Jenny Worstall is the author of several collections of short stories and two novels.
I've enjoyed reading every one of them.The other day I was pleased to notice Miss Worstall had released a new book and I put it on my reading list straightaway.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman
This was something new. I don't think of Jenny Worstall as a crime writer; more a writer of light comedic romances and quirky tales.
is a novella and I was surprised by the sub-title: a cosy crime novella.
Also, what is cosy crime?I've noticed this category before and decided it was time to find out. Cue quick Google search and a helpful Wiki definition.
A cosy mystery aka "cosies" is a sub-genre of crime fiction where sex and violence are played down or laughed at.
Also, the crime and its detection takes place in a small, socially intimate community.
The small, socially intimate community in The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman is the sleepy market town of Burcliffe in the south of England.
Most of the characters know each other, some better than others.
Broken hearted primary school teacher, Rosie Rainbow, provides a love interest for the story but it's not sexed-up.
There's some violence around the disappearance of school catering manager, Mr Spearman, but it's not graphic or particularly detailed.
The end of the book description on the Amazon page suggests that "this cosy crime novella can best be enjoyed with a large pot of tea and a mind eager to spot the cheesy clues," hinting that there may be some humour in store - which there is.
The plot twists and turns to a neatly tied up conclusion.The action is pacey and the storyline unfolds rapidly with clues appearing in the most unexpected places.
The main character is the jilted Rosie whose own romance is backgrounded to the cosy crime but helps to link her to it.
There's a full supporting cast from the local police, the primary school and the retirement home.
The author has shown in her other books that she's good at giving the reader little pen-portraits of her characters and she's done this really well once again in The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman.
I particularly enjoyed the parts of the story that were set in the primary school especially on Miss Rainbow's class outing.
Miss Worstall has a real flair for encapsulating life in a British primary school and describing the funny little ways of primary age children.
Two of the stars are Rosie's pupils, Ollie and Susie, who demonstrate the acute and pertinent observations that children can sometimes make.
Both children are charming but remarkably astute.
The novella is an enjoyable, light and entertaining read.It's humorous and the "cheesy clues" contribute to the fun.
The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr Spearman is definitely a cosy and it's definitely worth reading.
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by Jenny Worstall
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