Tuesday, January 31, 2023



It’s no secret that I’m a fan of cozy mysteries, and A Village Fete Murder by Katie Gayle is a favorite of mine.  I love the Julia Bird Mystery series and this installment is probably my favorite.  It’s time for the annual village celebration at Berrywick House and with all the festivities in full swing and Julia Bird is in the middle of it all.  Ursula Benjamin, who seems to know all the happenings in the village, is in everyone’s business, and has entered the baking competition.  She has been strangled by one of her competitors and Julia is running out of time to find out who the culprit is.  She doesn’t want to leave the investigation to the police knowing full well that she must solve the case as soon as possible.  But when there is another murder Julia must step up her game, put her detective skills to work and find who the murderer is before another festival attendee becomes victim number three.

This was a great who-dunnit and I loved the twists and turns throughout the entire story.  The author kept me guessing who the culprit was and just when I thought I had it all figured out, there was another twist to the story.  I am also a huge fan of Julia’s loveable Labrador Jake.  He always has a nose for the story, and makes the story even better.  I loved this installment to the fabulous Julia Bird Mysteries Series.  This book can be read as a standalone but don’t pass up the other books in this amazing series.  I highly recommend it. 


Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Author:  Katie Gayle 
Publisher:  Bookouture
Publication Date:  January 27, 2023 
Pages: 255

Julia Bird can’t wait to attend the annual village party at the local stately home, with its tea tents, cake stalls, and… dead body in the maze?

The annual village celebration at Berrywick House is underway, complete with over-decorated cake stalls, fiercely contested flower competitions, and even a maze for the disappointed losers to hide in. 
Julia Bird, now a well-known – even notorious – member of the community, with her trusty Labrador Jake, has thrown herself headlong into the festivities. But her reputation for adding drama to any event stands up yet again when she discovers a dead body in the maze…

It seems 
Ursula Benjamin, village know-it-all and prickly baking competition participant, has been strangled – and the killer has to be someone at the fete. As Julia grapples with finding yet another murder in Berrywick, she starts to wonder, could one of the competitive cake-bakers have taken the contest to deadly new heights? Or is there something darker in Ursula’s life that led to her untimely demise?

Embroiled once again in a murder enquiry, Julia isn’t about to leave the investigation to the police. Like it or not, she’s involved, and she’s going to help them solve the mystery. But when there’s another death, and it’s clear the murders aren’t isolated incidents, the stakes become even higher. Can Julia figure out the identity of the killer, and prevent any further dastardly deeds, before the wholesome spirit of the village is ruined forever?


Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre. Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats. Unlike their sleuth Epiphany Bloom, neither of them have ever stolen a cat from the vet. 

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