Review: Murder on Milverton Square (The Milverton Mysteries book 1) by G.B. Ralph
Addison Harper is abruptly summoned to Milverton at the behest of an abrasive lawyer. He plans to be in and out, back to the city lickety-split. Instead, he finds himself charmed by the small town with its delightful and eccentric residents, not to mention the rather easy-on-the-eye Sergeant Jake Murphy.
Despite the rocky start, Addison admits he’s had a pleasant day out. That is, until returning to find the prickly old lawyer on the floor, and very much dead. Worse, it looks like murder, and Addison’s fingerprints are all over the crime scene.
Murder on Milverton Square is the first in a wonderful new cosy mystery seriesset in an enchanting small town nestled amongst stunning New Zealand scenery. The Milverton Mysteries features a chaotic cast of local busybodies, delicious baked treats, a demanding and disdainful ginger cat, a very slow-burn romance with a rather appealing policeman, and of course, murder …
Dear G.B. Ralph,
This book was a wonderful surprise for me. One of the best books I have ever read on Kindle Unlimited. If you like cozy mysteries with potential m/m romance thrown in, I highly recommend it. I could see the small New Zealand town in my head so clearly and that does not happen often for me, so when I can see pictures drawn with words, I am very happy.
Even though I mentioned a potential m/m romance happening, please note that while the attraction between the men is clear, the story is a mystery first and foremost. We witness the very beginning of a possible romance but nothing more explicit than that.
I really liked Addison even though, in the beginning of the story, he seemed a little boring to me. Very early in the story though an annoying lawyer calls him and interrupts Addison’s usual routines. The annoying lawyer brings unexpected news of a dead uncle (with whom Addison did not really communicate) leaving him a significant inheritance. Addison has no choice but to go to the picturesque town of Milverton, where events that he cannot control start unfolding.
I want to be clear the story is undoubtedly a cozy mystery – small town, cute cat, pretty settings, cute food, several adorable/ annoying residents whom our main character becomes friend with. It follows the laws of the genre, what I am trying to say, but I still liked it a lot and I thought it was very well written.
I also thought, for example, that the story found a very good reason for our character to become an amateur detective at least temporarily. After all, one tends to become invested in the investigation when one gets accused of murder. Also who would know that Addison could do sarcasm so well?
“‘Motive and means.’ Murphy raised an eyebrow. ‘Someone’s been watching their cop dramas.’ Addison shrugged. ‘Go on, humour me,’ he said, cocking his head to the side. Addison exhaled like he’d had the wind whipped out of his sails. Still, after an early start, travelling, a full workday, witnessing a dead body, and hours of questioning and waiting, he was tired and a bit peeved.
‘Are you suggesting, Sergeant Murphy, that I left the front desk at the visitor centre, slipped past Mr Norman’s terrifying receptionist and into the lawyer’s office, shot him, sneaked out again, wandered across the square to grab a fish and chip dinner, casually ate it in public view, then revisited the scene of the crime to stage a “shocking discovery”?’ Murphy went to comment, but it was Addison’s turn to interrupt. ‘Or–or!–I worked myself into a rage while chewing on my hot chips and was so overcome with bloodlust, I stormed into the lawyer’s office and popped him off?’”
Understandable sarcasm in this scene notwithstanding, I thought Addison and Jake already had nice chemistry and if author decides to let them spend more time on page as a couple, they could be great together .
I also really liked a cat whose name was Keith.
“Keith sat, staring up at Addison, his paw unambiguously pressed against the back door. Addison laughed quietly to himself. ‘Opening a door, I’m sure I can manage that much,’ he said as Keith weaved around his leg and out the gap. Addison found himself following onto the back porch and watching as the cat stalked down the steps, curious about this animal that had shared a roof with his great-uncle, and who seemed to be so well known to locals. ‘Where do you go? What do you do all day?’
Keith had stepped a few paces onto the lawn and seemed to stop at the sound of Addison’s voice. He turned to look back over his shoulder, flicked his tail, flashed his backside, and strutted on. Was that an invitation to follow Keith on his usual rounds of his kingdom, deigning to allow his newest subject to tag along? Or was it an instruction to follow – a tour of the grounds for the newly appointed custodian, to be given just this once? Addison suspected the latter and thought perhaps he ought to do as he was told. He didn’t fancy getting clawed in his sleep for insubordination, or whatever other punishment the little beast came up with. Addison shrugged and followed the waddling ball of orange fur. Why not? What else was he going to do?”
I feel like the two quotes are the major part of my review, but I cannot help myself, I really enjoyed the writing here.
A cat! I must read this.
This does sound appealing, Sirius! Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
@Jayne: @Kareni: I have to warn you though that since I have written my review, I have read some GR reviews and found the reviews um very mixed. I still enjoyed this book, and stand by my review in a sense that I enjoyed story and characters, but I always worry OMG what if the writing is objectively bad and I missed it. anyway , check other reviews, but Jayne I do think Keith was awesome.
@Sirius: I don’t know, Sirius, I just checked out the Goodreads page for this review and the star average is 4.21 which is *excellent* for Goodreads star ratings.
(Also reading is subjective and no review can be anything other than subjective. No reviewer can catch everything either, and if you don’t catch a lot it’s usually because you’re enjoying yourself, in which case that’s what you need to communicate most to readers of the review. Just my three cents.)
@Janine: Thank you :). You know me, I tend to get panicky lol. It is not as if I worry that my opinion should stay in line with other readers, as you said review is just one subjective opinion of one person, but if I were English native speaker, I would feel significantly more confident in the evaluating the writing as well. I may love it, you may not – whatever, but if I state that writing is good and in reality it is full of awkward sentences etc, that is the only thing I worry about. I know I should not, but I always will be. However, this KU so at least readers who decide to grab the book wont have to pay for this book specifically. So yay.
@Sirius: That I do understand, particularly as a non-native speaker of English. I came to the US at a pretty young age (eleven) and I still mispronounce a few words though my English is otherwise very good. I’m very self conscious about it, though! And aware that I might not know how to pronounce many more words I think I know how to pronounce.
@Janine: makes sense yeah.
I just finished the book last night, having started it based on your review. I enjoyed it, so thank you!
@JPeK: Oh I am so glad to hear that. Thank you for letting me know.