Francis Duncan – Duncan’s Mordecai Tremayne series might be considered a cozy, with its gentle but incisive-thinking retired-tobacconist amateur detective. However, the dark secrets that he gradually uncovers, even amongst the nicest of people in the nicest of English pastoral villages are anything but cozy. I have only read Motive for Murder so far, but I was impressed with Duncan’s work in that one novel. I particularly enjoyed how the quiet detective gradually peels away the pleasant camouflage of the dwellers of the village he visits, even, perhaps, the couple who are old friends. I also enjoyed the fact that the police inspector who is on official duty isn’t his nasty antagonist, but only plays their cooperation close to the vest so that he doesn’t look bad in front of his superiors or the villagers fearfully pressing for an arrest on the unexpected murder of a young woman, seemingly, beloved by all. Duncan also does a nifty job of verbally painting the pastoral greenery, comfy country cottages, antique country lanes, and extracurricular drama of local community theatre clubs – while deftly letting the personal darkness of the various citizens suddenly erupt to the surface. Here’s another writer with whom I’m looking forward broadening my acquaintance!