capable of murder
The old lady's decaying body lay at the foot of the stairs!

The police believe it was simply an accidental fall that killed great-aunt Jane.

But was it?

Young Australian, Belinda Lawrence is convinced it was murder and when she inherits her great-aunt's ancient cottage and garden on the outskirts of Bath, she finds herself deep in a taut mystery surrounding her legacy.

A secret room. Unknown intruders. A hidden ancient document. They all contribute to the mounting dread.

A second vicious murder by a ruthless killer intensifies the tension and Belinda, now under threat herself, is befriended by two charming men: her neighbour Jacob and real-estate agent Mark Sallinger. But can she trust them? And what interest has befuddled antique dealer Hazel Whitby in the cottage.

Can one of them be the killer?

An excellent example of a time-honoured English village murder mystery with a lively young heroine pitting her intellect against an evil killer both bent on solving the riddle of an ancient garden.
An inventive puzzle glazed with wit and the first of the Belinda Lawrence series.
Read A Review:

When Belinda Lawrence receives a letter from her great aunt in England asking her to visit, she leaves Australia with to see her last remaining relative. Her aunt hadn't been overly welcoming to her on a visit years earlier and Belinda was curious as to the reason for her aunt's request.

Arriving in Milford, outside of Bath, Belinda finds her aunt's house open and dark. Thinking that perhaps her aunt was ill in bed, Belinda walks to the stairway and stumbles, literally, over her aunt's body at the foot of the stairs.

Belinda finds that she is the sole heir of her aunt's estate and now has the decision of staying in England or selling the cottage and returning to Australia. She meets Mark, a real estate agent,  and Hazel, an antiques dealer. both of whom seem very interested in her aunt's home and possessions. Her next door neighbors, Rosemary and Jacob welcome her to the village and things seem propitious for staying. Jacob is a landscape gardener and it turns out that Belinda's new home may have one of the few small gardens created by a very famous landscape gardener, Lancelot Brown. 

The characters in this books are wonderfully defined. They all behave in a sinister manner at one time or another. The descriptions of the gardens and cottage are quite vivid. Historical information interspersed with the story is wonderful. I very much enjoyed learning about the gardens and their various incarnations.

Mary Fairchild

Capable of Murder is the first book in a new mystery series. Readers will meet Belinda Lawrence, who ends up inheriting a cottage and garden near Bath, England, when her Aunt Jane dies by falling down the stairs. Belinda then finds a hidden room and hears that her aunt was looking for a map. She begins to wonder if her aunt really fell down the stairs after all . . . or if she was pushed. Seems that Belinda’s garden might be worth enough to kill for. Belinda begins to investigate while meeting her neighbors Rosemary and Jacob and a somewhat pushy real estate agent named Mark. She also meets Hazel, an antique dealer. At the end of the book, Belinda and Hazel make a deal where they enter into a partnership.

This was a good mystery and a good introduction to some interesting characters. This was a quick read. I do wish that some of the supporting characters, namely Mark and Hazel, were developed more but I am hoping that they do so in later books. I will gladly continue this series.

Melissa Palmer

A solid tale of greed, obsession, and murder.

“Capable of Murder” is a must read!  Mr. Kavanagh has written a story I could not solve, something that has become a rarity for me.  Thank you. This tale is quite simple, really.  The setting is on the outskirts of Bath, England.  Belinda Lawrence is summoned, via a letter, by her reclusive great-aunt for a visit; however, ends up finding the aunt dead.  Being the only living relative, Belinda inherits her aunt’s ancient cottage and dilapidated gardens.  Belinda believes her aunt was murdered.  Why?  Because the letter summoning Belinda was mailed after her aunt’s supposed accident.  That, and everyone Belinda meets seems to know more than they are willing to tell.  Oh, and there’s that attempt on Belinda’s life as well.

Yes, “Capable of Murder” does seem a simple murder mystery, but it’s all in the telling and Mr. Kavanagh does a wonderful job at telling it.  He has painted a clear picture of the cottage and gardens.  The characters are engaging while being both straightforward and complex.  The killer’s motive for murder is not the normal quest for money or power, but something more down to earth.

“Capable of Murder” is the first in the Belinda Lawrence series and I hope this will prove to be a long series as she and Mr. Kavanagh have a permanent place on my library shelves.

Christine I Speakman, The Muse Reviews, 4 out of 4 roses

Now, here's a simple little who done it mystery, at least I thought so when I first picked up this little story. Now, here a little book with a little romance to add a bit of dash, a bit of sweet and of course a dead body to add a bit of chill, a bit of spice to my day spent in the joy of reading.

I soon found I was very much mistaken.

In fact I was fooled big time, I never saw it coming, I was unexpectedly surprised.

The formula part one, take one busy beautiful woman, Belinda then add a mysterious letter from long time no see Great Aunt Jane with a unexpected invitation to visit, a vacation if you please, and some important news that must be told, a secret, then mix real good.

The formula part two, Now add curiosity. Belinda Lawrence quickly schedules a leave from her successful but stressful job and decides a trip to Bath might be restful and informative, two benefits for the price of a train ticket.

Next expected event naturally finds Belinda's expected quiet travel plans unexpectantly interrupted by a bumbling but handsome fellow passenger, Jacob, who is also her coincidentally her new neighbor, but I get ahead of myself, sorry. :)

They meet/collide and we get the expected fireworks.

Last, in this mystery/romance formula we need a dead body, got to have a body . . . right:) Old Great Aunt Jane, is found very dead and now Belinda finds she is unexpectedly a very wealthy woman, with a very old house and a much desired piece of property and family murder to solve.

Simple . . . not :) I found this simple mystery very mysterious.

I was completed fooled, I never fingered the murderer or the mystery. In fact I not sure even after finishing this short book.

I think I will go back and see what I missed . . . the clues, I highly recommend you try to see if you can guess who done it.

I willing to bet if you read this book you will be unexpectedly surprised too.

Linda Nelson,, FOUR STARS

…a genius in designing gardens, gardens that he would never live to see in their maturity. He had an insight that allowed him to predict the way that his work would mature…His gardens express an ideal. The native English landscape.

A garden run amok in a small suburban village near the famous city of Bath , England waits for restoration!
Belinda Lawrence hasn't really known her great-Aunt all that well but is surprised to get an invitation to discuss something important. Belinda hardly expects to find something highly suspicious – indeed, an English village murder rivaling the best of Miss Marple tales. After the initial shock and brief mourning, it seems that one (or more) of three men could be the criminal.

And it seems that everyone Belinda meets has an interest in the 80,000 pounds and cottage her aunt has left as an inheritance – or is it only the garden? Just what is so intriguing about this particular garden and this singular spot well-known in literary and horticultural circles of the past?

This fast-paced plot is laced with unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader enthralled and guessing to the very last chapter! Descriptions of details fill in the gaps with more questions and answers, thus making the reader part of the enfolding mystery! Humor and “real” personalities will induce laughter and annoyance alike, along with appreciation of the bucolic character of this sleepy yet oh so busy country English town!
More will die before the discovery of the criminal and his or her twisted motive!

Hope Brian Kavanagh will write more sleuth mysteries in this classic mystery style and pace!

Viviane Crystal, Crystal Reviews