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Betty Rowlands was a British author that wrote cozy mystery novels. Born in 1923 in Hertfordshire (specifically Letchworth Garden City), she worked at the General Post Office Engineering Department during WW2.
Order of Melissa Craig Series
|1||Murder at Hawthorn Cottage / A Little Gentle Sleuthing||1990||Description / Buy|
|2||Murder in the Morning / Finishing Touch||1992||Description / Buy|
|3||Murder on the Clifftops / Over The Edge||1993||Description / Buy|
|4||Murder at the Manor Hotel / Exhaustive Enquiries||1994||Description / Buy|
|5||Murder on a Winter Afternoon / Malice Poetic||1995||Description / Buy|
|6||Murder in the Orchard / Deadly Legacy||1995||Description / Buy|
|7||Murder at Larkfield Barn / Smiling At Death||1995||Description / Buy|
|8||Murder in Langley Woods / The Cherry Pickers||1998||Description / Buy|
|9||Murder at Benbury Brook / The Man at the Window||2000||Description / Buy|
|10||Murder at the Old House / The Fourth Suspect||2001||Description / Buy|
|11||Murder in the Dining Room / No Laughing Matter||2003||Description / Buy|
|12||Murder in a Country Garden / Sweet Venom||2004||Description / Buy|
Order of Sukey Reynolds Series
|1||An Inconsiderate Death / Death at Hazel House||1997||Description / Buy|
|2||Death at Dearley Manor||1998||Description / Buy|
|3||Copycat / Death at Beacon Cottage||1999||Description / Buy|
|4||Touch Me Not / Death at Burwell Farm||2001||Description / Buy|
|5||Dirty Work / Death at Ivy House||2003||Description / Buy|
|6||Deadly Obsession / Death on a Summer Morning||2005||Description / Buy|
|7||Party to Murder / Death under the Apple Tree||2006||Description / Buy|
|8||Alpha, Beta, Gamma... Dead / Death at the Mariners Hotel||2007||Description / Buy|
|9||Smokescreen / Death at the Library||2008||Description / Buy|
|10||A Fool There Was / Death on Clevedon Beach||2009||Description / Buy|
|11||Miss Minchin Dies / Death in the Village||2011||Description / Buy|
|12||Unnatural Wastage / Death at Sycamore House||2012||Description / Buy|
|13||The Scent of Death / Death at Sandy Bay||2014||Description / Buy|
Order of Betty Rowlands Standalone Novels
|1||Hive of Bees||1996||Description / Buy|
Rowlands met Bert Jenner during this period. Bert was her first husband. Their union produced three children but it did not last, running from 1942 to 1957. She eventually married Len Rowlands in 1966.
Fans of the author’s Melissa Craig series might be surprised to learn that she was living in the Cotswolds when she decided to write seriously. Her location matters because Melissa also lived in the Cotswolds.
According to Rowlands, the character was fully formed when she first wormed her way into the author’s imagination. From the moment she became aware of Melissa, the author knew who she was, where she came from, and what she was fighting against.
Rowlands could also see her protagonist’s son and eccentric neighbors. Melissa fascinated her because they had so much in common. Though, she admitted that she never faced the kinds of scary situations that followed Melissa.
The character was first introduced to the world in ‘A Little Gentle Sleuthing’, the author’s first novel. Before she wrote it, Rowlands taught English as a second language to adults.
At the time, she was writing short stories many of which were read out loud on the BBC. Rowlands started writing late in life. She was in her late 60s when ‘A Little Gentle Sleuthing’ came out in 1990.
But she did not permit her age to slow her down. The author was 96 when she passed away in 2020. Rowlands’ death was peaceful. She left two children and various grandchildren and great-grandchildren, not to mention the many readers that adored her.
She had written 25 books. Hodder and Stoughton took her on in the beginning. She was also published by Severn House. Eventually, entities like Murder Room (Orion Imprint) and Bookouture stepped in to give her books a new life in the digital landscape.
As an elderly writer, Rowlands loved the emails she received from her fans. It brought her immeasurable joy to learn that readers from all over the world loved and appreciated the stories she wrote.
Best Betty Rowlands Books
Even though the author wrote cozy mysteries, she was not afraid to add sex and profanity to her stories. Rowlands’ best books include:
Murder at Hawthorn Cottage: Melissa Craig wanted a change of scenery. A crime writer in her mid-40s with a grown son, she left London for the peace and quiet of the Cotswolds. She had a book to write and she had to get away from the noise, not to mention her agent and the married man that loved her.
But life in her new community wasn’t quite as uneventful as she expected. Melissa’s adventures began when a young journalist tried to prove to her that their village had just recorded a real crime.
Melissa couldn’t help herself. She had to investigate the corpse that had been discovered in the woodlands. The crime writer had to find the truth if only to satisfy her curiosity. Little did she know that the truth was far more disturbing than anything she could have written in her stories.
Murder in the Morning: Melissa Craig did not expect trouble to follow her to her new teaching job. But now that Angelica, her colleague, was dead, she couldn’t turn a blind eye to the murder mystery.
Though, the fact that she was romantically involved with one of the chief suspects complicated matters. Fortunately, Melissa had other suspects to investigate, including the fiancé Angelica had spurned.
Of all the clues that had been discovered thus far, the portrait was the most interesting. Someone had vandalized it. They had gone so far as to slash it at the neck, an element that wouldn’t have mattered if Angelica hadn’t died in the exact same way.
Melissa was finally making progress. She was convinced that she had successfully narrowed her suspects down to a single candidate. But then a second body came to light. Now, Melissa knows that the killings are far from over.
More innocent people are going to die before the murderer is stopped. Melissa must uncover the truth before it’s too late.
When Does The Next Betty Rowlands book come out?
Betty Rowlands doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is The Scent of Death / Death at Sandy Bay and was released on August, 1st 2014. It is the newest book in the Sukey Reynolds Series.