Hello! Today I’m very pleased to welcome you to JuliaPalooza to celebrate publication day for Hate Bale by Stephanie Dagg!
About the book
Grumbling guests and escaping piglets are precisely what Martha doesn’t need. She’s already struggling to run a holiday cottage and a rather large smallholding single-handedly. Since her husband Mark died, three years ago, her rural property in France, beautiful as it is, has become an increasingly heavy millstone around her neck.
So whilst she’s horrified to stumble across a corpse at the local farm supplies shop, it does at least distract her from her own woes. Best friend Lottie, the cheese to Martha’s chalk, swoops in to offer moral support, and encourages Martha to join her in some unofficial sleuthing. Meanwhile, police officer Philippe Prudhomme, a former fellow chess-player of Mark’s, undertakes a rather more professional investigation.
However, despite everyone’s efforts the killer remains at large. And when more bodies (one and a bit, to be precise) come Martha’s way, it definitely feels like he’s closing in on her…
There’s suspense, humour and excitement in this entertaining cosy mystery set in the French countryside.
Hate Bale is the second of Stephanie Dagg‘s cosy mysteries I have read, after Haircuts, Hens and Homicide last year, which I very much enjoyed. This too is a fun, easy and entertaining read.
Martha is a practical, three-dimensional and very human heroine, who encounters some quite gruesome scenes within the glorious French countryside. She is surrounded by colourful characters including a dashing local gendarme, her forceful best friend and the tenant from hell in her holiday cottage.
Although person or persons unknown are targeting the local villagers, similarly to H, H & H, the murder mystery is only part of the charm of this book, and a lot of the enjoyment comes from the characters’ interactions (both good and bad!) and reading about life on and around a smallholding in a tiny French village.
If you like a witty mystery, a feisty lead character and a well-written story, Hate Bale is a very pleasant way to vicariously spend a few hours in rural France!
Thank you to Stephanie Dagg for my copy of Hate Bale and to Rachel Gilbey for my spot on the tour.
About the author
“I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie of animals, has made for exciting times. The current array of creatures ranges from alpacas to zebra finches, with pretty much everything in-between! Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve. I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful. I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. As well as being an author, I’m also a part-time editor and, with Chris, manager of three carp fishing lakes. My hobbies are cycling, geocaching, knitting and sewing.”