Mark Waddell

Books: Mystery | Queer | Cozy

The Body in the Back Garden (2023)

The Body in the Back Garden (2023)

The Body in the Back GardenLuke Tremblay didn’t plan to every return to Crescent Cove, but when his aunt dies and leaves him her cottage and store, he has to head back to settle her affairs. And since he’s just broken up with his long term boyfriend, getting out of town isn’t a terrible idea.

Unfortunately, his plans are stymied when a body is discovered in his garden.

“Well. Someone was murdered there. Now,” she added, as I opened my mouth, “I’m not required to disclose that fact, and neither are you. It’s not a material defect of the kind that would need to be acknowledged to a potential buyer. But this is a small town. People talk. And I can’t promise that this information won’t become available to a buyer.”

There is a problem with reading as voraciously as I do, and that is that cozy mysteries–especially ones that are the start of a series–tend to have a main character who makes the exact stupid mistakes as the main characters in every other cozy mystery.

Lying / failing to tell the whole truth to the police?


Walking into a crime scene without alerting the police?


Being surprised at accusations of murder.


Every stupid and annoying thing the main characters of cozy mysteries do in the first book of a series made an appearance here.

It’s not that these things are bad writing, it’s just that it’s painfully obvious what the consequences are going to be as soon as the character does the stupid things, and it’s frustrating that the character is surprised by the results of their actions Every. Single. Time.

One of the things I did like was that he had truly loved his aunt, prior to the family falling out. And that he forgave her father learning what had happened.

“After the … the argument you had with your parents, she received a call from her brother. Your father. He warned her not to meddle, to just leave you alone. The family were united in their decision to … let you go your own way, and if Marguerite didn’t toe the line, your grandfather would disinherit her.”

What bothered me was that when she made him her heir, she didn’t leave a note of her own, explaining what had happened and how sorry she was for her actions. Sure, she wasn’t expecting to die, but she’d had a will made. Surely she could have at least left a brief messages for him.

Yet, I did like and enjoy the story, and I will look for other books in this series and by this author. I just wish I didn’t have so much “first book in a cozy series” going on, and that it could have gonein lightly unexpected directions for a cozy.

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Rating: 6/10