Reviews | Shelly Frome

Read reviews for The Secluded Village Murders

5 stars. “I’m glad I didn’t know that Shelly Frome is male before I read this book. I have sort of a prejudice against male writers trying to get inside female heads and making the character believable. Female writers trying to get inside male heads gives me almost the same shudders, but not quite.

Therefore, I was surprised when I went to review this book and there’s a photo of the author! A professor no less. While there wasn’t quite the kind of female introspection in this story as in stories written by females, I thought it was the stiff-upper-lip type of British through processing. I like that writing style so didn’t think much of it. That’s the only difference I can tell.

If you don’t like British style humor, or British style mysteries, then you won’t like this book. The humor comes from the characters, and they are quirky, and they are wonderfully developed. I’ve met people just like these, and it was clear from the outset that Frome understands elderly people very well. After seeing his photo, I now know why. There is a great small town flavor about this story with all the small town secrets and busybodiness, too. It is a wonderful combination.

The story drags in a few places, but don’t skip them because you’ll miss some important clues. One thing I like about this book is the reader is given all the clues necessary to solve the mystery. Another thing I liked is that I figured it out, but not too early.

A most satisfying read.”

— Gina Burgess, Upon Reflection blog

5 stars. “I really enjoyed this British cozy with the twist of having a young American as the amateur sleuth. The characters were well written, the setting sounded divine and the story had plenty of twists and turns.”

—Mary Nickell for NetGalley

“In The Secluded Village Murders, author Shelly Frome weaves an intriguing cozy mystery that follows the amateur sleuth adventures of tour guide Emily Ryder as she tries to solve the murder of Chris Cooper, her beloved mentor / father figure.

Emily is making final preparations for a guided tour to the United Kingdom with the eccentric elderly Curtis siblings Harriet, Silas, and Prudence that includes a “twinning” fete between their hometown of Lydfield, Connecticut and it’s sister village Lydfield-in-the-Moor, United Kingdom. But a few days before she departs for the UK, Emily witnesses Chris Cooper’s fatal fall from a slate roof during a rainstorm. Chris owned a roofing business and was the head of Lydfield’s Planning Commission, and he was being pressured to approve the development of a piece of land next door to Emily’s mom’s B&B and the Curtis’ property by the Gordon Development Corporation. The developers want to buy Emily’s mom’s B&B and the Curtis property, but there is resistance, so the developers result to using pressure tactics. When Emily tells State Trooper Dave Roberts that she thinks Chris’ death is the result of murder instead of a fall accident, he doesn’t buy it, so Emily enlists the help of Babs Maroon, a features reporter for the County Times, and Will Farrow, the B&B handyman to investigate the murder while she is in the United Kingdom. Can Emily and friends solve the murder mystery and get justice for her beloved mentor while she’s across the pond?

The Secluded Village Murders is an entertaining story that has enough quirky characters, intrigue, suspense, humor, and drama that easily draws the reader into Emily’s amateur sleuth adventure. This cozy mystery is full of devious plot twists and turns that will easily keep you guessing. Emily tries to juggle her responsibility to provide the guided tour for her clients while dealing with the murder mystery back at home, but she finds herself being challenged and pulled in a lot of directions, and being thwarted by some dangerous people who want to stop her from revealing the truth at any cost. The author provides the reader with many clues along the way, but you have to stay on your toes, or you will find yourself a bit confused with all the twists and turns until Emily’s determination to expose the truth behind the murder mystery is finally revealed and solved.

The Secluded Village Murders is an intriguing whodunit tale that cozy mystery fans will want to add to their reading list.”

—Kathleen Anderson, Jersey Girl Book Reviews

“This book is about Emily Ryder, a guided tour guide. She takes a group to England, Lydfield-in-the-Moor to do what is called twinning, with Lydfield, CT and attend a fete that celebrates the two villages. While trying to get the next trip organized with elderly siblings, a mentor of hers, Chris, is badly injured and later dies, after falling off the roof of a house that had just had some work done on it.

A shady developer is trying to get her to get her mother to sell property and issues threats because Emily refuses. She is ‘working’ with Will and his dog Oliver, there is a state trooper who doesn’t believe that her mentor died under suspicious circumstances, but handyman Will agrees with her t hat something is not right. Her friend Babs who is a sassy reporter who keeps pushing Emily for a story. Then there is Emily’s mom who is trying to keep her B&B afloat.

With all of the characters in the book, I got a kick out of the arguing siblings. The trip to England was a bit more exciting to the story, as there was another murder and then when Emily’s life is in danger it becomes a page turner. All in all I enjoyed this book, reminded me more of a British mystery than just a mystery that takes place in America.

I think that I would love to see a sequel or ongoing series with Emily Ryder and her adventures as a guided tour guide. Maybe it is in the works? If you love a good mystery, I think you would enjoy this one.”

—Kathleen Kelly for NetGalley

“This is a classic British mystery in the great tradition of British mysteries. Emily owns and runs a village Bed and breakfast with her Mom. in a small English village that is charming. Emily does not want to sell the bed and breakfast her family owns but developers want it sold and they want the land it is on. Then Emily’s best friend falls from a house he re-roofed. He sadly passes away. Emily thinks he was murdered and she begins to look into his death and possible suspects within the development company.

Soon after when on a tour with her community members one person ends up dead on the tour. The local police do not seem concerned and do not think its murder. Emily does not agree. Now she knows both deaths were probably murder.
As she grows closer to the truth through her own investigation, she is in danger and the true motive behind these heinous crimes will be reveled.

This had a very lovely setting, nice characters and a good plot. I enjoyed this new mystery and look forward to further work by this author.”

—Cozy Cat Reviews

“I love a good mystery and this certainly fit the bill! This book pulled me in right from the start and didn’t let go all the way through. I even shoved some work aside so I could finish it today but it was worth it. The story is about a woman named Emily Ryder, a tour guide who witnesses her friend fall to his death off of a roof one rainy morning. Emily urges the police to investigate the death as a murder because of the suspicious circumstances surrounding the fall but they don’t want to listen and want to close the case and label it an accident.

I really appreciated Emily as a character and her intelligence, intuitiveness and determination made me root for her throughout the novel. I loved that she trusted her instincts about the case and was willing to fight for what she believed in. The mystery was also very compelling. Unlike some mysteries I have read in the past, I really felt like the author put a lot of forethought into not only the motive and means of the killing but little clues that could be left along the way for the reader to potentially pick up on. I appreciate a mystery author that trusts the reader’s intelligence and ability to work things out on their own.

Not many books these days seem to leave me in a state of awe but this one has me not only wanting to re-read it again, but chomping a the bit for more by the same author! I’m very happy to see that this seems to be the beginning of a series. I’d highly recommend reading this book. If you love suspense, intrigue, great writing and a good mystery, then this is the book for you!”

—Katy, Storeybook Reviews

“It is a British Mystery about Emily Ryder, a tour guide, who witnesses the suspicious death of her friend. Too bad I don’t have more time to read a good book quicker.”

— Adriana B for NetGalley

5 stars. “Although written by an American Professor Emeritus, THE SECLUDED VILLAGE MURDERS reminds me so much of the delightful British village cosies popularized by the Grande Dame Agatha Christie, and still continued by a variety of subsequent authors. Emily lives in Lychfield, Connecticut, and runs a travel business which involves ferrying American tourists to the British Isles for exploration and adventure, including to Lychfield’s English “Twin City,” Lychfield-on-the-Moors. Just before she leaves, her oldest friend falls from the roof of an empty house, which she observes, and is convinced that was not an accident, but purposefully caused. No one, including the local state trooper, believes her. Everyone in the community seems enrapt with the potential new subdivision development, which will effectively destroy a wonderful scenic area untampered since colonial times.Emily goes on to England, but she never gives up, no matter what obstacles fall into (or are tossed into) her path.”

— Mallory Haws for NetGalley