Brought to Book

A Rona Parish Cosy Mystery

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Pub Date 01 May 2003 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2023

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Meet Rona Parish, a talented biographer who has a skill for writing about the past and encountering danger along the way, and her adorable golden retriever, Gus.

When Rona Parish is asked to write the biography of an acclaimed thriller writer who drowned in unusual circumstances, is she diving into danger?

Biographer Rona Parish is exhausted after finishing her latest project on Arthur Conan Doyle, but her hope for a break between jobs is dashed when the wife of late bestselling thriller writer, Theo Harvey, asks her to write his biography.

Theo Harvey drowned mysteriously six months ago. No one knows why . . .

Theo’s inexplicable death six months ago left many unanswered questions. Why did he retreat from the limelight six years ago, only to reappear three years later and produce two outstanding, if much darker, novels?

And what is the truth behind his mysterious drowning?
Rona Parish is determined to uncover the truth behind his death, but at what cost?

Intrigued, and with her golden retriever Gus by her side, Rona starts to piece together the author’s life. But someone doesn’t want her to uncover Theo’s secrets.

And they’ll go to any lengths to make sure they stay hidden . . . 

A page-turning cosy mystery set in the fictional English market town of Marsborough in the stunning Chiltern Hills.

Fans of M.C. Beaton, Richard Osman, Reverend Richard Coles, G.M. Malliet, Margery Allingham, Betty Rowlands and Faith Martin will love this series.

Meet Rona Parish, a talented biographer who has a skill for writing about the past and encountering danger along the way, and her adorable golden retriever, Gus.

When Rona Parish is asked to write...

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ISBN 9781448300549
PRICE $1.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 16 members

Featured Reviews

Brought to Book is the first Rona Parish cozy mystery by Anthea Fraser. Originally published in 2003, this reformat and re-release is from Severn House, has 224 pages and is available in ebook format. Other editions available in other formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is a beautifully well written, eminently readable, and entertaining cozy mystery; the first in the series of 10 books. The protagonist is a well regarded and intelligent biographer who is approached to write a biography of a recently deceased famous author and finds that his life and death might be much more complex that anyone was previously aware.

The plot is intricate and the mystery so well constructed. The author has a gift with descriptive prose and there is no "telling" and all "showing". Ms. Fraser manages to convey mood and setting effectively and seamlessly.

As befits the genre, the language is relatively clean (a few "bloodies", "damn" and a single "buggered" (used as a mild idiomatic curse, not literally)), and the violence is off-page. There is a poisoning, of the MC's golden retriever, Gus. No spoilers, but I didn't throw the book out the window. Spelling and vernacular are standard British English, but won't pose problems in context for readers elsewhere.

Wonderfully written and worthwhile. With 10 books in the series, it would be a perfect candidate for a long binge or buddy read, as well as a nice side project for a mystery book club to tackle. There are worthwhile discussion themes and interestingly varied characters.

Four and a half stars. Sincere hopes that Severn House's plans include new editions for the rest of the series.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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Murder And Mystery…
The first in the Rona Parish mystery series of reissues and a wonderful start and introduction to the series as a whole. Meet Rona, a biographer, who not only seems to have an ingrained talent for recording past lives but also for attracting murder and mystery along the way - not forgetting her trusty Golden Retriever Gus. In this first in series Rona is tasked with completing the biography of an acclaimed author - but there will be way more to this than meets the eye. Wholly enjoyable and entertaining with a colourful and eclectic cast of characters, a compelling plot laced with red herrings, a lively narrative and an attractive protagonist in Rona herself. More in the series is much anticipated.

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This was a great start to the Rona Parish Cosy Mystery series, it had everything that I enjoyed from the genre. The mystery was really well done and I enjoyed trying to figure out what was going on. The characters were unique and interesting. It left me excited to read more from Anthea Fraser.

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Thank you NetGalley and Severn Publishing for the eARC.
What an enjoyable book! I loved this first in the 10-book Rona Parrish series a lot and have already ordered another one. I had read a couple of them ages ago and each one is as good as the others.
Rona is asked by the widow of a famous thriller writer to write his biography. Little does she know , even though her husband Max tells her not to accept the commission, the danger that awaits her.
I love Rona, her husband Max and her sweet dog Gus. But I haven't made up my mind about her twin sister, she seems a bit selfish, I'll wait to make decision once I have read a few more of the books.
Highly recommended for lovers of cozy reads with a bite!

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Rona Parrish has been commissioned to write a biography of the recently deceased author Theo Harvey. Though he’s only been dead 6 months, his widow wants Rona to investigate his life and fill in the missing pieces of his final years. Theo had always been a “life and soul of the party” until 2 years before his death when he became depressed and reclusive. Shortly after agreeing to the project Rona becomes the victim of menacing letters, phone calls, and stalking. Undeterred to the despair of her husband, Rona refuses to give up the research and the threats become increasingly sinister resulting in murder and poisoning.
The first novel in a series that is worth pursuing. Originally published twenty years ago, it is still relevant and enjoyable. Carefully written with all characters, both primary and secondary fully developed. A cosy in the lack of superfluous blood, language, and sex, it feels more contemporary with thriller aspects. Likable characters with an engaging plot, this is easy to recommend to most ages.
Thank you to netgalley and Severn House for this advance copy .

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This first book in the Rona Parish mystery series by Anthea Fraser has it all…engrossing mystery, family drama, and a charming setting.

Rona Parish, a biography writer, is contacted by the widow of a famous thriller author. The author had died under mysterious circumstances, and the widow wants Rona to write his biography. As she begins to investigate not only his life but surprising death, she and the widow are warned off by anonymous notes and and calls.

The mystery kept me guessing, and the interviews with people in the deceased author’s circle were interesting. But, in addition to the mystery, the personal lives of Rona and family helped make this such a great read. Rona and her husband don’t live together, but they have a great marriage and even a decent partnership in sleuthing. Her sister, newly divorced, also provided a side story.

All in all, a very well written cozy mystery.

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Theo Harvey, a successful thriller writer, is dead. His widow approaches the biographer, Rona Parish, to write his life story. Armed with detailed diaries, Rona soon uncovers secrets.

The first in a long-running series, so more to immerse yourself in if you like this. A well plotted and thoroughly entertaining cosy mystery. It even had a loveable dog! 

The ending felt a little rushed, hence 4 stars.

Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for sending this book for review. All opinions are my own.

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Biographer Rona Parish has an intriguing new assignment when she’s commissioned to write the biography of bestselling author Theo Harvey. Famous not only for his thrillers but also for his three year writer’s block followed by two bizarrely different novels back to back, his death had an air of mystery as well. Accidental drowning, suicide, or murder? These are questions his widow hopes Rona can answer.

While interviewing those closest to Harvey as well as those who saw him the weekend of his death, Rona seems to stir a hornet’s nest, a move made clear by anonymous threats to both her and Meriel Harvey. While her husband Max — with whom she has an unconventional but happy living arrangement — worries for her safety and questions the wisdom of pursuing the project in light of these threats, he nonetheless proves a solid partner in putting together the mystery surrounding Harvey’s writing career and death. Max is especially key in solving the code Harvey used to write his journals.

With a cozy English village setting, a faithful dog Gus, and other characters such as Roma’s identical twin and her parents, this was an overall enjoyable book and Anthea Fraser has the ability to make the reader feel they’re there in the scene. Despite being written twenty years ago, it doesn’t feel overly dated. A few times Rona acted foolishly, and one part of the story’s resolution could be seen coming (although perhaps not in detail), but it moved at a good pace and had twisty bits at the end.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Not too sure about the cover – it has a distinctly 1940s vibe to me. Whereas this offering feels as if it’s firmly set in the here and now. I enjoy the fact that Rona’s marriage is a bit different – she and her husband live in separate houses as they both are creatives and need very different surroundings in order to create. She is also one of twins and I liked the edge of sibling exasperation that characterises her relationship with her sister. In fact, Rona is quite a cool customer, as she is a self-contained person with a huge curiosity about other people’s lives. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop her from being thoroughly upset when the inevitable dead body pops up.

The plotting in this one is well done, with a steady building of tension and a sense of wrongness. I was genuinely shocked when the murder occurred – I hadn’t expected this particular person to die and thought it was very well done. As Rona continues to investigate Theo Harvey’s life, I found I was also caught up in discovering what made him tick. Fraser has a knack for pulling the reader into the world she has created – I could easily visualise each setting. The pacing is also well balanced. In common with many whodunits, this one starts relatively slowly and gathers momentum as Rona is increasingly caught up in Theo’s life and learns more about him.

The denouement also came as a bit of a shock. While there was a gratifying number of possible suspects – the ultimate culprit wasn’t someone I’d previously suspected. Yet their motivation is absolutely compelling and a bit heartbreaking. All in all, this is a thoroughly satisfying murder mystery that has stayed in my head since I read it, executed by an author who is clearly experienced and at the top of their game. Highly recommended for fans of whodunits that don’t go in for lots of guts or gore, but nonetheless still pack a bit of an emotional punch. While I obtained an arc of Brought to Book from the publishers via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.

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I read other books in this series but not this one that was on my TBR. A well plotted and entertaining cozy mystery, a solid and twisty story that kept me guessing and surprised often.
Excellent storytelling and character development
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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