The Rev. Annabelle Dixon, vicar of the church in the village of Upton St. Mary, loves her Mini Cooper. When she’s not listening to the new and excellent organist practicing at the church, she likes nothing better than to tool around the countryside, visiting parishioners, and driving her little car.
Except today, the Mini Cooper dies on her. So, she goes tromping back up the road, takes a shortcut through farmers’ fields (dealing with a few obstinate cows along the way), and finally arrives at Mildred’s Garage. But Mildred and her employees Ted and Aziz are nowhere to be found. Until Annabelle finds a body in the service bay, under a car. It’s a very dead Mildred.
Annabelle unexpectedly finds Inspector Mike Nicholls in the pub across the street. He knows the reverend well; he also knows her penchant for getting involved in murder investigations. He’s also discovering that he’s attracted to Annabelle, and while she’s not ready to admit it, she’s attracted to him as well. It’s a potent combination of murder and romance.
The assistants, Ted and Aziz, remain missing. Forty-year-old Ted mains he life like clockwork – work, pub, home. But he’s a no-show at the pub, and he can’t be found. Teenager Aziz is normally a various serious young man, and his family wants to believe that he’s just off with friends, or something. There’s an ongoing mystery that may or may not be related to the murder – the men of the village keep disappearing at night, and they’re spending a lot less money at the pub.
Grave in the Garage by mystery writer Alison Golden is part of the ongoing Annabelle Dixon series. It falls squarely in the cozy mystery sub-genre. The books in the series also include a considerable element of light humor involving Annabelle, Nicholls, and Annabelle’s housekeeper Phillippa, a wannabe matchmaker.
Golden has three mystery and suspense series involving signature detectives. The Diana Hunter series is set in Vancouver; the series includes Hunted, Snatched, Stolen, Chopped, and Exposed. The Rev. Annabelle Dixon series is set in Cornwall. And the Inspector David Graham series is set on Jersey, one of the Channel Islands. The last two are officially “cozy mysteries,” which translates as minimal violence and any romantic interest will not involve graphic sex.
Grave in the Garage is an entertaining story, with a nice overlay of the developing relationship between Annabelle and the police inspector.