Written in the classic style of Agatha Christie, Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering is the fifth book in her Drew Farthering Mystery series. It follows Drew Farthering and his wife Madeline to Bunting’s Nest, England, a quaint country town in the 1930s. Drew’s old pal from school days asked for Drew’s help solving a series of strange happenings on the moor outside Bunting’s Nest.
The kindly old vicar has been murdered and no one knows why. Nor does the local constabulary have leads on the murderer. Drew agrees to offer his amateur knowledge of detection to help the small police force. He also gets nowhere at first.
Meanwhile, Madeline befriends the wife of their host. From her, Madeline learns more about the strange happenings on the moor. A dog the size of the hound from Baskerville, hauntings from the ruins of an ancient worship site, and dead animals left in the open. What all this means, however, is another mystery.
The local poacher who lives on the moor denies involvement, but he’s expecting a windfall as evidenced by his freely buying drinks at the bar. The milkman goes bird-watching on the moor and agrees to keep his eyes open. And the dangerously handsome gamekeeper, who everyone assumes is having an affair with the wife of the Fartherings’ host, continually appears in unexpected places.
Murder on the Moor was a very enjoyable book. The main characters were likable, though being later in the series, I recognized references to past events that were likely covered in earlier books. And the mystery kept me guessing until the end. Indeed, I found the entire style of the book a cross between the mysteries of Miss Marple and Tommy & Tuppence Beresford. Two of my favorite series.
This was most welcome as I have been critical of recent books I’ve read published by Christian publishing houses due to the overt preaching that can come through a simple story. In Deerings case, she refreshingly portrayed Drew Farthering as a flawed human who believed in God and, in tasteful moments, perhaps shared those beliefs without pushing them on another person. There were no come-to-Jesus moments, just simple mystery amid a cast of unique characters.
I would look to buy the previous books in the series if the cost was not as high as so many books published by Christian publishing houses seem to be these days. Fortunately, I have a local library, so I may investigate the series there. Perhaps you will enjoy the books as well.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in order to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”