Title: A Murder of Crows (A Nell Ward Mystery #1)
Author: Sarah Yarwood-Lovett
Published on: 1 July 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
A Murder of Crows is the first book in Sarah Yarwood-Lovett’s Nell Ward Mystery series.
Sophie Crows meets her untimely death in a tunnel. Meanwhile, Dr Nell Ward, an ecologist, is busy working in the grounds of a local manor house. While inspecting a tunnel, she hears something and it frightens her. She runs away from the place.
Two days later, the police arrive at her place. The owner of the local manor was found murdered in the tunnel. Nell had no idea that Sophie was murdered – yes, Sophie did not meet her at the scheduled time but that’s quite common with clients. Nell is currently looking after a rare baby bat that was attacked by a cat. She’s quite distracted with the fussing but readily answers the detectives’ question. When they ask to see her email and phone, she agrees. They tell her that her appointment with Sophie was moved an hour ahead but Nell says she never received any email of that sort.
Soon, Nell finds herself in the middle of the investigation – she’s the only one at the crime scene and has no alibi. Desperate to clear her name, she takes the help of her colleague Adam and they set out to solve the murder. Well, solving a murder case in real life is not as easy as it looks in a crime novel…
I was looking forward to reading this series as it was a series debut. I am always on the lookout for new series to try. When I first saw this on NetGalley I had bookmarked the page so that I could request at a later date. But I missed the date and book was archived (post release date) by the time I saw it. Thankfully, I found it in the KU catalog and I knew I had to give it a try. (Obsessive reader, you see.)
The story starts on a slow note. The pacing was too slow in the first half and I had almost lost hopes in completely the book. Thankfully I decided to stick on because the second half is totally worth it! The first half of the story is about the murder, yada yada yada, Nell being secretive about everything – from her past life to no friends or love life and the police suspecting her of having a hand in Sophie’s murder.
Then, BANG! We have a huge twist. It was quite shocking, you know. And the twist had something to do with Nell. My reaction to this particular twist is better described in a GIF:
I read the sentence twice to make sure I read it right. OMG! I don’t think I have ever read a book that has such a shocking twist – and that too, it has something to do with the main character. Having said that, we have a James Bond-kinda scene at the ending. Gadgets check, top-class car for the chase, check, M to the rescue, check check check.
Suspects are plenty – including Nell. Unknown to her, it did seem like she had a connection to the victim. It was quite shocking when the police revealed the reason for suspecting her of the crime – and it has nothing to do with her job as an ecologist.
We also have a romance angle here – one of the detectives likes Nell. Ooh!! The detective is warned by his superior that when a policeman falls for a suspect, it means the suspect is guilty of committing the crime. Hmm, but our Nell as a perp? No way! Then there is Adam Kashyap, a handsome hunk of a Punjabi colleague that Nell likes. I wonder why I never had handsome colleagues like Adam? Hmm!
Tension is at an all-time high soon after the shocking revelation. Nell must take the matter in her own hands, solve the case and prove her innocence – even when her lawyer warns her not to interfere in police matters.
I loved the writing and the characters. The mystery kept me guessing till the end. My only niggle with this story is the beginning – too slow paced for my liking. Also, it got a bit too informative at times – which made the read a tad slow. But ,I am glad I decided to read rather than DNF. The identity of the perp was a shocker and the events that finally led to them being caught red-handed was no less than a James Bond movie-like scene.
I am looking forward to reading Nell’s future adventures in sleuthing.