An English Garden Murder by Katie Gayle #BookReview #BooksOnTour #AnEnglishGardenMurder #CozyMystery #NetGalley @KatieGayleBooks @Bookouture #onceuponatimebookreviews

Today I am taking part in the books on tour and reviewing on its publication day An English Garden Murder by Katie Gayle, published by Bookouture.


Meet Julia Bird: recently single, reluctantly retired, and… an amateur sleuth?

Julia Bird has left London for a fresh start in a picturesque Cotswolds village, and the rustic charm and cosy fireplaces of her little cottage are everything she’d hoped for. But when she tears down the old garden shed to make way for a chicken coop, she unearths much more than she’d bargained for… the body of a young woman, apparently buried for decades, thrusting Julia into a baffling mystery.

With only one copper on the case in Berrywick, Julia decides to solve the who and whodunnit herself, taking her wayward puppy Jake along for the ride. And so begins a whirlwind tour of the village – from the dotty 90-year-old to the delightful doctor and the village gardener, it seems everyone has something to hide.

Soon, Julia is convinced she has discovered the killer’s identity, until Jake, a true Labrador, finds a new love of the local lake’s waterfowl and instead ends up catching her chief suspect… drowned. Back at square one, with potential culprits galore, Julia – newly nicknamed the Grim Reaper – despairs at ever solving the murders.

But as Julia ruffles feathers village-wide, the clock is ticking. There is someone in the village who has killed twice already. Will they be prepared to make it third time lucky to keep their secret safe?

This totally addictive page-turning cozy mystery is perfect for fans of M.C. Beaton, Faith Martin and Betty Rowlands.

What else could you possibly do, if you found a body in your backyard, but embark on a mission to catch the killer. In this story we join Julia and the true hero of the story, her puppy Jake, as they work to sniff out the killer!

The first in a new series, An English Garden Murder is a must read for fans of cozy mysteries. It is an engaging read, set in an idyllic Cotswold village with a cast of quirky residents. The mystery plays out well and there are plenty of suspects, twists and turns that have you compelled to keep flicking the pages long into the night.

I really loved Julia’s character, a retired social worker, she brings the story to life so well as she navigates her life as a new divorcee. I enjoyed the secondary characters and look forward to seeing who will return, but being a dog fanatic, little cheeky Jake the Labrador stole the show for me.

It wasn’t till I finished the book that I found out that Katie Gayle is in fact two authors being Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading their individual work, but as joint collaborators, they are perfectly in sync with each other.

An English Garden Murder is a well written, very entertaining and enjoyable start to this series and I look forward to reading more.

Thank you to Katie Gayle, Bookouture and NetGalley for allowing me to read an advance copy of An English Garden Murder, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

This review will be added to, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon Australia & Amazon US. I will also add to NetGalley, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play and Barnes & Noble if available. As I am from Australia, I am unable to add to Amazon UK, but will post to Waterstones & Foyles if also available.


Amazon AU
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Audible AU
Audible US
Audible UK
Audio Sample


Follow the tour for these blogger’s thoughts on An English Garden Murder. My thanks to Bookouture for my spot on this tour and for the promotional materials.


Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel.

Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre.

Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats.



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