Rough and Deadly by Paula Williams
I don't often re-read books these days. However, during the holiday season when life was busy, I looked for the familiarity of a book that I knew I would enjoy. I chose to re-read Rough and Deadly by Paula Williams.
Everyone knows Abe Compton’s Headbender cider is as rough as a cider can get. But is it deadly?
When self-styled ‘lady of the manor’, Margot Duckett-Trimble, announces she wouldn’t be seen dead drinking the stuff, who could have foreseen that, only a few days later, she’d be found, face down, in a vat of it?
Kat Latcham’s no stranger to murder. Indeed, the once ‘sleepy’ Somerset village of Much Winchmoor is fast gaining a reputation as the murder capital of the West Country and is ‘as sleepy as a kid on Christmas Eve’ when it’s discovered there’s a murderer running loose in the community again.
Kat has known Abe all her life, and she is sure that, although he had motive, he didn’t kill Margot. But as she investigates, the murderer strikes again. And the closer Kat gets to finding out who the real killer is, the closer to danger she becomes.
Rough and Deadly is the second Much Winchmoor Mystery and sprinkled with humour and romance amongst the cast of colourful characters, which includes a manic little dog called Prescott whose bite is definitely worse than his bark. My favourite character is Prescott's owner, Elsie whose bad temper and inquisitive gossip makes me wonder if I may be similarly portrayed in years to come!
The main character, Katie (Kat) Latcham finds herself living at home with her parents after her university romance has gone wrong. To make matters worse, Katie has no regular job and her relationship with handsome local farmer, Will, has problems too.
Then life takes a turn for the worse when Katie has to step in to help work in her mother's hairdressing salon and the variety of clients and their banter is genuinely funny. One of the client's is a local woman, Margot is recognised by Katie's aunt. Soon both women are dead and my favourite, Elsie, has views. I do not do spoilers, but the web of intrigue the author weaves is as fascinating as it is hilarious.
When Katie lands a temporary job with Elsie, she is not only subjected to her employer's views but learns not only about the suspects in the village but about her parents, uncle and aunt and their pasts. Rough and Deadly is a delightful cosy crime story where the tension is interlaced with romance and humour. I always enjoy books by Paula Williams and highly recommend Rough and Deadly.
Paula Williams is living her dream. She's written all her life - her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her plays and pageants. But it's only in recent years that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it.
Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, UK, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue dog, a Dalmatian called Duke. She is very proud to be a member of both the UK Romantic Novelists' Association and the Crime Writers' Association.
Her Much Winchmoor Mysteries are based in a small Somerset village which bears in uncanny resemblance to her own - although none of her friends and neighbours have murderous tendencies - as far as she knows! Her novels often feature a murder or two, a dog and cat or two and are always spiked with humour and sprinkled with a touch of romance.
She writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for UK magazine Writers’ Forum and blogs at paulawilliamswriter.com. Her facebook author page is www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author, on Twitter at @paulawilliams44 and Instagram at paulawilliams_author where pictures of her incredibly handsome Dalmatian appear more often than pictures of her book covers.
Paula is, indeed, living her dream. But she worries that one day she's going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into performing 'the play what she wrote'.