The Art of Murder

The Art of Murder, is available as an ebook on Amazon.co.uk. This is the third book in my contemporary mystery series about Harriet Quigley, a recently-retired headmistress, and her clergyman cousin, Canon Sam Hathaway who keep stumbling over corpses and set about finding the clues to solving the riddles.

You can order online using the links on this page.

Story Outline

A weekend art course at an upmarket B&B near Winchester’s historic cathedral is bound to be relaxing and fun…

But not when Linzi Bray, Chairman of the local art group, is in charge and the house is full of people who loathe her.

Accidents start to happen – in a ruined castle, in a fast-flowing river, in a peaceful garden.

There’s a stalker – or is there? And there are far too many dead insects, as well as a vandalised Porsche and a pond full of blood.

It’s not the first time former headmistress, Harriet Quigley, and her cousin, the Reverend Sam Hathaway, have been embroiled in a mystery, but this time they’re baffled at the “spiteful game” that seems to be being played.

And then somebody else dies and the games all stop.

The Art of Murder is perfect for avid crime mystery fans – with festering secrets, potential motives and the opportunity for sweet – or spiteful – revenge.

What do other people think of it ?

Latest reviews of The Art of Murder.

Excellent characters; excellent plot

Cosy Crime is a genre I like, since it's generally not too scary and is unlikely to give me nightmares (why yes, I am an enormous wimp). 'The Art of Murder' is an excellent and worthy addition to the genre which I recommend to anyone who likes good, well drawn characters and good plotting.

I don't much like the appellation 'Cosy Crime'. It sounds all warm and comfortable - which some is, but 'The Art of Murder' isn't really. I very much enjoyed the contrast between the real bleakness of the events and characters, and the - yes, the cosiness of the setting of the majority of the novel, which is a weekend art group course in a lovely-sounding B&B (address please!). I loved the way all the little happenings kept getting less and less little and more and more chilling (those wasps - bleargh).

For me, it's always the characters who make or break a book and I've got to say that this is an area in which Nicola Slade has never yet failed! There are, of course, Harriet and Sam, both of whom I am extremely fond of. Then there's the delightfully nasty victim - whom I also found myself feeling quite sorry for, despite her unmitigated horridness. I've got to say, though, I felt even sorrier for the murderer. I didn't guess who it was, either! As for the other characters - the necessary other suspects - there's a nice variety, ranging from horrendous to heavenly, and I particularly liked Seren, Bonnie and Donald. Ms Slade really has the knack of making good rounded characters, even when you don't see a massive amount of them in the story.

So, all in all, highly recommmended! This is one of a series but you don't need to have read any of the others to enjoy this (though you'll want to afterwards).

Reviewer: A. Chuter on 21 Sept. 2016 at Amazon.co.uk

Another Masterpiece from the pen of Nicola Slade

I've always love this style of writing. Fast flowing with many different characters. Each one with a different tale to add to the growing mystery. If you are like minded with a need to be creative you may think twice about joining an art group, after reading this brilliant book.

It is one thing to wield a paint brush, while being creative on an art weekend, but to be plotting murder, well that's a masterpiece.

Reviewer: Paula R C on 21 Sept. 2016 at Amazon.co.uk

All quite talented getting together for what would hopefully be a new gathering of like minded people for the future

A new start up group of art enthusiasts, some amateur some not, all quite talented getting together for what would hopefully be a new gathering of like minded people for the future.

The setting was also good - a new picturesque B&B with enthusiastic owners who were hoping that this initial weekend would be the beginning of new business for them.

Linzi Bray was the Chairperson of the group and she had a knack for creating strife, tension and dissension wherever she went. Individually lots of the group had pet hates against her with the exception of Harriet and Sam who were able to look on the entire proceedings with a certain amount of distance and fairness. What they learnt was not pleasant at all.

Everyone of the participants had an axe to grind with Linzi and there was no hesitation on their side to show their animosity and dislike. Reading the story you knew things were not going to end well before the weekend was over and it did end badly.

The story was well told, with nicely deduced step by step unraveling of the mystery. The who dun it was quite mysterious till the end because so many of them had good reasons for murder! Lots of clues, lots of tense situations, and lots of nasty scary incidents well before the murder all helped to bring it to a climax.

Reviewer: Mystica Varathapalan on 28 Sept. 2016 at Amazon.co.uk

Quintessential British Mystery

The Art of Murder is set in a sleepy village, at a new B&B that is hosting an Art course. Harriet Quigley, retired headmistress, and her cousin Sam Hathaway, semi retired clergyman decide to attend as a favour to an old friend and for a well earned break. As the title suggests however there isn't much rest to be had and they soon find themselves embroiled in the drama of the groups chair, Linzi Bray who is convinced she is been stalked. Linzi seems to know pretty much everyone on the course but no one seems to like her much, nor she them. So what started out as an intended relaxing weekend ends up a hive of paranoia and danger.

This is the first novel that I have read by Nicola Slade and so I went in not really knowing what to expect. What I got was a classic British mystery in the vein of Miss Marple (although Harriet would not like that comparison) that despite it's subject was a pure pleasure to read. I hate to use the term gentle as it seems to turn some people off but that's what this is. You have stalkers, nasty tricks and murders and yet I found myself quite wanting to visit the sleepy little hamlet this was set in. It's the type of mystery that I think can only be set in England. As I was reading I felt that Sam and Harriet were characters that begged to be part of a series – imagine my delight when I found out they already are. I'll certainly be purchasing the first part and look forward to many more mysteries.

Reviewer: Paddi on 21 Sept. 2016 at Amazon.co.uk

Excellent crime novel

I love all of Nicola Slade's books and was really excited to hear she had a new title out. This, the third in her series featuring retired headmistress Harriet Quigley, is even better than the first two titles. I lost most of a day to reading this as I genuinely couldn't put it down (apologies to my partner as I had said I'd spend the day with him last Saturday). Well written, great characters and strong plot. There's a lot of poor "cozy crime" out there but leaves most other authors standing. So, buy this, read it and then go and buy Nicola's other books. I'd think twice about going away for the weekend with Harriet though. I'm sure she'd be good company but she does attract trouble!

Reviewer: Ms J Benson on 21 Sept. 2016 at Amazon.co.uk

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