Murder, Now and Then is Diana Jackson’s latest novel, inspired by an unsolved murder in 1919 in Bedfordshire, where Diana used to live. Diana has been a great supporter of my writing over the years via my blog. So when she asked whether I’d be interested in doing a review swap (with honest reviews), I jumped at the chance.
A tale of two murders
Diana’s murder mystery focuses on two murders separated by 100 years. Joanna Thomas, a farmer’s wife, is accused of murdering her husband by soon-to-retire Inspector Norton, but he has no evidence to support his theory. Seeing that Joanna is traumatised after finding her husband’s dead body, his fellow officers don’t believe that she murdered her husband and they investigate new leads. Then strange ties between this case and an unsolved murder in 1919 are uncovered.
Realising that they have no obvious suspects and few concrete alibis, DS Tony Brown and DC Cathy Peterson decide to take a trip to Jersey to interview a suspect. A relationship blossoms between the two of them, so the book features a romantic storyline as well.
Family, time and place
The novel reminds me of the TV series Midsomer Murders, with strong themes of family, time and place featuring throughout. Diana describes all of the various suspects in detail, and frequently changes perspective to tell her story and reveal more clues. Her descriptions of the locations in Bedfordshire and Jersey, as well as how she brings her characters to life, are what make the story.
I found some characters a tiny bit irritating – a few were too ‘goodie goodie’ for my liking and didn’t necessarily have a bad side, and there wasn’t a main antagonist. Then again, I don’t usually read cosy mysteries, so this criticism says more about me liking darker novels. Also I found the use of technology (e.g. that the internet had been replaced with a 2.0 version called Futurenet) and casual mentions about Brexit a bit strange. However, this book was published in 2014, before the political tensions regarding Brexit fully surfaced. It makes me wonder what Diana thinks about Brexit now!
I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I’d definitely recommend it to readers who enjoy murder mysteries and cosy mysteries. You can read Murder, Now and Then on Amazon (as a Kindle edition and paperback) by clicking here.