Snapped in Cornwall by Janie Bolitho

I’ve been walking past Janie Bolitho’s books in the library for a while now. And I’ve always meant to give them a try, but they never quite made it to the front of the queue. Finally, when I started my Read Cornwall campaign I decided that I had to read a proper Cornish mystery. And so I brought home Snapped in Cornwall, the first of seven mysteries featuring Rose Trevelyan.

Rose lives a mile away from me, in in the fishing port of Newlyn. She’s a photographer, living quietly since she was widowed a few years ago. Her portrait is simply but very well painted. All of the little details were right, and she could easily be someone I passed in the street and I liked her enough to want to know what happened and to keep turning the pages.

And then there was Gabrielle Milton, who hired Rose to photograph her new country home. She and Rose got on, they could have become friends. And Garielle invited Rose to a party – only for Rose to discover her body below a balcony.

It seemed that Gabrielle had been pushed. But who pushed her. Her unfaithful husband? His mistress. Her son, who desperately needed the money he believed his mother would leave him? His ambitious fiancรฉ? The local woman who believed that Gabrielle was after her husband?

An interesting and eminently believable band of suspects and a simple, uncomplicated mystery.

Rose is drawn in because she found the body and because her own bereavement led her to offer the right kind of support to Gabrielle’s loved ones. It’s little contrived, she finds out things a little too easily, but Janie Bolitho just about gets away with it. Because her characters, their relationship, their behaviour, they all have the ring of truth.

And of course she uncovers the truth. It was believable, without being obvious.

Snapped In Cornwall is a simple traditional mystery, easy to read, and it captures Cornwall and the Cornish beautifully – everything happened within a few miles of me in places I know well and I have to say nothing at all jarred. It would make wonderful television.

I won’t be rushing to the library for the next installment, but I’ll definitely be picking it up one of these days.

16 responses

  1. I was right! It was a Bolitho ๐Ÿ™‚
    How wonderful that you live in that part of the world. I envy you! I travelled around a few places in the South-West a few years ago and I loved the scenery and the sea.
    Subsequent books in the series are stronger and more interesting so I hope you will give it another go when you can. Her descriptions of the area always take me back.

    • I was born and grew up here and I moved back a few years ago. The sense of the place and people was spot on, and that’s rare in contemporary writing. I’ll certainly pick up more of Janie Bolitho before too long.

  2. I started in the middle of the series as my library didn’t have this one, but am quite glad to have discovered Bolitho for a little bit of light relief.

    I like the idea of calling it a Read Cornwall campaign – may I use that phrase too?

    • I don’t have the impression that series order is too important. Please so use the “Read Cornwall” slogan – I’m working on a badge too!

  3. Yes – I bought them after I couldn’t get hold of it at the library! Waiting for them to turn up and will then save for my holidays in the county I think…In the meantime reading the later books in the series which ARE available ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Someone else recommended this author to me and I have this same book in my reading pile. I’m glad to hear more good things. It would be cool to be so familiar with the setting!

  5. does anyone have a complete listing of janie bolitho’s cornwall mysteries? i got hold of one in my library here in the states, but am having trouble just finding out the names of the books, so that i can request them from my library or look for them on our amazon. i don’t usually have this much trouble finding someone on the web who has made a list?

    • Hi! I have found Fantastic Fiction ( invaluable in these cases. The complete list is as follows:
      1. Snapped in Cornwall (1997)
      2. Framed in Cornwall (1998)
      3. Buried in Cornwall (1999)
      4. Betrayed in Cornwall (2000)
      5. Plotted in Cornwall (2001)
      6. Killed in Cornwall (2002)
      7. Caught Out in Cornwall (2003)
      The Cornish Novels (omnibus containing first 3 novels) (2003)

  6. I know that this is the first and Framed is the second, but for a complete list LibraryThing is a wonderful resourse. Happy hunting!

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