Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Death of a Cuckoo by Wendy Percival 
Series: An Esme Quentin Short Read
Release Date: 6 March 2017
Publisher:  sBooks
Genres: Cosy Mystery

A letter. A photograph. A devastating truth.

When Gina Vincent receives a letter of condolence from a stranger following her mother’s death, a photograph slipped inside reveals a disturbing truth – everything she’s ever known is based on a lie. Shocked and disorientated, she engages genealogy detective Esme Quentin to help search for answers.

The trail leads to an isolated and abandoned property on the edge of Exmoor, once the home of a strict Victorian institution called The House of Mercy and its enigmatic founder, whose influence seems to linger still in the fabric of the derelict building.

As they dig deeper, Esme realises that the house itself hides a dark and chilling secret, one which must be exposed to unravel the mystery behind Gina’s past.

But someone is intent on keeping the secret hidden. Whatever it takes.

I ran down the steps and squeezed my way down the slim passage. In the recess was a narrow door but it didn’t match the faded, peeling paint of the remainder of the house’s decoration. It was brighter, as though it had been protected from the elements. As I stepped closer, I realised that’s exactly what had happened. Under my feet were pieces of broken planking. Until very recently, this doorway had been covered by a decorative panel and disguised. So who had uncovered it? It couldn’t have been there at the viewing.
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There's nothing that floats my boat quite as much as a good old fashioned mystery, particularly around family secrets. Death of a Cuckoo ticked all the boxes in terms of delivering exactly what I was after. A short read, more of a novella really, the book had me hooked from page one right to the very end. I've not read any of the previous Esme Quentin books before but my goodness she gives Ms Marple a run for her money. Eagle eyed, savvy and not afraid of taking risks, Esme endeavors to find out the truth when Gina Vincent appeals to her for help in finding out more about the circumstances of her birth. Gina's mother has died and a letter from one of her mother's old friends soon sets of a chain of events that has Gina wondering if her entire life has been one big lie. 

This book particularly interested me as my own family history has been sketchy for a number of years and my own discovery of some family secrets made me desperate to read this book. I could completely empathise with Gina. That feeling of needing to belong somewhere really resonated throughout the book. The deep desire to know where you come from and how your history was shaped.  I really enjoyed the book and with lots of surprises thrown in and just some good old fashioned sleuthing, this book is a highly recommended read from me!

Wendy Percival was born in the West Midlands and brought up in the Worcestershire countryside. After training as a primary school teacher she moved to North Devon in 1980 to take up her first teaching post and remained in teaching for 20 years.

An impulse buy of Writing Magazine inspired her to start writing seriously. She won Writing Magazine’s Summer Ghost Story competition in 2002 and had a short story published in The People’s Friend before focusing on full length fiction.

The time honoured ‘box of old documents in the attic’ stirred her interest in genealogy and became the inspiration for the Esme Quentin mystery novels Blood-Tied and The Indelible Stain. She is currently working on the third in the series, where the clandestine past of the Second World War provides the secret world into which Esme must delve to uncover the truth.

When she’s not writing fiction, Wendy conducts her own family history research, sharing her finds on her blog,

Wendy lives in a Devon thatched cottage beside a 13th century church with her husband and a particularly talkative cat.

You can find more on her website
Goodreads Author Page:

One Response so far.

  1. Thanks for a great blog tour and for an enthusiastic review of Death of a Cuckoo. Delighted you enjoyed Gina's story and meeting Esme! ;-)

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