cozy set in South Wales. I immediately liked the character of Ex-superintendent Fabia Havard. Although she's able to use her talent from a personal interest and turn it into a new job as an illustrator I enjoyed the depth of the character showing resilience but not completely being able to turn "off" her training, experience, and interest in police investigations especially in her own neighborhood, someone she knew. The cozy was also more engaging as in addition to the murder investigation as daily life continues in the small town there is a backstory that is slowly revealed for Fabia leaving the force, a personal connection to Chief Inspector Matt Lambert, and the impact of both on the current investigation. I'm delighted it's the opening cozy of a series and look forward to reading more of the author's work.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A promising debut mystery. Fabia Havard is a former police superintendent who retired/resigned under somewhat dodgy circumstances. She lives in South Wales and has become an illustrator, although is unable to keep from being resentful about how she was forced out of the police force. Two years after her resignation she has become reinvolved with Superintendent Matt Lambert, whom she had been attracted to, but their last meeting devolved into a terrible fight. There’s now been the murder of an ar A promising debut mystery. Fabia Havard is a former police superintendent who retired/resigned under somewhat dodgy circumstances. She lives in South Wales and has become an illustrator, although is unable to keep from being resentful about how she was forced out of the police force. Two years after her resignation she has become reinvolved with Superintendent Matt Lambert, whom she had been attracted to, but their last meeting devolved into a terrible fight. There’s now been the murder of an artistic but petulant teen in her town and because Fabia has been friendly with her, she wants to see justice done. The tension between Fabia and Matt is a little melodramatic, but it does tie in very well with the both deaths, and an attack on Fabia at the end. I’m looking forward to next two.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Finally, a Kindle Unlimited book that is a real book, a worth reading Cozy, that is more than an hour in length and on a 6th grade readers level. I really enjoyed this book, it is more lenghty than a lot of the cozys found in free Kindle options. The South Wales setting is charming, picturesque and intriguing. The main Characters are realistic, and likeable . Not flawless, as both lead players here have issues going on. But that's part of this book and the ones to follow. The mystery her is welll Finally, a Kindle Unlimited book that is a real book, a worth reading Cozy, that is more than an hour in length and on a 6th grade readers level. I really enjoyed this book, it is more lenghty than a lot of the cozys found in free Kindle options. The South Wales setting is charming, picturesque and intriguing. The main Characters are realistic, and likeable . Not flawless, as both lead players here have issues going on. But that's part of this book and the ones to follow. The mystery her is welll plotted out, many twists and turns lead you on a guessing game as to the killer. What I enjoy in a cozy is present here, the neighborhood, the scenery, the vicar, the hills and dales, and of course, the cuppa .

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristy Perkins

    Here is for hoping the series gets better!!! Have to say this book had a shaky beginning. the first 15% of the book was really hard to get through. I thought the writing poor aned unpolished and nealy gave up on it. Glad I stuck with it... the characters became more rounded, although, I do feel the main male charachter was not quite formed enough. I could never quite connect with him until much later in the book. He was just not very likeable. Nonetheless... I am hoping to become better acquainted Here is for hoping the series gets better!!! Have to say this book had a shaky beginning. the first 15% of the book was really hard to get through. I thought the writing poor aned unpolished and nealy gave up on it. Glad I stuck with it... the characters became more rounded, although, I do feel the main male charachter was not quite formed enough. I could never quite connect with him until much later in the book. He was just not very likeable. Nonetheless... I am hoping to become better acquainted with him and Harvard durig the next two books sitting here!! Should maybe be giving this a 3 to 3.5 star rating, but I am a fan of this genre!!!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I cannot get back to Wales for another 18 months and for solace I'm reading a number of books that happen in Wales or are written by Welsh writers. I came across this title when looking at The Book Folks. Murder in the Valleys is set in Southern Wales. Former superintendent Fabia Harvard is the central character in this cozy mystery some change of viewpoint to her former colleague Matt Lambert who is still on the police force. After years of silence, they are thrown together again when a young lo I cannot get back to Wales for another 18 months and for solace I'm reading a number of books that happen in Wales or are written by Welsh writers. I came across this title when looking at The Book Folks. Murder in the Valleys is set in Southern Wales. Former superintendent Fabia Harvard is the central character in this cozy mystery some change of viewpoint to her former colleague Matt Lambert who is still on the police force. After years of silence, they are thrown together again when a young local woman is found dead in a river. Corruption, arrogance, another murder also unfold. It is a good story and I will be reading the rest in the series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Diane E

    Nice cozy mystery Multiple mysteries here . Retired Superintendent Havard is coming to grips with her forced retirement . DCI Matt Lambert arrives on the scene stirring up old memories . After a young girl is found murdered the question becomes why and who would do such a dreadful thing. Fabia misses her old life and gets involved . Cozies are fun to read as there is usually a bit of romance lurking in the background .

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    3.5 stars. A fine, solid murder mystery with a compelling plot and interesting main and minor characters...will definitely be reading more by this author. My only issue is that, while set in Wales, there wasn't much in the language, setting, or customs that made the Welshness stand out. One of the reasons I like reading books from other countries is to get that strong sense of place, and that was lacking here. Otherwise, all good. 3.5 stars. A fine, solid murder mystery with a compelling plot and interesting main and minor characters...will definitely be reading more by this author. My only issue is that, while set in Wales, there wasn't much in the language, setting, or customs that made the Welshness stand out. One of the reasons I like reading books from other countries is to get that strong sense of place, and that was lacking here. Otherwise, all good.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    This is the first book in a series featuring Fabia Havard, a former Welsh police superintendent who was forced to resign from the force under mysterious circumstances. Now a book illustrator, Fabia finds the body of a young girl when she takes a walk along the river running through her village. She gets involved in the murder investigation as a witness and has to face a former colleague she has not seen since she left the force. Interesting characters and great sense of place.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette Ford

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked Fabia Havard and Matt and his team and I enjoyed the Welsh village setting. I liked that there was, in a way, two stories happening concurrently; that of the murder of Amber and also the investigations into what had caused Fabia to leave the Force a couple of years previously. As soon as Matt heard the message left by Amber on a reporter’s phone, I knew who the murderer was, but it was still a good story that held me until the last.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Rose-West

    I really enjoyed this book. I could feel the history behind the two main characters. Lots of unresolved emotions, which was great. A good story, we'll thought out. The only thing I was slightly disappointed with was the end. It felt too abrupt and cut off. I turned the page fully expecting more only to realise it was done. Hopefully some of what I wanted to know will be resolved in book 2. I really enjoyed this book. I could feel the history behind the two main characters. Lots of unresolved emotions, which was great. A good story, we'll thought out. The only thing I was slightly disappointed with was the end. It felt too abrupt and cut off. I turned the page fully expecting more only to realise it was done. Hopefully some of what I wanted to know will be resolved in book 2.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gary and Sandra Sims

    Good read While the storyline is familiar Ms. McCathie has put an interesting twist to the plot which makes for a good read. The murder and subsequent search for the killer keeps you guessing who the perpetrator is from the numerous suspects. The characters are well written, interesting and likeable.

  24. 4 out of 5

    johnanimalantics.net, Margaret G Conlan

    Super What an amazing wonderful story from beginning to end. However all the profanity especially from the vicar was upsetting as I’m absolutely sure it wouldn’t come from clergy hence 4 stars. What I did like was the camerderie with the villagers who ho looked after each other. The main characters were super stars with the villain also playing a cat and mouse game worthily.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    A Grand story Pippa McCathie you have written a great story. I loved your characters, Matt and Fabia. I couldn't put this book down and I didn't work out who the killer was until near the end. A Grand story Pippa McCathie you have written a great story. I loved your characters, Matt and Fabia. I couldn't put this book down and I didn't work out who the killer was until near the end.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary H. Lesser

    More please! Terrific plot and a great sense of place. Fabia is a strong character with realistic soft places that the reader can relate to. I hope this becomes a series. Highly recommend!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janet Randolph

    A gripping & engaging mystery! I love a mystery that is well developed, exciting and logical. The characters are realistic and each one adds depth to the book. I found myself reading well into the night because I had to know what would happen next!!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rita Hebert

    Good old fashioned mystery Pippa McCathie very much puts me in mind of Agatha Christie, especially with her use of a good ole red herring. I really enjoyed the characters, the setting and of course the plot. If you enjoy a good mystery, you’ll probably like this one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gail Gassen

    A griping beginning for All I would definitely recommend this to others but I think I'd say to read this book first before Murder at the Abby not sure!!?? Both are exceptional books & deserve this rating I've given! Fantastic & also sad..as murder always is. A griping beginning for All I would definitely recommend this to others but I think I'd say to read this book first before Murder at the Abby not sure!!?? Both are exceptional books & deserve this rating I've given! Fantastic & also sad..as murder always is.

  30. 5 out of 5

    michele park

    Engaging characters Nice writing with well fleshed out characters. The plot was not super complex but interesting enough to keep my interest. I hadn't read the first book but was able to follow along fine. Engaging characters Nice writing with well fleshed out characters. The plot was not super complex but interesting enough to keep my interest. I hadn't read the first book but was able to follow along fine.

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