Cover Image: Murder at the Abbey

Murder at the Abbey

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Member Reviews

I read this book for a blog tour.
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I always fell in love with the descriptions of Somerset, one of my favorite place in the world, and I learned something new about it's history.
The mystery kept me guessing and the solution came as a surprise.
Even if it's the 8th in a series it can be read as a standalone.
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There is something comforting about later books in an established series. Murder at the Abbey is Frances Evesham’s eighth novel set in the Somerset community of Exham-by-the Sea. A seemingly quiet town, apparently there have been enough murders and assorted crimes to keep our detectives busy for eight novels and counting.


Libby Forest and Max Ramshore run a detective agency in the town. Libby also is a fantastic cook and her desserts are in high demand at the local cafe. The two are not only partners in business but have also gotten married recently. Both of them have grown children from previous marriages, and Libby’s son and his wife are expecting the family’s first grandchild.


Active in the local historical society, Libby brings Max along to the society’s picnic at the nearby abbey. Dating back centuries, the abbey cast a long shadow over the history of the area. The picnickers become aware of just how long that shadow is when some of them discover human bones in the nearby creek.


Although the bones do not belong to a modern victim but are relics from the past, the historical society is abuzz with the discovery and the investigation into the bones. Adding to the excitement is the decision of a nearby paranormal investigator to spend a night in the abbey looking for ghosts. The entire historical society is invited.


They do not find a ghost in the abbey, but a new ghost is almost made. A vicious attack leaves one of the historical society members near death. Given the likelihood that the would-be killer was one of their group, Libby and Max are gripped with a sense of urgency as they help the police in their investigation.


Evesham has a creative and twisty plot, and things do not proceed at all as I expected. Suspects are investigated and cleared, then new evidence brings them back into suspicion. Throughout, the quirky and engaging characters entertain with their romances and feuds, their passions and their tastes.


Oh, and there’s a baby. Which is a plus in my view for any book.
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This is the eighth entry in the Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries series and although you can read it as a stand alone book, the story refers to previous events and it may be interesting to go back and read the first  entries in the series. An interesting plot means that Libby and Max find themselves with another murder to solve, this time with bones of the past and crimes of the present.
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Sometimes in one’s reading life, you just want something which acts like hot chocolate on a cold autumn afternoon. I’m new to the world of Frances Evesham’s Exham-on-Sea Murder Mystery series, but I’m willing to say, her stories fit the bill.

Considering there are now seven previous instalments I need to catch up with, it is not a surprise that the characters feel comfortable in each other’s company but what Evesham does capture so well is the niggling, internecine rivalries and petty irritations which can so blight village life.

It seems to be the season for duel aspect narratives. Coincidentally, this week I was reviewing another novel where the events ran along two timelines – – and rewatching the Wench is Dead episode of perennial where the ailing detective sets out to solve a Victorian murder.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this was Libby’s determination to discount the supernatural. Firstly, I have a deep rooted prejudice against those type of ghost stories on the grounds it’s a narrative cop out and secondly, setting her up as the hard bitten rationalist allows us to enjoy her intellectually outpacing her mentally sluggish neighbours.

‘Murder at the Abbey’ is a fast moving novel with charming settings and eccentric characters in the best traditions of the cozy crime genre. Be sure to sup it down with some hot chocolate on a chill evening.
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Libby and Max are on a picnic at Cleeve Abbey when human remains are found. They are quickly revealed to be centures old and a ghost hunt ensues. But then one of the ghost hunters is attacked. What is the link between the old bones and the current assault?
Murder at the Abbey is the 8th book in Frances Evesham's Exham on Sea series of cosy murder mysteries. This is the first book I have read by this author and I hope to catch up on the rest of the series. There are mentions of past events which I assume featured on the previous books.
Libby and Max are both in their fifties. They are a newly married pair of amateur sleuths and private investigators. They are horrified when one of their friends is attacked. I was surprised as I had a hit list of characters I thought might be bumped off! An actual murder doesn't occur until nearly three quarters of the way through the book although the owner of the ancient bones met a sticky end centuries earlier.
I found myself a little overwhelmed by the number of characters to begin with. However, I soon settled in to the plot and pace. I wonder if this would have been slightly easier if I had read the previous books in the series but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book overall.
There is some forensic detail and violence but the descriptions are minimal due to the cosy mystery genre. The plot focus in upon the investigation and the gathering of clues but events do occur at a reasonable pace. I was kept guessing until the very end and enjoyed trying (and failing!) to put the clues together.
Murder at the Abbey is an enjoyable cosy murder mystery and I look forward to reading more from this author.
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This is the eighth Exham-on-Sea mystery
And this time it is set in a real place of history.
Cleeve Abbey is a place you can actually go to
Though I hope similar events don't happen to you!

At the History Society's annual picnic they find
Bones that definitely look to be the human kind.
Is this the start of a historic murder mystery?
Libby and Max are determined to uncover their history.

However, other have different plans in place
Wondering if the Abbey has ghosts that grace.
An overnight stay is soon arranged
To look for anything paranormal or just strange.

When one of their friends is seriously attacked
A connection to the bones found is totally lacked.
However with all the suspects folks they know
Can Libby and Max find out who is the foe?

There are characters with whom it is great to reconnect
And a few others with whom relations would be suspect!
The story is told in such an engaging, easy read way
I had finished reading it in just a day.

If you're looking for an intriguing cosy mystery,
One which links into actually history,
With great characters and a sense of community, too,
This whole series would be fun for you.

For my complementary copy of this book, I say thank you,
I throughly enjoyed reading it and this is my honest review.
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I absolutely love this series and this is the eighth book.

Cleeve Abbey is a site of interest to the historical society and it is here that Libby is drawn in to another mystery. She is loathed to spend a night ghost hunting so when a friend gets attacked she is quick to investigate.

In her usual style she gets to discovering the link between the abbey and the attack. This is one of my favourite series now, I love how the author portrays where the murders are portrayed, in this book, I could really picture the abbey and its surroundings.

Highly recommended.
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What a joy it is to return to Exham-On-Sea in Murder at the Abbey, the eighth addictive cosy mystery in Frances Evesham’s delightful series featuring amateur sleuth extraordinaire Libby Forest.

The Exham-On-Sea History Society certainly got a lot more than they bargained for at their annual picnic when human bones were discovered in Washford River near Cleeve Abbey. Thrilled by the gruesome finding they’ve just uncovered and the evidence of a possible centuries-old mystery, the members of the society organise a ghost hunt in the Abbey’s ruins – much to amateur sleuth Libby Forest’s displeasure who cannot help but have serious reservations about the whole thing. Baker extraordinaire Libby might have a penchant for solving mysteries that leave the local constabulary baffled, but even she draws the line at anything supernatural. When a friend is attacked during the ghost hunt, all of her doubts are confirmed, but as somebody who likes to solve puzzles, Libby – with the assistance of husband Max and two dogs Bear and Shipley – finds herself drawn into this mystery and vows to get to the bottom of this case.

Just what is the connection between this senseless attack in the present day and the murder of a monk from the sixteenth century? With many of their friends and neighbours looking rather shifty and guilty of late, Libby and Max’s list of suspects keeps getting larger and larger. But which one of them is responsible for the murder at the abbey? Can Libby and Max find the culprit before more damage is done? Or will this be the case that will leave Libby and Max dumbfounded?

Frances Evesham’s Murder at the Abbey is a terrific cosy mystery that moves along at a cracking pace and will leave readers on the edge of their seats. Frances Evesham’s plotting is absolutely superb and just when readers think that they’ve got the perpetrator figured out, she springs a shock on them that leaves them scratching their heads and frantically turning the pages to find out whodunnit.

Frances Evesham’s Murder at the Abbey is a wonderfully entertaining cosy mystery fans of the genre are going to love.
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This is the eighth in the series, and also quite a bit longer than the previous books. Max and Libby are now six months' married, and happily enjoying life. It's a warm summer, and the Historical Society has organized a picnic at the old abbey. One of the society members discovers a human bone in the river running beside the abbey, and other smaller bones and a skull are also found. An archeologist from Bristol University is called and after carbon dating she announces they are old, probably the bones of a monk from the 1600s. One of the society members wants to hold a séance at the abbey and film the results for a TV program. Max and Libby attend, as well as most of the historical society, Mandy and Steve, and Reg (Max's good American friend and Mandy's old boyfriend). Mandy is assaulted in the gatehouse (hit on the head) and is found unconscious. Max and Libby assist the police with their investigations and learn quite a bit about the history of the abbey and the sale of the property during the reign of Henry VIII and the dissolution of the Church.

This was another fun and easy read, and added yet more characters to Libby's life.
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A History Society picnic is interrupted when human bones are discovered in a nearby river, close to historic Cleeve Abbey. Amateur sleuth Libby and her husband, who just happen to be on hand, are keen to get involved, especially when the Society organise a ghost-hunting night at the abbey. But it’s a human intruder rather than ghosts who upset the evening when one of the group is assaulted. Together with their faithful dogs, the detecting duo try to unearth reasons for the murder of a sixteenth century monk and a possible connection with the recent attack.

This is the first ‘cosy mystery’ I’ve read by Frances Evesham, and I was struck by the similarity in writing style to MC Beaton (of Hamish McBeth fame). The similarity is in the simple fact of having a decent plot but a cast of mostly irritating characters. With plenty of suspects to consider, the story is a good one, though at times lacks pace—the protagonists seeming to spend more time weeding the garden or faffing about with their dogs than solving a mystery. Having said that, it’s an entertaining read with enough humour to keep me amused, and even if the couple’s relationship with the local copper is a tad far-fetched, the denouement made perfect sense.

A cosy mystery that will appeal to fans of MC Beaton.
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Thank you for the chance to read and review this book

I had not read any of the previous books in the series and although  following the characters would have been easier if. I had, it was possible to follow as a stand-alone book.

It was a light hearted murder mystery set in a History Society in a a small Somerset village. As a Somerset girl (though long moved away) I could imagine the properties and the way the people would speak. I am less sure that the local constabulary would call on villagers and give them the information in the way described but it seems two of the main characters see themselves as amateur detectives.

It was an easy read and I had guessed the outcome long before the end.
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When the Exham-on-Sea History Society  go on a picnic to a local abbey they were not expecting it to end abruptly when a human bone is found at the edge of the river. Studies reveal it is an old bone dating back to the Dissolution of the Monasteries & when other bones are found it would appear to belong to a monk who was a scribe. When a ghost hunt ends with a violent attack Max & Libby assist the police to find the attacker.

This is the eighth book in the series that seems to have passed me by, however I had no difficulty engaging and enjoying the story. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
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Join the Exham-on-Sea’s History Society at an abbey where they find human bones.  A present- day body or one centuries old?  That is only a few of the questions that Libby and Max must answer.  Throw in some ghost-hunting, cute animals and an authentic English village and you have a satisfying cozy.  I have read the first two in the series and enjoy the characters.  Time passes, people grow older and up and change which doesn’t happen in all cozies.  There was some repetition which I felt wasn’t necessary but overall it is a welcome read for anyone who enjoys murder in an English village.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced readers copy in return for an honest review.
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Murder At The Abbey - Frances Evesham 

The Exham-on-Sea’s History Society's summer picnic comes to an abrupt end when human bones are discovered in the river, beside Cleeve Abbey. 
Thrilled to find evidence of a possible centuries-old murder mystery, the members of the society organise a ghost-hunting night in the ruins of the Abbey, despite amateur sleuth Libby Forest's reservations.
Libby's  doubts are justified when a friend is attacked under cover of darkness at the ghost-hunt. She sets out with her husband Max and their two dogs Bear and Shipley to uncover the connection between the murder of a sixteenth century monk and the present day attack.
With friends and neighbours as suspects, Libby and Max close in on the culprit only to find that others are still in danger. 

Libby, Max and the dogs are on the case again! I must say being a Somerset local myself where these books are set, means it makes for a lovely read with all the little local snippets woven in to the story. And although this is part of a series, it works well as a stand alone read. 
There are some real quirky characters in this and there’s a real community feel to it, living in Somerset can feel like a bit of a bubble for sure but I love the fact that in these books it’s vying for the title of murder capital with Midsomer!

I have to say I was quite surprised when it is one of the locals that is attacked at the ghost hunt, especially as the suspects seem to consist of locals. It’s all a bit close to home and Libby and Max have their work cut out for them. I enjoyed spotting the clues and hunting for a killer with Max and Libby. I did work it out, with all the puzzle pieces eventually falling in to place but I had fun doing so!

This is a gorgeously cosy mystery full of medieval murder, ghost hunts, cake, dogs plus tensions and gossip. Super for the autumn nights drawing in. I’m going to hunt down some others in this series, some involve Wells Cathedral which is a stone’s throw from me, so it has just got to be done!

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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.   I have enjoyed all this authors books and this was no exception.   Fast paced, great storyline and would recommend to other readers.
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What does a sixteen-century dead monk have to do with attempted murder at Cleeve Abbey? That’s what private investigators, Max and Libby, want to find out.

The delightfully eccentric group of people who make up Exham-on-Sea’s History Society inject some excitement into the quiet village when they chance upon a historical find.

From then onwards, it’s a heady mix of archaeology, history, and even some paranormal investigations. I loved every bit of it. It was deeply interesting to learn about Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries in England using the Court of Augmentations, driving monks out of their homes in the process.

The author has put in extensive research not only into the historical background of the story and how archaeological finds are interpreted but also into the intricacies of human psychology and behavior.

Also, the book casts aside the typical notions of people over 40 as old and infirm and instead portrays them as full of life, curious, and raring to seize every opportunity they get to do interesting things. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between the young and not-so-young couples in the story, and I feel that youth may not be as great an advantage as people think.

Of course, a book that has not one but two dogs in it cannot be anything less than fun. The adorable creatures play their own important part in solving the mystery of the murder at the abbey.

Overall, Murder at the Abbey is an interesting crime story written beautifully, portraying various facets of human emotions and motivations.

(I received a free e-copy of the book with a request for an honest review.)
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This is an atmospheric and engaging murder mystery with historical and local details that add authenticity. Libby and Max, a familiar amateur sleuth duo for followers of the series, investigate a historical murder that seems to have present-day relevance.

The characters are vibrant and exhibit traits commonly found in rural villages. The ruined Abbey setting gives the story a ghostly element that proves to be significant. There are lots of suspects. There is the added complication of familiarity as most are acquaintances or friends of Libby and Max.

This is an entertaining read with believable characters, a sinister ethos and a vividly portrayed setting.

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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I really wanted to like this book but it was a miss for me. It appears to be a current day story told in dialog of another time. If there were dates involved I missed them. The setting of the twelfth century Cistercian Cleeve Abbey located in Somerset, England was a definite plus and since everything revolved around it also necessary.  The many prosaic descriptions somehow didn’t fit with this murder mystery. Everything felt off and the story never truly held my attention. This wasn’t a book I was rushing back to pick up nor did I finish it quickly. However, whenever I walk away from a book with interesting information it gets marked as time well spent so I am rounding up from a solid 3-1/2 stars.

Thank you NetGalley and Boldwood Books for a copy.
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It has been a while since I read a book in this series and it was exciting to return.
This series and in fact this book has something for everyone.

Our main characters are mature with interesting histories of their own. The people they have around them are interesting and entertaining. As with any unofficial investigators, they have a mixed experience when dealing with local authorities.
However, they are valued by those who have seen what they can do to aid an investigation.

The historical society is enjoying a picnic when bones are discovered in the river.
There are many plausible reasons for them being there, yet it is enough of a mystery to attract the curiosity of several group members. I loved learning the history as the clues were investigated.

It so happened that permission had been given for a paranormal investigation to be given at the site, and fortunately the historical society members and investigating team were allowed to be present for that. Well, fortunately until one is attacked, making them all suspects.
So the question is, what provoked the attack?  Are the curious aspects of the plot related?
And why does a loud mouthed, trouble seeking individual from their past seem to keep turning up?

This is a page turner, a well paced exciting read.
You may find some of the information easier to digest if you had read previous books in the series but it is not necessary to enjoy this book alone.
The characters are well developed and grow with the series.
The dialogue feels realistic and includes humorous moments as well as tense moments.

Overall an excellent read and I can't wait to go back and enjoy the books in this series I have missed.
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