Murder Lost and Found (Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries #7)

cover of Murder Lost and FoundFinding a dead body in the village school’s lost property cupboard during the summer holidays is bad enough – but when the body disappears and the police refuse to investigate, it’s down to Sophie Sayers to get to the bottom of the mystery and save the village school from the threat of closure.

Featuring all the leading characters from previous books and introducing a lively cast of new players, this seventh mystery marks the end of Sophie’s first year in the Cotswold village of Wendlebury Barrow.

Murder Lost and Found is the seventh in the Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries series and marks the end of Sophie’s first year in her new home of Wendlebury Barrow. The first seven books run the course of a year in the life of the Cotswold village from one summer to the next.

Originally this book was going to mark the end of the series, but due to reader demand, an eighth book is now being planned, and there will be many spin-offs, including the novelettes in the series Tales from Wendlebury Barrow.

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What Readers Say

  • “A great story, with very entertaining humour, interesting characters, and a classic and effective plot” – Lucienne Boyce
  • “This series keeps getting better with every new book” – Alison Morton


1 Deal

“As going out of my comfort zone to Greece made such a difference to me, I think it’s your turn now.”

In May, a week’s writing retreat on a tiny Greek island had inspired me to start on my first book, Best Murder in Show, recording some of the many notable episodes in my life since I’d inherited my great-aunt’s cottage in the Cotswolds.

On the first day of the school summer holidays, with no school-run mums to serve in the tearoom, I was taking the opportunity of a quiet moment in the bookshop to thrash out an important subject. After nearly a year of dating, Hector and I had yet to take our first holiday together.

Hector raised his eyebrows.

“Why? I’m pretty well-travelled. I’ve been around.”

“Yes, but not lately. Ever since I’ve lived in Wendlebury Barrow, you’ve never been further than Clevedon to see your parents. Aren’t you getting a bit set in your ways for a man of thirty-two?”

He tapped on his music app to change the tunes playing over the sound system. Then, to the mellow tones of Ella Fitzgerald singing Gershwin’s “Summertime”, he strolled over from the trade counter to sit at a table in the tearoom.

“I hope you’re not thinking of a trip to Australia to see Horace? That’s way beyond my budget just now.”

Appealing as visiting Hector’s identical twin might be, that wasn’t what I had in mind.

“No. My idea would be much cheaper. Let me show you Scotland. You’ve never been there, and my parents would put us up for free. They live in a lovely part of Inverness, right on the river, just up from Ness Islands. It’s a great base for exploring the Highlands.”

Hector folded his arms in resistance, but I knew the way to his heart.

“Inverness has a huge second-hand bookshop. A booklover’s Aladdin’s cave.”

He uncrossed his arms.

“Maybe. But not until the end of the school summer holidays. So many local parents rely on us to liven up their children’s long vacation. Besides, I can’t afford to be away from the shop during peak tourist season.”

We’d already started our summer holiday activities programme for children, as the colouring sheets and craft materials on the play table suggested.

“OK, deal. Which reminds me, I promised to go and help rationalise the school library today.”

“I thought you did that on Friday?”

“No, that was only a quick check, and I could see at a glance I’d need more time to do a proper job. Can you spare me for an hour or so this afternoon?”

“If you think you can stand the excitement.”

I set a coffee in his favourite mug on the table in front of him. Ella Berry, the school’s highly efficient business manager, is one of my best friends in the village, and I’m always glad of the excuse to visit her, but I wasn’t going just for fun.

“The school’s latest book order arrived this morning, so I thought I’d take that up and get it out of the way in our stockroom. Besides, it’ll give me an opportunity to identify any gaps in the library stock and give Ella ideas on how to spend next year’s book budget. Ordering from us, obviously.”

Hector always says I’m good at spotting opportunities to grow his business.

“OK, Sophie, that’s fine. A summer afternoon in the village school library – what could possibly go wrong?”