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Melissa Craig Books In Order

Publication Order of Melissa Craig Books

Murder at Hawthorn Cottage (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder in the Morning (1991) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder on the Clifftops (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder at the Manor Hotel (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder on a Winter Afternoon (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder in the Orchard (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder at Larkfield Barn (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder in Langley Woods (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder at Benbury Brook (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder at the Old House (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder in the Dining Room (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder in a Country Garden (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

The Melissa Craig novel series is a popular series of crime fiction, cozy mystery, detective fiction, and suspense stories. It is written by a well known British novelist named Betty Rowlands. The series consists of a total of 12 books published between 1990 and 2004. Each and every novel in this cozy mystery series features the lead protagonist in the role of Melissa Craig. She is described as an author of crime novels in her forties living in Cotswolds, England, United Kingdom. In the course of writing her novels, Melissa visits various places for research. Sometimes, she takes references from real-life criminal cases that she reads about in the newspaper or watches on TV. While doing so, Melissa often gets involved in murder mysteries. She uses her deductive abilities to get to the bottom of the mysteries and solves them before time runs out.

Very often, Melissa Craig’s expertise in writing crime stories helps her deduce the ways in which criminals think. Subsequently, she follows her instincts and assists the police authorities in catching the criminals. Melissa’s place of residence is in the town of Upper Branbury. The characters that keep recurring in the Melissa Craig stories include Simon Craig, Irish Ash, DCI Ken Harris, Joe Martin, etc. Iris Ash is the eccentric neighbor of Melissa and an artist by profession. Simon is Melissa’s son, while Ken Harris is a Detective Chief Inspector. In addition to these characters, Betty Rowlands has mentioned a few others that help to carry the series forward. They include Gloria, Leonora Jewell, Aidan Cresney, Babs Carter, Sylvia, Bruce Ingram, Graham Shipley, Angelica Caroli, etc.

The critics and readers all over the world have liked the Melissa Craig books. They have given very good reviews about the books and characters on a number of literary platforms. Several critics have compared the character of Melissa Craig with Miss Marple. They see her as a modernized and younger version of Marple. All the books of this series are widely popular. They have successfully reached out to a large number of readers across the globe. This series offers interesting setups, mind-blowing characters, excellent mystery stories, and a unique writing style that keeps the readers interested till the last page of every book. All these factors led to the immense success of each novel and the series as a whole.

A very successful book of the Melissa Craig series penned by Betty Rowlands is entitled ‘Exhaustive Enquiries’. It was released by Berkeley in 1995. The book is also released under the title ‘Murder at the Manor Hotel’. This novel opens by showing that Melissa Craig decides to take some time off from writing mystery stories and looks forward to developing a play based on a murder mystery for an upcoming drama group. This decision of Melissa surprises her literary agent very much because she had never taken a break from writing in the past. As for the murder play, Melissa thinks of writing it in the form of a humorous story that would entertain the audience with its suspenseful elements and also make them laugh out loud. But, before she could complete the script, Melissa learns that a member of the cast of the play is found dead in the Manor Hotel, where it was decided to produce the play. It appears that the victim died from a fatal accident.

Knowing that Melissa Craig is an expert at working out the mysteries in her books, the hotel’s manager persuades her to investigate. But, Melissa doesn’t find anything. She doesn’t discover any clues or sees anyone suspicious of murder. The entire hotel and all the people associated with the play are filled with lots of tension because of the tragic incident. As Melissa Craig continues to investigate, she happens to get her hands on an important finding in the parking lot of the hotel. After that, everything starts falling into place. It turns out that the victim was really murdered and the crime was filled with murky deeds and involved criminals at the international level.

Another excellent book written by Rowlands in the series is known as ‘Malice Poetic’. The Berkley publication released it in 1996. This novel is also known by the title ‘Murder on a Winter Afternoon’. Its plot takes place during a snowy winter in the Upper Banbury town of Cotswold Hills. The primary characters that feature in the book’s mystery include Mr. Haughn, Leonora Jewell, Melissa Craig, DCI Ken Harris, Irish Ash, and Joe Martin. Initially, it is depicted that Melissa Craig isolates herself from the outer world and spends all her time inside her Hawthorn Cottage. Occasionally, she comes out to go on walks with Iris Ash. Melissa finishes all her literary projects and sends them to her literary agent Joe Martin. Thus, she is relieved of all the load and looks forward to spending a relaxing vacation during the upcoming Christmas holidays. To her surprise, Melissa receives a call from Joe Martin asking her to do an urgent assignment for the publisher.

Melissa is asked to complete the last chapters of Leonora Jewell’s 100th book, which she was writing before she was murdered recently. She is taken aback by the shocking news of the elderly Leonora’s murder in her cottage located not too far from her. The initial investigation suggested the Leonora resisted a burglary at her cottage and the subsequent struggle with the burglar resulted in her murder. On many requests from Joe, Melissa agrees to take look at Leonora’s manuscript and visit her cottage to go through her research and notes. Ken Harris, DCI at Gloucestershire CID and Melissa’s current boyfriend is not happy to know that Melissa has decided to start writing again. This would mean she will get held up for long hours in her house and they would not get much time to spend together. While working on the assignment, Melissa accidentally unravels the murder mystery and an international ring of art theft. She works with Ken Harris to reveal the identities of the real culprit and also helps in catching them. The novel was highly appreciated for its original story and rich content. It entertained the readers much more than their expectation and set up the stage for the books that followed later in the series.

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