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Review of 'Murder Takes Root' - Rosie Sandler

I read the first in this series after hearing Rosie speak about it at the Brightlingsea Literary Festival in 2023. Having thoroughly enjoyed it, when I saw the second one advertised, I instantly asked to have it for review.

I love cosy crime novels but unless something happens to one of the main characters, it's rare for me to have an emotional reaction to the plot. However, in this case, the victim was so beautifully written that when they were murdered, I was genuinely upset. I had assumed that as they were a nice character, they were going to be part of a sub plot, not the main one. Often in this genre, the victim is an unpleasant character and there are many reasons why they might have been killed, but here, the vicim seemed to be a genuinely likeable person.

The crux of the plot gradually emerges and Steph eventually unravels the mess the victim had got themselves tangled up in. The book also takes a close look at the effect that a sudden death can have on the victim's family and friends, particularly in the case of murder and it is interesting that genuinely grieving people can often leave themselves open to suspicion of involvement because of the random nature of how grief can strike.

I also love that we are now beginning to get more of Steph's personal story. In the first book, we were introduced to her family and ex-husband. In this instalment, although we don't necessarily learn anything new about them, the plot is definitely thickening around her ex-husband's whereabouts and I am sure something nefarious will come out at some point. We already know he's not a pleasant man!

It's hard to discuss many more details of the plot without giving anything away, because every part of it is so intricately interwoven, but it kept me hooked from start to finish and already I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

Ultimately, if you enjoy cosy crime novels, this is definitely one to pick up. However, I would also argue that even if it's not your usual 'go-to' genre, give the series a go, because there's more to it than a run-of-the-mill cosy crime. The gardening adds an extra-dimension and of course for pet-lovers, there is the gorgeous Mouse, who finds friends of all varieties in this book.

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