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Murder in Steeple Martin - A Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery #1 [Kindle Edition]

Lesley Cookman
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.95
Kindle Price: $0.99
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Book Description

Murder in Steeple Martin – Book One in the Libby Sarjeant Murder Mysteries

First in a series of British murder mysteries featuring retired middle-aged actress and sleuth, Libby Sarjeant.

Artist and ex-actress Libby Sarjeant is busy directing a play for the opening of a new theatre in her village when one of her cast is found murdered.
The play, written by her friend Peter, is based on real events in his family, which took place in the village during the last war. As the investigation into the murder begins to uncover a tangled web of relationships in the village, it seems that the events dramatised in the play still cast a long shadow…dark enough to inspire murder.
Libby s natural nosiness soon leads her into the thick of the investigation, but is she too close to Peter’s family to be able to recognise the murderer?

Editorial Reviews


The stories feature ex-actress Libby Sarjeant and are set in a small village in Kent. 'Delightful. The characters are quirky, the dialogue witty, and the plot revolves around the theatre. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the others. A hit for all you lovers of the traditional English cosy.' Marian Misters -- Marian Misters SLEUTH OF BAKER STREET

About the Author

Lesley started writing almost as soon as she could read, and filled many exercise books with pony stories until she was old enough to go out with boys. Since she's been grown up, following a varied career as a model, air stewardess and disc jockey, she's written short fiction and features for a variety of magazines, achieved an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, taught writing for both Kent Adult Education and the WEA and edited the first Sexy Shorts collection of short stories from Accent Press in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign. She lives on the Kent coast.

Product Details

  • File Size: 658 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Accent Press Ltd (December 11, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0088OVJTQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,040 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful series of cozy mysteries. August 2, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I will begin by stating that I am a big fan of "cozy" mysteries, particularly those set in English villages and with characters who are more than two-dimensional.
I am reading the last of the series by Lesley Cookman (Libby Sarjeant Murder Mysteries) and have been totally charmed by them.
The characters are believable and have plenty of quirks and faults so they seem more like real people than most characters found in mysteries. There are plenty of funny moments but these are not what I consider "comic" mysteries.
Another thing I like is that the two main characters do not usually put themselves in peril (something I object to in many mysteries), although there have been a couple of instances where they were briefly in a sticky situation but were swiftly rescued.
Almost every mystery has a twist at the end that I did not see coming in spite of a couple of hints that when I went back and checked, I should have caught but the hints were so skillfully woven into the dialog that I missed them.
The "psychic" bits are downplayed and in several of the stories have little to do with the main story but actually with peripheral stories that turn out to be interwoven with the main plot at the end.
If you like twisty plots, with a bunch of very likeable characters, I think you will enjoy these...
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Traditional British Cozy for the 21st Century July 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This book had all the makings of a traditional British cozy - a small village, a family secret, a cast of eccentric characters, and an inquisitive 'incomer'. But it was also firmly set in the 21st century, which was rather refreshing. Libby Sarjeant is the 'incomer' and she's managing the amateur production of a play written by one of the village residents and her longtime friend, Peter. When the play (which is loosely based on village history) starts stirring up long-suppressed emotions and memories, things start happening, and not in a good way.

Although Libby insists that she's only concerned with the safety of her cast and getting the prodution ready for opening night, she becomes more and more deeply involved with the secret past of several of the village's prominent families. There are flashbacks to 1943, when the original event(s) occurred, but no resolution is given until the present time. There is a fairly sizeable cast of main and secondary characters, and although most are not 2-dimensional, neither are they fully-developed. Most seem to play a sterotyped role - the gay couple, the aging rake, the playboy, the country doctor, the grande dame of the village, the snoopy incomer, etc. I felt that the story got bogged down from about 50% to maybe 75% in extraneous detail, as though the author was trying to avoid wrapping things up and ending the book. Other than that, it was a fairly good, albeit rather conventional cozy mystery.

Note on Kindle formatting: Very good. I didn't notice any issues.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder in a British Village-- 21st Century Mystery June 18, 2012
By Sires
Format:Kindle Edition
Libby Sarjeant's friends keep reminding her that she isn't Miss Marple, as indeed she isn't. Agatha Christie's spinster detective did not smoke, drink a bit too much at times or find a local gentleman fanciable-- at least that the reader knew. Nor is Martin Steeple much like St Mary Meade, the village where Miss Marple first plied her detective skills. However, Miss Marple would certainly recognize that the plot of this entertaining village mystery is based on old sins casting long shadows.

The problems begin when a play based on the author's family experiences as hop pickers is being rehearsed at the newly converted Oast House Theatre-- an Oast House is a building expressly built as a drying kiln for hops used in brewing. Libby is the director of the mostly amateur group. A number of minor but potentially serious accidents involving the Theatre and the crew prove grist for Libby's Sarjeant's investigative skills until there is a death and things grow very serious indeed. The police are called in and it seems that Libby's friends are all suddenly suspects.

Easily dated by internal evidence-- the smokers are awaiting with dread the July 1, 2007 ban on smoking in enclosed work places-- it's a very modern village but still has the enclosed and intimate feeling that makes village mysteries so successful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder in Steeple Martin September 16, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I'm always on the lookout for a new cosy mystery along the lines of an Agatha Raisin or a Daisy Dalrymple investigation and so Murder in Steeple Martin, the first in Lesley Cookman's Libby Sarjeant series, seemed like a good bet for me.

Libby Sarjeant may have retired from acting but she's not one to place herself too far away from the spotlight and so she has moved on to directing. Her latest venture involves directing a play written by her friend Peter for the opening of a newly renovated local theatre. The play is based on real events from Peter's recent family history and centres on mysterious occurrences that took place in the village during the war. When one of her cast is found murdered, Libby's natural curiosity (to put it more politely than some of the other characters do!) makes her launching her own investigation inevitable.

Murder in Steeple Martin has just the kind of cosy setting that I enjoy; I love the darker side of village life that kept Miss Marple so entertained! There's certainly plenty of intrigue bubbling away under the surface in Steeple Martin. Libby Sargeant makes an appealing investigator, she's a lot more immediately likeable than some of the other cosy heroines that I now enjoy but took me a while to get used to. She's certainly nosy and rather brash but her heart's in the right place and, while not exactly heroic, she's not one to be deterred when on a quest for the truth. I'm quite impressed that she also managed to find time in her busy schedule for a spot of romance!

The events related to the recent murder as well as those from the village's past are well woven together in Murder in Steeple Martin and there are plenty of twists, turns and red herrings involved in Libby's investigation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I love to read cozy mysteries, particularly those set in England. I didn't like this book, though. There were too many incidental characters. I couldn't remember who they were. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Maryk
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and entertaining British mystery that was easy to read
Libby Searjeant is trying to put on a play but there have been a couple accidents at the theater. Are they just accidents or is there something a little more sinister going on? Read more
Published 1 month ago by TBreakiron
3.0 out of 5 stars Very slow paced
Well written, but very slow paced. I had trouble keeping all the characters straight, and the British slang was frequently bewildering, since I couldn't quite grasp the meaning... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Beckett Shiona
2.0 out of 5 stars I was very disappointed with the character development
I was very disappointed with the character development, plot and language. As a child of English grandparents, even I had a difficult time understanding what was being said. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J.E. Shipley
3.0 out of 5 stars Murder in steeple martin
Too drawn out, too many who dun IT characters. I will try another book by this author and then move on
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Don't know why, I just couldn'y get into it.
Published 4 months ago by Carroll I. Slider
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 4 months ago by Lynn Jack
4.0 out of 5 stars Book
Not read yet
Published 4 months ago by Rose A. Silver
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The whole series is very readable
Published 4 months ago by Sid
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
No opinion.
Published 5 months ago by Robin Butrick
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