blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Village Fete Murder – Katie Gayle

Julia Bird can’t wait to attend the annual village party at the local stately home, with its tea tents, cake stalls, and… dead body in the maze?

The annual village celebration at Berrywick House is underway, complete with over-decorated cake stalls, fiercely contested flower competitions, and even a maze for the disappointed losers to hide in. Julia Bird, now a well-known – even notorious – member of the community, with her trusty Labrador Jake, has thrown herself headlong into the festivities. But her reputation for adding drama to any event stands up yet again when she discovers a dead body in the maze…

It seems Ursula Benjamin, village know-it-all and prickly baking competition participant, has been strangled – and the killer has to be someone at the fete. As Julia grapples with finding yet another murder in Berrywick, she starts to wonder, could one of the competitive cake-bakers have taken the contest to deadly new heights? Or is there something darker in Ursula’s life that led to her untimely demise?

Embroiled once again in a murder enquiry, Julia isn’t about to leave the investigation to the police. Like it or not, she’s involved, and she’s going to help them solve the mystery. But when there’s another death, and it’s clear the murders aren’t isolated incidents, the stakes become even higher. Can Julia figure out the identity of the killer, and prevent any further dastardly deeds, before the wholesome spirit of the village is ruined forever?

If you like utterly gripping English mysteries, then you’ll love A Village Fete Murder. Perfect for fans of M.C. Beaton, Faith Martin and Betty Rowlands.


Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre. Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats. Unlike their sleuth Epiphany Bloom, neither of them have ever stolen a cat from the vet.


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My thoughts: this series is a lot of fun, even with all the dead bodies. There’s a lot of food so have a snack handy, I was craving cake by the end!

Julia, Sean and a certain naughty chocolate lab (my grandparents had one and he was such a lovely dog) are at the village fete, when they find the body of local school teacher Ursula Benjamin in the maze.

Of course, Julia can’t resist “helping” out the local detectives, much to the chagrin of local detective Hayley, who keeps telling Julia to stop digging! Good thing they’re friends. After a second body linked to the first, it seems to all centre on the school where both victims worked. Will Julia’s social worker background and understanding of people help find the killer?

This was clever and entertaining as always, the writing team that comprise Katie Gayle are witty and insightful, so many of the motivations are about human nature – these ladies have the insights. Can’t wait for book 4!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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