Sweet Venom

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 January, 2005, 12:00am

Sweet Venom

by Betty Rowlands

Nel $112

A classic example of why Betty Rowlands has been called 'the queen of the contemporary cosy'. It's set in a peaceful village of England's Cotswolds and peopled by ladies who arrange flowers, a benign vicar and Melissa Craig, a crime-writer newly married to her agent.

Bee-keeper Aidan Cresney is stung to death and his sister-in-law meets a similar fate a few days later. Cresney seemed to be a model citizen. A member of the parish council and a former barrister, he took up bee-keeping in retirement. He had boasted that bees would never attack an apiarist 'who knows what he's doing'.

Melissa discovers jealousy and spite beneath the village's warm exterior. The plot becomes even more menacing when she becomes a target of the bees.