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Five great books set in THE COTSWOLDS

2nd May 2020

The Cotswolds is the latest place to visit in our ‘Great Books‘ series. Five great books set in The Cotswolds.

The Cotswolds covers a huge area – almost 800 square miles – and runs through five counties (Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and Worcestershire). One of the delights of visiting the Cotswolds is exploring the different areas, each with its own identity, yet all with those defining Cotswold features: golden stone and rolling hills, the ‘wolds’.

It has quintessentially English villages of honey-coloured stone; splendid, lively market towns; some of the country’s greatest palaces, castles and country houses; some of the most famous arboretas in Britain; breathtaking landscapes along historic trails; outstanding food. And books set firmly in this enchanting heart of England….here are just five for your reading pleasure.

The Secret of You by Victoria Connelly

Journalist Anna McCall has never understood people who collect things so, when she’s asked to interview local collector and eccentric, William Kitson, she isn’t exactly looking forward to the experience.

But she soon falls under the charm of Fox Hill Manor as well as its owner, even though she thinks there’s something very strange about the collection there. What exactly is William hiding in the unused wing of the manor house? And is it a story Anna could sell?

Set in the beautiful Cotswolds, The Secret of You is a novel about love, trust and antiques from the bestselling author of A Weekend with Mr Darcy and Wish You Were Here.

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Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M C Beaton

Revenge is a dish best served warm…

High-flying public relations supremo Agatha Raisin has decided to take early retirement. She’s off to make a new life in a picture-perfect Cotswold village. To make friends, she enters the local quiche-making competition – and to make quite sure of first prize she secretly pays a visit to a London deli. Alas, the competition judge succumbs after tasting her perfect quiche, and Agatha is revealed as a cheat and potential poisoner.

Definitely not the best start. So Agatha must turn amateur sleuth – she’s absolutely got to track down the real killer!

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All Cheeses Great and Small: A Life Less Blurry by Alex James

This is the story of Alex James’s transition from a leading light of the Britpop movement in the 1990s, to gentleman farmer, artisan cheese-maker and father of five.

All Cheeses Great and Small is the follow-up memoir to Alex James’s first book, Bit of a Blur, the story of his excessive pop star lifestyle during the nineties. But now Alex has grown up, fallen in love and got married. He has also fallen passionately for his new home, an enormous rambling farmhouse in the Cotswolds, set in two hundred acres of beautiful British countryside.

The farm represents not just a new house for Alex, but also a new career. As he breathes new life into the old farm he chances across an unexpected calling: making cheese. His cheeses, Blue Monday, Farleigh Wallop and Little Wallop have received widespread media interest and are now sold through many outlets.

The story culminates with an account of the triumphant reformation of Blur for Glastonbury 2009. It will also include illustrations by Graham Coxon.

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Rack, Ruin and Murder by Ann Granger

The discovery of a dead body shatters the tranquillity of a Cotswold village in Ann Granger’s second Campbell and Carter mystery.

When old Monty Bickerstaffe finds a dead body in his drawing room it comes as a nasty surprise – the first of many. Monty lives alone in a crumbling Cotswold manor house and the last thing he wants is the police sniffing around his property. Not that he has anything to hide…

The identity of the corpse and how and why it was left in Monty’s home remain a mystery. The locals swear they’ve seen nothing unusual and Monty’s relatives claim they’ve never set eyes on the stiff before. But Inspector Jess Campbell is convinced that someone’s lying and, with the help of Superintendent Ian Carter, she must dig deep into Monty’s family history to reveal the shocking truth…

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Votes for Women: Cheltenham and The Cotswolds by Sue Jones

In 1918, after years of campaigning, many British women over the age of 30 gained a parliamentary vote. Cheltenham was the hub of activity in the Cotswolds, and before the First World War it had a number of vigorous societies and individuals.

From being imprisoned for trying to approach the prime minister to refusing to be counted in the 1911 census, local women – and many men – from across the region fought a valiant and dignified campaign to make their voices heard. At a time when women had very little power inside or outside the home, this is the story of how they supported each other to demand a say in the affairs of the country.

Richly illustrated and featuring previously undiscovered material, this is the first book to investigate the women’s suffrage movement in the Cotswolds and to celebrate the many who supported the cause.

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Andrew for the TripFiction Team

Have you been to The Cotswolds? Do you have a favourite book set there? Have we missed an obvious choice? Please let us know in the comments below! Access the TripFiction database to find many more books set in the Cotswolds!

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