“You and your bats!” // Review of “A Murder of Crows” by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett

Title: A Murder of Crows (Nel Ward Mysteries #1)
Author: Sarah Yarwood-Lovett
Audio book narrator: Kristen Atherton
Genre: Mystery
Intended audience: Adult
Date Read: 05/05/2023 – 09/05/2023


I picked this book up because the blurb was giving me Midsomer Murders vibes and the audio version is read by one of my favourite audio book narrators. And I loved it!

The murder mystery is well laid out, with small clues peppered throughout the story for the reader to pick up on. I’m not the kind of person who can pick the ending of a mystery, but I was able to go “Hmm, that’s suspicious…” which added to the enjoyment.

I have to admit at the start that I was literally listening to the acknowledgements when I realised the play on words in the title: “Crows” is the surname of two of the murder victims. I’d spent the whole book trying to work out why that was the title when bats play a much bigger part. D’oh!

I also found myself invested in a love triangle for the first time in a long time… well, invested in one side of it. I really enjoyed some of the scenes between Nel and her colleague, Adam (later known as Rav). Their banter was fun and there were some cute, tender moments between them. In the last quarter or maybe third of the book, the miscommunication trope comes out in full force, which is a bit disappointing, but I’m hoping they will get themselves sorted out and have a grown-up conversation in book two.

It did strike me as odd that the other side of the love triangle is… the officer arresting Nel for murder?! Even if I accept that her initial attraction was when he just knocking on her door to ask a few questions, she forgave him far too easily after he arrested her on fairly flimsy evidence and brought up a past trauma in the interview to “rattle” her.

On that note, while I know that in these types of series, the police have to be a bit incompetent in order for the heroine to look good, these police just seemed… not very good at their jobs at times. It also seemed odd to me how casual the characters referenced each other: in scenes from DI James Clarke’s POV, I felt it would have made more sense for him to think of Nel as Doctor Ward, and in scenes from Nel’s perspective, it was jarring hearing her think about “James” and not DI Clarke.

Despite those quibbles, I found myself looking for more opportunities to listen to the book rather than read my physical one. I got home from work one evening and immediately cleaned the kitchen! The story was engaging and of course, Kristen Atherton’s excellent narration helped. I was listening to it through my library’s digital loans app, and it was the first time in a long time I didn’t need to extend a loan beyond the initial 14-day period.

There are already three books available in this series with three more announced. I’m hoping that I’m in for an enjoyable ride as I continue.

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