What could be more pleaceful than living life as a vicar’s wife in the English countryside? That’s what newlywed Ellie Kent believes as she begins her life with her clergyman husband Graham. Unfortunately, she is no sooner ensconced in their cottage than an unknown man is found murdered in the graveyard near the vicarage. It’s bad enough that Ellie discovered the old man’s body, but bad turns to worse when the local constabulary begin to suspect her. After all, she is a foreigner and new to the area and she did discover the body. Then, to top off those seemingly innocuous reasons, it’s discovered that the deadman was wearing Italian underwear and Ellie was formerly married to an Italian man and had vacationed in Italy. When a local antiques dealer finds a book of Italian poetry in the surrounding woods and gives it to Ellie, she sees the book as a possible clue to the man’s identity and mayabe a means of discovering the true killer and removing herself from the top of the list of suspects. As Ellie begins to study the book, she becomes intrigued and mystified by its possible connections to the dead man. Was it his? And if so, who is the “Cara Mia” that he mentions in the inscription? Why is there no information about the author? The plot thickens and before Ellie is able to track down the killer and regain her reputation, other victims may fall.
When Ellie Kent moves to an English village with her new husband Graham, she fears the villagers will always see her as that young American who snared their attractive vicar during his sabbatical in California. But this challenge is nothing compared to what happens when she stumbles across a body in the churchyard. The villagers insist they don’t know the murdered man, so suspicion mounts that the killer must be the incomer – the vicar’s new wife. As evidence piles up against her, Ellie tries to stay one step ahead of the police to unravel a decades-old literary mystery and love story. Will others die before she can solve it? And what will be left of her new life and marriage, even if she succeeds?
Alice K. Boatwright’s book, Under an English Heaven, is her first Ellie Kent mystery. Boatwright is also the author of Collateral Damage, three novellas about the long-term impact of the Vietnam War, which won the 2013 Bronze Award for Literary Fiction from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. She formerly lived in the Cotswolds for several years, and now divides her time between the U.S. and Paris.