This is my very first mystery cozy I’m reading (among the millions of mystery cozies I’ve just discovered and want to read) this one caught my attention because I used to like the Beatrix Potter books when I was a kid (I myself had a copy of the Tale of Mrs Tiggy Winkle). Plus, it just looked like a fun read.
The Tale of Hill Top Farm is almost like two tales in one. The first one is among the humans. You follow Beatrix and other characters within this small little town in Sawrey. Beatrix had just bought and has decided to run a farm, in order to have some inspiration for her stories and drawings and to heal from the recent death of her fiance. Some meet her with a warm welcome, others disapprove of her actions and keep her at arms length. When Mrs Tolliver suddenly dies, under strange circumstances, the entire town is in an uproar. The other story is within the animals. There’s a small cast of animal characters; the town animals (consisting of cats, a dog, an owl, even a ferret) and Beatrix’ animals which are: a hedgehog, two rabbits, and a mouse. The town animals also attempt to solve the mystery in their own way.
This was a cute tale! I loved how they switched from the townsfolk and then to the animals. I really enjoyed how the animals got themselves “involved” in solving some of mysteries in the book. Mind you, the death of Mrs Tolliver was just one of the mysteries in this tale, there’s also a few other little mysteries within the big one that need to be solved and although not necessary it does add more substance to the book. The description and feel of rural village life is well done and beautifully written. I absolutely loved it and it really did feel as if you were there in the town with these people. Naturally, what isn’t a town without the endless drivel of gossip? you have your stereotypical characters: a gossip, a priest, the “liberated” woman who poses as a danger to society (OMG she rides a bike everybody! and wears pants!!), the pair of spinster sisters that live together, the list is endless.
The characters are very likable each in their own little way. I don’t think I have a particular favorite yet. Although I really do love the part where Beatrix defends someone, and comes out of her shell to say what’s on her mind. It shows Beatrix developing on her own without her parents following her every step with disapproval. I admire her independence and her steps to get away from her parents, and her new skill on how to say “no”. The animals are likeable as well I love Mrs Tiggy, she’s cute and lovable (especially when she curls up in a ball to sleep, with her little handkerchief covering her face) they each have their own personalities and again, I’d have to say, I don’t have a favorite, I like all of them.
The downside of this book; there’s no thrills or chills. When you get to the bottom of the mysterie(s) they’re not filled with that pack and punch as you find in regular ones. Although my favorite was the one in which the animals had solved one of the mysteries featured in this book. Since this is my first cozy one, I’m not sure if that’s the standard with these mysteries, is the finale always low key? so I wish there was a little more excitement in the end. It was all right though. I loved the description of village life enough that it kept me interested until the end. I admit there was a little bit of intrigue and mystery throughout the story but it wasn’t much and not what I quite expected. Again, I’ll let that pass considering it was my first cozy mystery.
Overall, a cute little tale of village life, their dramas and how the inhabitants of a little town deal with scandal, newcomers, and their mysteries. I definitely recommend this to fans of Beatrix Potter, and her tales. Definitely worth your time, especially to those cozy mystery fans out there.
I give it a 9 out of 10.