Reviews of “Murder by the Book”

Cover of Murder by the Book
Available in paperback and Kindle ebook

Order at your local bookshop
quoting ISBN 978-1-911223-26-9
or buy online here

A lovely story to cuddle up with in front of the fire on a chilly Cotswold evening.– Anita Davison on her Disorganised Writer blog (click the link to read the full review on her blog)

…Top it all off with a mysterious death and this book has all the ingredients of a fun read. I particularly love the literary references that are sprinkled throughout the book, but then Sophie is an English teacher so it’s to be expected. A lovely story to cuddle up with in front of the fire on a chilly Cotswold evening.


Warm and cosy – Jennifer Palmer on Promoting Crime book blog (click the link to read the full review on the blog)

This is a warm and cosy book which makes a nice read on a cold night! (click link above to visit blog for full review)


Entertaining book Cloudyfold

I love murder mysteries, and this one did not dissapoint, but was not too violent or disturbing, lovely read.


Enjoyable cozyhotdogcrafts

I have enjoyed each of the Sophie Sayers Village mysteries. Each one has been very well proofed and edited. Enjoy.


You’ll be hooked Carolb

Have worked my way through the series and have enjoyed each one. Looking forward to the next book.


Relaxing readDab Reader

What better way to spend a summer afternoon than curled up with a Sophie Sayers story. Light, easy reading with the usual characters from the village plus a few spanners thrown into the works. Sophie and Hector have their first spat and Hermione Minty novels play their part. There was a subtle mention of the Hawkesbury Upton Lit Fest – a real annual event founded by the author put in too. A pleasant read for a relaxing afternoon. This quirky series is slow-paced fun, akin to Alexander McCall Smith’s 44 Scotland Street series rather than the No. 1 Ladies detective ones. There are lots of wonderfully colourful characters and descriptions, with a hint of murder.


So good, waiting for the next oneAmazon customer

I bought book one and enjoyed it so much i got the other three, now I am waiting on the next ones. My only moan is that they were so good I read them too quickly.


Funny and wittyAnn Hobbs

The book was funny and witty. I enjoyed all the characters and felt like I could live in a village like that. It was a real page turner and a great read for a holiday or a weekend read.


An assured and delicious sequelSusan Grossey

I just love this series! I’m a bit of a jellyfish when it comes to “real” crime – I don’t like all the gory details, and I especially do not want to delve into the minds of serial killers, psychopaths and the like. Sophie, her late Aunt May, and Hector and his bookshop are much more my pace – and I grabbed this latest installment the moment it was published.

I am enjoying getting to know the main characters better – Hector’s family makes an appearance in this one – and feeling, as a result, that I am part of the Wendlebury Barrow community. But because the story flows in uncomplicated fashion and slips along easily, we shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that it was easy to write. I can imagine the effort that Debbie has put into plotting this, with small details mentioned early on that are later picked up as significant. And as someone who reads a lot of self-published books, I must say how wonderful it is to read one with not a single spelling mistake or typo! An accomplished sequel – hope you’re working hard on number five, Debbie!


A cosy mystery by a reluctant murdererShepline

When I think of cosy/village mysteries I think of the ‘lighter’ Miss Marples, or an episode of Bergerac or Death in Paradise. What all of these mysteries have in common is that all feature a murder (and often several of them). None of them are dark, psychological thrillers, but all of them have death at the heart of them. Even Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Whimsy books have murders attached, and Sophie Sayers, the heroine of Debbie Young’s Sophie Sayers Village Mysteriesis named after those books.

Debbie Young admits herself that she is a reluctant murder (something that her husband and daughter must feel reassured to know!!), and this book, like the previous books in the series are light on murder. Even so, the way that she works plot with the threat of murder shows us that she is a master of story plotting and of weaving intrigue. Murder looks to be around the corner throughout and so you do find yourself approaching the, short, chapters nervous that someone is going to wind up dead by the end of it.

Like it’s predecessors, Murder by the the Book, is more a story of rural village life in the Cotswolds with all of the characters and traditions you would expect to find. This book is all of that, and I think even more of an autobiography of Debbie’s. Set more in Hector’s House bookshop than any of the others, this is the book that deals – alongside the murder and the intrigue – of publishing, bookselling, Indie Author careers, and even, towards the end a wonderfully self-referential plug for the town on which Wendelebury Barrow based, and Debbie Young’s very much real, Hawkesbury Upton Literary Festival.

I won’t say if there is a murder in this book, but suffice it to say that it is a story that keeps you guessing right up until the bitter end.


New interesting book – Amazon Customer

“Great author. Keeps me captivated.”


Sophie Sayers does it again! – “michaelmac43”

“Debbie Young has done it again. I really liked ‘Best Murder in Show’ and this new book takes us back to the village of Wendlebury Barrow and the delightful Sophie Sayers, who now has a love interest that might just shock the neighbours.

“The novel is described as a cosy mystery and that’s exactly what it is: deceptively calm rural English life undershot with menace. The picture Ms Young paints is so compelling, I tried to find the place; but my satnav couldn’t locate it.”


A book for bedtime – Sue A

“I really love these Sophie Sayers mysteries. Easy reading, perfect for bedtime. By book 4 I’m really getting a feel for the characters. Interesting to see some new ones come in this time, and others given more prominence. A real page turner but in a gentle sort of way – no tension which is what I like about them. So glad there are more to come!”


Addictive Story – “London Lass”

“The Sophie Sayers series is sooo addictive! Like the cakes Sophie serves at Hector’s House, each story is delicious, with a twist or three of suspense to stop village life seeming too sugary. I can’t wait for the next one.”


Cosy, and yet… – W J S Kirton

“The fact that this is a “Sophie Sayers Village Mystery” indicates from the start that the book will belong to the section of the crime genre labelled “cosy”. And yet its opening lines introduce us to two shadowy figures indulging in some far from cosy violence which results in one of them falling to his death down the village well. Thereafter, we’re introduced to a cross-section of the inhabitants of the village of Wendlebury Barrow and learn in entertaining detail of their relationships, interactions and some relatively harmless secrets.

“The distance between that opening violence and the minutiae of their everyday lives couldn’t be greater. It’s obviously a deliberate juxtaposition on the part of the author which, by setting the violence in a simple, unthreatening context, increases its dramatic effect and, simultaneously, the reader’s curiosity.

“That curiosity is sustained very cleverly throughout the book because there’s no indication until very late in the narrative of either the identity of the two people involved or the nature of the dispute which leads to the killing. Instead, the two threads of normality and violence are drawn together by an innocent and apparently unrelated celebration the villagers are planning, which eventually creates the circumstances for the killing and gradually reveals the victim and the potential motives of several of the characters with whom we’ve become familiar.

“As we near the climax, our suspicions are made to fall on some of these same innocents in succession before the final revelation and resolution. The writing is assured, the characters well drawn, and the various plot lines are often very funny. It’s a highly entertaining and probably addictive book – addictive because these are people with whom you’ll want to spend more time.”


Buy online here

Or order at your local bookshop quoting ISBN 978-1-911223-26-9