Manna From Hades

This week it’s another new-to-me series, the Cornish Mysteries from Carola Dunn. The first, “Manna from Hades” was published in the US in 2009, but only here in the UK in 2013. There are 3 out so far, brought out together in the UK by Constable & Robinson. This one is very gentle, can safely be lent to elderly ladies of a nervous disposition, is unlikely to frighten the horses and so on.  It’s set in the Cornwall the author remembers from the 60s and 70s (and I’m slightly unnerved to see my childhood years being treated as fodder for a historical novel) with plenty of references to the novelty of female police officers,  and how you used to be able to leave your doors unlocked – though this premise is somewhat undermined when Mrs Eleanor Trewynn (who may or may not have locked the door) finds a corpse in the stock room of the charity shop that she lives above. She’s a somewhat contradictory character, being both dozily forgetful and scatty, as well as an international peace negotiator and trained in aikido (handy for little old ladies investigating murder).

She’s helped by her niece Megan Pencarrow, and hinders the improbably-named DI Scumble, to find the murderer, together with help from her artist neighbour Nick, and the vicar’s wife. It all meanders along very agreeably, and the easy pace is maintained throughout. After writing at least 20 Daisy Dalrymple novels, Dunn knows what she’s doing, and it’s a good start. I shall be looking out for more.

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