Death at the Abbey by Jan Durham

Title: Death at the Abbey (A Kipper Cottage Mystery #1)

Author: Jan Durham

Published on: 27 February 2022

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

After the death of her husband, Liz McLuckie has taken an early retirement and moved to Whitby, a picturesque fishing town on the North Yorkshire coast. She plans to renovate the two fishing cottages she purchased – Kipper Cottage and Gull Cottage.

One morning, when Liz is walking her dog Nelson, she comes across a body near the medieval abbey. Turns out, the victim is a local professor. Soon, Liz finds herself in the center of a murder investigation.

Death at the Abbey is the first book in Jan Durham’s Kipper Cottage Mystery series. Set in the picturesque Yorkshire, this book is a must-read for all cozy mystery fans.

Where do I start? Do I praise the eclectic mix of characters first? Or, should I talk about the mystery that kept me guessing till the end? Or, should I shower praises on Jan Durham’s excellent storytelling?

Death at the Abbey is a perfect example of what a cozy mystery should have. A cozy setting – North Yorkshire, in this case; a likeable character – we have Liz, our middle-aged armchair sleuth; a crime – murder of a local professor; a mystery – something to do with a relic missing from the local museum and of course, the murder; a dash of romance – um, let me keep this a suspense for those who are planning to read the book. 😀

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The story begins with ‘just another ordinary morning’ for Liz and her dog Nelson. Turns out, things are a little different – especially when Nelson finds a dead body in the medieval abbey. The local detective is a pain in the you-know-where and their attitude isn’t going to make things easy for Liz. But another copper assigned to the case – Kevin – is the son of Liz’s friend and Mahjong partner Benedict. (Kevin too plays Mahjong with the group.)

Tilly is Liz’s friend and owns a local café. Tilly has a juvie record; when Tilly and Liz go sleuthing in the middle of the night and end up at the dead center of another crime scene, Tilly becomes a person of interest.

Liz learns of a missing relic from the museum. Was the professor killed because he was involved in the theft? Also, there is some mystery behind the professor’s death. Post mortem reports indicate death by drowning – salt water. So, was he killed, dumped near the sea and later brought up the cliff?

I absolutely enjoyed reading Death at the Abbey by Jan Durham. The mystery behind the murder and the missing relic kept me guessing till the end. The missing relic has some historical significance – a nice touch to the (already) engrossing mystery. Excellent character introduction and portrayal. Having read a lot of cozy series debuts in the past few years, I must say: this book had the perfect mix of character introduction, setting and mystery.

Jan Durham is a master storyteller. I am in awe of her writing and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series: Death at the Neptune Yard. If you love mysteries set in a cozy town, you might want to give Jan Durham’s Death at the Abbey a try.


I received an ARC from Inkubator Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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