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Betty Rowlands Books In Order

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Publication Order of Melissa Craig Books

Murder at Hawthorn Cottage / A Little Gentle Sleuthing (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder in the Morning / Finishing Touch (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder on the Clifftops / Over The Edge (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder at the Manor Hotel / Exhaustive Enquiries (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder on a Winter Afternoon / Malice Poetic (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder in the Orchard / Deadly Legacy (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder at Larkfield Barn / Smiling At Death (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder in Langley Woods / The Cherry Pickers (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder at Benbury Brook / The Man at the Window (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder at the Old House / The Fourth Suspect (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder in the Dining Room / No Laughing Matter (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder in a Country Garden / Sweet Venom (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Sukey Reynolds Books

An Inconsiderate Death / Death at Hazel House (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death at Dearley Manor (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Copycat / Death at Beacon Cottage (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Touch Me Not / Death at Burwell Farm (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dirty Work / Death at Ivy House (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Deadly Obsession / Death on a Summer Morning (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Party to Murder / Death under the Apple Tree (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Alpha, Beta, Gamma... Dead / Death at the Mariners Hotel (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Smokescreen / Death at the Library (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Fool There Was / Death on Clevedon Beach (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Miss Minchin Dies / Death in the Village (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Unnatural Wastage / Death at Sycamore House (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Scent of Death / Death at Sandy Bay (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Betty Rowlands is a renowned British writer of mystery, crime fiction, thriller, cozy mystery, and romance novels. She is well known for writing the very successful Melissa Craig book series and the Sukey Reynolds book series, and for creating the chief protagonists Sukey Reynolds and Melissa Craig. Both these characters and their respective series are the highlights of Rowlands’ career. They have helped her become very popular in The United Kingdom and the rest of the world. Author Rowlands was born on October 6, 1923, in Bristol, England. She entered the world of writing crime fiction stories after winning the Veuve Clicquot/Sunday Express crime short story competition. After this, she immediately began the Melissa Craig stories and rose to fame. She continues to write mystery stories even today and enjoys her time being a noteworthy author. Rowlands is an active member of the CWA and regularly indulges in giving talks, reading books at gatherings, and serving on panels of the conventions of crime writing.

Rowlands claims that she has had a compulsion for writing for as long as she can remember. There are numerous short stories, prose and poetry, and other manuscripts that Rowlands wrote in her early days and didn’t submit them for publication. She kept them stuffed in her drawers and later discarded. Rowlands followed her interest further by keeping a diary to record the interesting moments of her life. However, she used to get busy in the daily chores of her life and couldn’t find time to write. It was only after her children grew up that Rowlands decided to pursue further education and began teaching English to non-English business executives. While working on several case studies in order to develop teaching materials, Rowlands ended up writing and publishing ‘Management English’. This ignited the creative spark in her and enabled her to start writing short stories. And shortly after, Rowlands switched over to full-length crime novels and there was no looking back after that.

Rowlands has described Melissa Craig as a crime novelist living in the Cotswolds, England, and Sukey Reynolds as a crime scene investigator and a police photographer, also living in England. The two are shown working with determined partners to carry out criminal investigations and solve the mysteries. The character of Melissa Craig is very much inspired by the life of author Rowlands. For more than 30 years, Rowlands has lived in the Cotswolds and Melissa also lives in the Upper Banbury town of the Cotswolds. The author has said that when she sat down to write the first book, Melissa’s character just walked into her head with her complete past history, her strengths & weaknesses, her problems, her son named Simon, agent Joe Martin, and an eccentric neighbor named Iris Ash. A recurring character in the Melissa Craig novels, DCI Ken Harris, was brought to the scene later.

Several critics have labeled Melissa as a modernized version of Miss Marple. After the tremendous success of the Melissa novels, author Rowlands felt that she must create a character who would have more involvement in the crimes. Therefore, she came up with the character of Sukey Reynolds. Sukey is described as a 30-year-old divorced woman having a teenage son. Prior to her marriage, she was a police officer. Later, she joined the Scenes of Crime department and limited herself to collecting pieces of evidence from crime scenes. Sukey’s attempts to search for criminals bring her close to danger very often. DI Jim Castle, who is Sukey’s lover, always disapproves of the steps taken by her to approach the criminals. Although the last book published by Rowlands was in 2014, her fans are hopeful that she will come up with a few more books to entertain them before calling it quits.

The Melissa Craig series written by author Betty Rowlands is comprised of 13 books in total released between 1990 and 2003. Every book of this series features Melissa Craig as the central character, while the other essential characters include Gloria, Simon, Iris Ash, Leonora Jewell, Sylvia, Aidan Cresney, Joe Martin, Babs Carter, Ken Harris, etc. The debut book of the series is entitled ‘A Little Gentle Sleuthing’. It was released by Hodder & Stoughton in 1990. The story opens by showing that Melissa Craig makes her living from writing crime novels with the help of her imagination. She moves out of London and settles in Cotswold to get rid of distractions in the form of her dominating agent and an over-protective lover.

In the Cotswolds, Melissa has no one to disturb her except an artistic and eccentric neighbor Irish Ash, a romantic domestic helper named Gloria, and a Church cleric. Melissa Craig looks forward to producing crime fiction bestsellers in an undisturbed and peaceful surrounding. However, several strange phone calls force her to get involved in the sleuthing of a real crime. An enthusiastic journalist named Bruce Ingram informs Melissa that the woman she was told to meet by the caller, Babs Carter, has been missing for the past one year. With Bruce’s assistance, Melissa investigates about Babs Carter with the intention of using this story as the basis of her next novel. Melissa and Bruce go on to discover the dead body of Babs Carter from the nearby woods. With furthermore sleuthing, she uncovers the truth about Carter’s disappearance and murder and realizes that the world is filled with much more horrifying crime than what she depicts in her fiction.

Another mind-blowing book featuring Melissa Craig is called ‘Over the Edge’. It was published in 1994 by Berkeley. This novel opens by depicting that after finding success for her novels and helping solve several real crimes, Melissa and Iris visit France. Iris looks forward to teaching an art program in the Cevennes, while Melissa hopes to carry out some research about Camisards’ history for her next book. However, her attention is diverted to two gruesome deaths below a cliff. It looks like the first death was the result of an accident, but something doesn’t seem right to Melissa. For the second victim, suicide, murder, and accident all look like a possibility. Melissa is approached by a local officer, who intends to use her expertise to solve the mysteries. Melissa works with the French police and also on her own to look for traces of evidence. She doesn’t rule out the possibility of murder as there are many suspects who could have a motive for murder. Like always, Melissa’s expertise is put to the test and the events threaten her over the edge. She is determined to not give up until she has unraveled the mystery and found the truth.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Betty Rowlands

2 Responses to “Betty Rowlands”

  1. Nan Berger: 2 years ago

    Great website. Lots of interesting facts / details about the authors.

    • Graeme: 2 years ago

      Thanks Nan 🙂


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