Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Book Review: Death of an Old Girl (Cozy Crime/Mystery)

Death of an Old Girl
Elizabeth Lemarchand

Series: Pollard & Toye #1
Publisher: Sapere Books 
Publication date: 20th September 2018
Pages: 283
Format Read: Ebook
Source: Courtesy of Publisher

How do you solve a village murder when everyone is under suspicion…?
1966, Rural England

Shockwaves are sent through the sleepy village of Trill when a woman’s body is discovered in a local school.

Beatrice Baynes – interfering, overbearing and spiteful – was not well liked. But no one expects a body to be found on their doorstep… And how did the annual festival at Meldon School turn from a light-hearted celebration to a gruesome crime scene?

With the local constabulary completely stumped, Scotland Yard’s  Detective
Chief Inspector Pollard and Detective Sergeant Toye are called in to investigate.

But the further Pollard & Toye delve into their inquiries, the more complicated the case becomes…


Death of an Old Girl is the first cozy mystery in the Pollard and Toye crime series; an intricate police procedural set in rural England. Originally published in 1967 it has been rereleased by Sapere Books.

The story is set during the Meldon Girls School’s annual festival and Old Girls reunion. A time of year when previous students (old girls) come together, reunite and catch up on the latest school developments.

After the weekend-long festivities are over and the school is about to be closed for the summer the body of an Old Girl is found hidden in the art room.
DCI pollard and DS Toye from Scotland Yard are called in to help with the investigation. Pollard clearly sees this as a chance to impress his superiors.

Death of an Old Girl is a slow paced and lengthy police procedural as Pollard and Toye piece together snippets of information from numerous interviews to develop an intricate time line.

There are a few good twists as Pollard digs deeper, murder isn’t the only crime being committed. He also uncovers one family’s long held secret and an eavesdropping busy body causes the perfect crime to come asunder.

I found Pollard’s sexist remarks a little grating but I suppose they were probably par for the course in the era the story was set.

The language of the characters came across as more 1930’s than the late 1960’s and it did take me a while to work out when the story was set. Also the old English slang was hard for me to understand so I was a bit lost there.

A classic cozy mystery from a master of the genre! Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, M C Beaton, Sophie Hannah and Faith Martin.

My rating 7/10


*This review is: Letter 'D' in the AtoZ challenge 


Elizabeth Lemarchand was born in 1906. She became a teacher at The Godophin School in Salisbury. Her first book Death of an Old Girl was published in 1967. Elizabeth passed away in 2000 at the age of 93.

Coming soon

Elizabeth wrote 17 books throughout her life in the acclaimed Pollard and Toye detective series. Sapere Books is delighted to be reissuing the series beginning in 2018.




  1. I love a good mystery, especially in the winter. Great review!


    1. Winter is a great time to snuggle and read a good cozy mystery.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Emma. Sapere republish a lot of good mystery books.

  3. I love a good cozy mystery and I've never heard of these books before. I enjoyed reading your honest review!