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Book Review: Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson

Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village by Maureen Johnson; Jay Cooper

Genre: Nonfictio, Humor, Travelogue

4.3 Stars

The title says it all, doesn't it? This is one of those books we pick up because the title is too good to resist. The book is a short yet detailed guide to stay alive if you ever happen to visit a sleepy English village.

Now, for the uninitiated, beautiful English villages are notorious for countless deaths. If you don’t believe me, look at Agatha Christie’s or Georgette Heyer’s crime fiction novels. Anyone who enters the English village is pretty much signing their death warrant.

Okay, okay! This is a joke and a really good one too. But when an author offers a book that suits the twisted sense of humor, it’s hard to not go along.

Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village is an illustrated copy with bits of wisdom scattered throughout. The illustrations are in shades of black and grey, with fresh scarlet red making its presence felt when it should. Imagine red blood dripping from a knife that’s been used to stab an unsuspecting tourist. Delicious, isn’t it? *wink*

The book is divided into sections:

  • The Village Church: Do you remember how many dead bodies were found in and around the church? I know of at least half a dozen of such stories.

  • Other Establishments: Nothing is as safe or cheerful as it appears. Every crime fiction reader knows that.

  • Villagers: From ladies who love to bake and crochet to grumpy doctors and constables who don’t arrive until it’s too late, the author covered everyone.

  • The Annual Events: Fetes are such events to read about. Apparently, attending these is a life-threatening decision. Beware!

  • The Manor: Who doesn’t love a manor spread over acres of land? It’s a treasure trove, even for buried bodies, according to the author. And with my experience in the genre (crime fic), I completely agree.

  • The Manor’s Indoors: Well, here, I’d like to add that even city houses aren’t safe. How many deaths did Poirot solve in city houses? Too many to feel comfortable in any house.

  • The Residents: If the villagers are scary, the manor’s residents are terrifying. Everyone has secrets they don’t want to reveal, even if it means adding to the dead body count.

  • The Forever Staying Visitors: This collection of visitors is evergreen. I never tire of reading about some strange and eccentric hobbies visitors have. Come on, why should they limit themselves to collecting coins when they can collect eyeballs?

  • The Servants: There’s a reason the butlers and housekeepers end up as suspects in just about every case. Of course, you’ll never know how many of them are innocent until it’s too late (for you).

  • Recreational Events: These events serve a dual purpose, I say. Put them in historical romance, and you’ve got swoon-worthy gowns, food, music, and romance. Turn the page to crime fiction, and you’ve got death(s). Take your pick.

Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village can be read in less than an hour. But the precious advice it imparts is bound to stay with you forever unless you travel to a lovely English village. If you do, you’ll end up forgetting everything and give the author another reason to prove that she was right in writing this guide. Tsk tsk…

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Clarkson Potter/ Ten Speed Press.


About the Author: Srivalli Rekha is a blogger, writer, and amateur photographer. She got a degree in MBA and MA English Literature and chose to become a writer and a poet instead of a corporate professional.


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