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Where Old Bones Lie (Mitchell & Markby 5): A Cotswold crime novel of love, lies and betrayal

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What do you do when you think your ex-lover has murdered his wife? That's the question Ursula Gretton, an archeologist working on the Saxon burial ground on Bamford Hill, puts to Meredith Mitchell in the hope that Meredith's friendship with Cotswold Chief Inspector Markby might cast some light on her dilemma. But Markby is dismissive of Ursula's suspicions concerning the d What do you do when you think your ex-lover has murdered his wife? That's the question Ursula Gretton, an archeologist working on the Saxon burial ground on Bamford Hill, puts to Meredith Mitchell in the hope that Meredith's friendship with Cotswold Chief Inspector Markby might cast some light on her dilemma. But Markby is dismissive of Ursula's suspicions concerning the disappearance of Dan Woollard's wife - until a body is found in the rubbish dump near the site Woollard and Ursula have been excavating. Woollard's team of archeologists aren't the only ones to disturb the peace of the windswept hill. Much to the fury of a taciturn pair of local landowners, a band of New Age travellers has set up camp on the hill, only to disappear the day the body's discovered. Markby is faced with a tangle of conflicting clues, suspects and possible witnesses - amongst the latter Meredith Mitchell - and when a second body is found it is clear the web is growing evern more complex, and destructive.


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What do you do when you think your ex-lover has murdered his wife? That's the question Ursula Gretton, an archeologist working on the Saxon burial ground on Bamford Hill, puts to Meredith Mitchell in the hope that Meredith's friendship with Cotswold Chief Inspector Markby might cast some light on her dilemma. But Markby is dismissive of Ursula's suspicions concerning the d What do you do when you think your ex-lover has murdered his wife? That's the question Ursula Gretton, an archeologist working on the Saxon burial ground on Bamford Hill, puts to Meredith Mitchell in the hope that Meredith's friendship with Cotswold Chief Inspector Markby might cast some light on her dilemma. But Markby is dismissive of Ursula's suspicions concerning the disappearance of Dan Woollard's wife - until a body is found in the rubbish dump near the site Woollard and Ursula have been excavating. Woollard's team of archeologists aren't the only ones to disturb the peace of the windswept hill. Much to the fury of a taciturn pair of local landowners, a band of New Age travellers has set up camp on the hill, only to disappear the day the body's discovered. Markby is faced with a tangle of conflicting clues, suspects and possible witnesses - amongst the latter Meredith Mitchell - and when a second body is found it is clear the web is growing evern more complex, and destructive.

30 review for Where Old Bones Lie (Mitchell & Markby 5): A Cotswold crime novel of love, lies and betrayal

  1. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

    It’s years since I’ve read an Ann Granger novel and yet again I wasn’t disappointed. Good quality writing, endearing and well portrayed characters and a traditional mystery plot line that keeps you entertained. I love Meredith Mitchell and Alan Markby and hope it isn’t as long before I read another in the series! All the stars!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa C

    As expected, I'm getting tired of the relationship between the characters, even while I'm enjoying the stories themselves. I have a particular dislike for stories that rely on "romantic tension" to bring readers or viewers back, as the tension is frequently trite and blown out of proportion. Either you appreciate someone the way that they are, or you don't. I really can't stand whining about how someone would be just perfect "if only." As expected, I'm getting tired of the relationship between the characters, even while I'm enjoying the stories themselves. I have a particular dislike for stories that rely on "romantic tension" to bring readers or viewers back, as the tension is frequently trite and blown out of proportion. Either you appreciate someone the way that they are, or you don't. I really can't stand whining about how someone would be just perfect "if only."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Wilson

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The oddest thing about this book is that so many murders were solved yet while we know who did one it seems he is forgotten at the end and a death goes unpunished--odd. The main death goes through a lot of twists and turns BUT in the end the person who seems the obvious choice is. Nicely done.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Damaskcat

    Ursula Gretton, archaeologist is concerned that her former lover just might have done away with his wife and she discusses her suspicions with her friend, Meredith Mitchell. Meredith, naturally, feels obliged to discuss those symptoms with her friend DCI Alan Markby. Markby is inclined to make light of them but gradually as the evidence mounts it seems someone is going to have to take notice. Meredith joins Ursula at the site of an archaeological dig to try and act as site security because a gro Ursula Gretton, archaeologist is concerned that her former lover just might have done away with his wife and she discusses her suspicions with her friend, Meredith Mitchell. Meredith, naturally, feels obliged to discuss those symptoms with her friend DCI Alan Markby. Markby is inclined to make light of them but gradually as the evidence mounts it seems someone is going to have to take notice. Meredith joins Ursula at the site of an archaeological dig to try and act as site security because a group of New Age Travellers has set up camp rather too close to the dig for comfort. As tempers flare between the opposing factions a body is discovered on the nearby council tip and a murder hunt is launched. The New Age Travellers have decamped and it seems on the face of it that they could be responsible but things aren't as simple as they seem and Meredith finds herself caught up once again in a police investigation. This is a well written mystery with an interesting archaeological background and some well drawn characters. I particularly liked Mr Finny - the unofficial guardian of the rubbish tip. It was interesting to see more of Ursula - who appeared briefly in an earlier book in the series. While this book and this series can be read as standalone novels I think it is better to read them in the order in which they were published as then the reader can watch the development of the relationship between the two main characters.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really liked the way Granger wrote this book, but the end kind of destroyed it for me. In all that she had written she completely forgot that Brian had killed the old Finny and that he should have been persecuted for this. But instead the murder was completely forgotten and Brian only moved the corpse of Natalie. This is a mistake that somehow really matters, because it feels like she didn't pay enough attention to her own story. On a positive note, I am happy Meredith and Alan finally moved th I really liked the way Granger wrote this book, but the end kind of destroyed it for me. In all that she had written she completely forgot that Brian had killed the old Finny and that he should have been persecuted for this. But instead the murder was completely forgotten and Brian only moved the corpse of Natalie. This is a mistake that somehow really matters, because it feels like she didn't pay enough attention to her own story. On a positive note, I am happy Meredith and Alan finally moved things further!

  6. 5 out of 5

    John Frankham

    Run-of-the-mill whodunnit, with stock characters all around. Writing mundane in the extreme, characters and relationships conventional and unconvincing. Plot OK. The GR blurb: 'Ingeniously plotted and full of vividly drawn characters, Where Old Bones Lie is Ann Granger's fifth crime novel featuring the exciting sleuthing team of Alan Markby and Meredith Mitchell. What do you do when you think your ex-lover murdered his wife? That's the question Ursula Gretton, an archaeologist working on an ancien Run-of-the-mill whodunnit, with stock characters all around. Writing mundane in the extreme, characters and relationships conventional and unconvincing. Plot OK. The GR blurb: 'Ingeniously plotted and full of vividly drawn characters, Where Old Bones Lie is Ann Granger's fifth crime novel featuring the exciting sleuthing team of Alan Markby and Meredith Mitchell. What do you do when you think your ex-lover murdered his wife? That's the question Ursula Gretton, an archaeologist working on an ancient Saxon burial ground on Bamford Hill, puts to Meredith Mitchell in the hope that Meredith's friendship with Cotswold chief inspector Alan Markby might cast some light on her dilemma. To Meredith's irritation, Markby is dismissive of Ursula's suspicions concerning the disappearance of Dan Wollard's wife - that is, until a woman's body is found in the garbage dump near the site Wollard and Ursula have been excavating. The archaeologists aren't the only ones disturbing the peace of the remote windswept hill. Much to the fury of the local landowners, the taciturn and truculent Felstons, a band of New Age hippies has set up camp on the hill, only to disappear at dawn the day after the discovery of the body. Markby is faced with a tangle of conflicting clues, suspects and possible witnesses - including Meredith Mitchell herself. And when a second body is found it is clear the web is growing ever more complex - and destructive.'

  7. 4 out of 5

    Louvan

    I've not read any previous books in the series, but this didn't take anything away from my reading experience. I did find the book quite dull for the first half as I felt the situation at the start took a long time to develop. However I did become quite intrigued after that, and there were plenty of satisfying twists and turns at the end. One niggle regarding research, one of the main characters was a palaeontologist, so would not have been on an archaeological dig (in UK). I've not read any previous books in the series, but this didn't take anything away from my reading experience. I did find the book quite dull for the first half as I felt the situation at the start took a long time to develop. However I did become quite intrigued after that, and there were plenty of satisfying twists and turns at the end. One niggle regarding research, one of the main characters was a palaeontologist, so would not have been on an archaeological dig (in UK).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Martina Kovaříková

    I overall enjoyed the book, although I suspected the murderer early on for the first murder. However there were some surprising twists of events, which even made me surprised! I do have to say that Meredith seems slightly less annoying to me in this book, compared to some of the first book, where I found her to be very annoying. It is nice to see the progression in her character as well.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melisa Cochran

    If you like English mysteries, and you don't mind that these series eventually start repeating all the same elements (they aren't a couple because she needs her independence, there is some contrived reason that she's in the town where he's a chief inspector, etc...) then it was a good example of the genre and type. FYI, I like all those things ;) If you like English mysteries, and you don't mind that these series eventually start repeating all the same elements (they aren't a couple because she needs her independence, there is some contrived reason that she's in the town where he's a chief inspector, etc...) then it was a good example of the genre and type. FYI, I like all those things ;)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eugene

    A very enjoyable entry in this series. The plot was entertaining, even if one could kinda see the “who-dunnit” some time before the reveal, but the dialogues and action were fun to read. Especially liked the character of old Wilf Finny, overseer at the town dump - a real one of a kind from another era!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jane Tims

    Best of Meredith and Alan ... I've read all the books in the series, but I like this one the best. A great story and interesting characters. The landscape is like one of the characters ... the quarry and tip, the field with its archaeological excavation, the folly and rampart hiding their secrets. And progress in the relationship between the two main characters is welcome! Best of Meredith and Alan ... I've read all the books in the series, but I like this one the best. A great story and interesting characters. The landscape is like one of the characters ... the quarry and tip, the field with its archaeological excavation, the folly and rampart hiding their secrets. And progress in the relationship between the two main characters is welcome!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Started this series not in order but have found it easy to follow-this is an excellent series and I am interested in reading her other work out also. Above average English murder mystery genre. Intelligent and enjoyable

  13. 4 out of 5

    Juliane

    3.5 Stars

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    1.5 stars. I'm giving the extra half star only because I was able to read the entire book. Where was the editor? 1.5 stars. I'm giving the extra half star only because I was able to read the entire book. Where was the editor?

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Enjoyable light mystery... well written with engaging characters.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elijah Traven

    Excellent This book was good from start to finish. I would recommend it to all crime fiction readers. Everything is resolved at the end.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Windy

    Interesting episode in this series. Plenty of twists for a short book. Progress made in Mitchell and Markby'so relationship too. Interesting episode in this series. Plenty of twists for a short book. Progress made in Mitchell and Markby'so relationship too.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed it up to the point where the author forgot that there were two murderers and allowed one to have a suspended prison sentence. Were there no editors around to spot this howler?

  19. 4 out of 5

    kat

    this book is one of my favorites as of right now. the mystery keeps the pages turning!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    3 1/2 - Very Good

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ute C Hodgson

    Loved this one and just bought the next in the series

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kat Walter

    Entertaining, but slow. Interesting setting and characters. Markby is a bit pompous and Mitchell just muddles into things—both characters could be made more interesting.

  23. 4 out of 5

    scherzo♫

    too much drivel about one of the murders at the end

  24. 5 out of 5

    Simon Mcleish

    Originally published on my blog here in November 1999. An early Mitchell and Markby mystery, Where Old Bones Lie is set at an archaeological dig. It starts when Meredith Mitchell is rung up by an old friend. Ursula has just ended a disastrous affair with a colleague. Dan is still saying that he loves her, and now his wife has disappeared and Dan is obviously lying about her whereabouts, making Ursula worry that he has murdered her. The two of them work for a Trust which is funding a dig near Bamf Originally published on my blog here in November 1999. An early Mitchell and Markby mystery, Where Old Bones Lie is set at an archaeological dig. It starts when Meredith Mitchell is rung up by an old friend. Ursula has just ended a disastrous affair with a colleague. Dan is still saying that he loves her, and now his wife has disappeared and Dan is obviously lying about her whereabouts, making Ursula worry that he has murdered her. The two of them work for a Trust which is funding a dig near Bamford, where the stories of this series are set. They hope to find the grave of an early Saxon chieftain. As the dig has recently been surrounded by an encampment of New Age travellers, the Trust wants someone to sleep on site, and Meredith volunteers to keep Ursula company in a caravan there. Then the body of Dan's wife is found on a rubbish tip near the site. A dig is a good setting for a crime novel; they are often isolated camps on farmland, offering plenty of opportunity for tensions to rise in small groups of people. (Though it is apparently now the case that the majority of UK archaeology consists of 'rescue' digs, to discover as much about a site as possible before developers move in and destroy the evidence: hardly isolated.) The puzzle is good, the characters are good. The New Age travellers are the biggest problem. Granger tries not to stereotype them, but their very presence in the story is something of a stereotypical device, using common fears of the middle class reader - and I suspect that most crime fiction readers would consider themselves middle class - to distract them from the real solution to the crime. They include stereotypical figures, such as the upper class girl most concerned to keep her activities unknown to her family. I think we are still yet to see a sympathetic and accurate portrayal of these people in a novel.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    I did something here I don't normally do, and that is to start a British mystery series out of order. Not only is it out of order, it's #5 and I haven't even read #1. But I figure that's okay since I really don't care about the whole love/romance aspect between the two main characters, so if you think of it that way, you really haven't missed anything. You can read this as a stand alone if you take that tack. I'm not anti-romantic in real life; far from it. I just don't like it in mystery novels I did something here I don't normally do, and that is to start a British mystery series out of order. Not only is it out of order, it's #5 and I haven't even read #1. But I figure that's okay since I really don't care about the whole love/romance aspect between the two main characters, so if you think of it that way, you really haven't missed anything. You can read this as a stand alone if you take that tack. I'm not anti-romantic in real life; far from it. I just don't like it in mystery novels. Call me weird if you must -- I just like getting down to the mystery. Anyway, having said this, Where Old Bones Lie is set at an archaeological dig sponsored by a local trust that supports a small museum in Bamford. The dig leader is positive he's close to finding a Saxon warrior chief named Wulfric. One of the members of the excavation is one Ursula Gretton, a friend of Meredith Mitchell, who is one of the two key crime solvers in this novel. Ursula, it seems, calls Meredith because she has been trying to end an affair with a married man (Dan) who will not take no for an answer. On going to visit with him, Ursula notices Dan's wife purse on his sofa, although Dan has told her that his wife Natalie has disappeared. Ursula calls Meredith with fears that Dan may have offed his wife. This sets into motion a series of events that lead Meredith and Inspector Alan Markby down a path of lies, danger and murder, in a story that has a nice twist at the end. I liked it; the characters are a bit plastic but the basic story was okay. There are enough suspects to keep you guessing until the end. A fine little British murder mystery; I'd recommend to those who like that genre, and those who are interested in mysteries in an archaeological setting. Overall, not bad; I will definitely get back to the other novels in the series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    When bones are found at an archeological dig , tempers are frayed when the police step in.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christine Cody

    This tense entry in the Mitchell & Markby series revolves around obsession in many forms. Dan Woolard is obsessed with Dr. Ursula Gretton – even though she ended their ill-advised affair and despite her protestations to the contrary, he’s convinced that she loves him and that they belong together. Archeologist Ian Jackson is obsessed with uncovering the burial site of warrior Wulfric the Saxon. Despite all the problems that begin to occur, he’s single-minded about the dig and notices little else This tense entry in the Mitchell & Markby series revolves around obsession in many forms. Dan Woolard is obsessed with Dr. Ursula Gretton – even though she ended their ill-advised affair and despite her protestations to the contrary, he’s convinced that she loves him and that they belong together. Archeologist Ian Jackson is obsessed with uncovering the burial site of warrior Wulfric the Saxon. Despite all the problems that begin to occur, he’s single-minded about the dig and notices little else around him. Lionel Feston, the Scripture-obsessed old farmer on whose land the dig takes place, is obsessed with sin and the evil that women incite just by their presence (he points to Eve, the woman who started all the trouble). Brian, his single nephew and partner in the farm business, is obsessed with author Natalie Salter, his childhood girlfriend and now Dan’s wife, who has disappeared as the novel begins. As the paths of all these people cross, the danger and tension increase. In the midst of it all, Meredith and Alan continue the back and forth about their relationship. He wants them to live together. She’s convinced doing so would ruin their relationship permanently. To complicate matters, a group of travelers has arrived on the scene, causing new trouble for both the archeologists and the Feltons. Then, of course, someone finds a body...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    This book in the Mitchell and Markby series is quite early in the series. You can begin to see some of the threads that will carry throughout the series - of course, including the relationship between Mitchell and Markby. There are many interesting characters in this one and the victim does not show up as a victim until quite a bit into the book. There are red herrings, but the villain seems pretty clear pretty early on. Very lurid family background in here as well.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alannah Davis

    I haven't read the first 4 books in the series, but this stands alone nicely. This British mystery set at an archaeological dig, is nicely stocked with eccentric characters and neat twists. The romance between Meredith and Marksby is a bit blah, and it seems to be forgotten at the end that one of the characters had confessed to a crime -- but those are my only criticisms. This was a very satisfying read. I haven't read the first 4 books in the series, but this stands alone nicely. This British mystery set at an archaeological dig, is nicely stocked with eccentric characters and neat twists. The romance between Meredith and Marksby is a bit blah, and it seems to be forgotten at the end that one of the characters had confessed to a crime -- but those are my only criticisms. This was a very satisfying read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    This is without a doubt my favorite ann granger mystery. There are so many plot twists! Who killed Natalie, and why was she rolled up in a carpet and dumped in the dump? The story includes new age travelers, archaeologists searching for a Saxon king, adultery, old incest and new jealousies. It is a delight to read.

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