The Cornwall crime novels by Janie Bolitho and how the location becomes part of the plot

Some authors make a point of setting their books in a particular country or locality and Cornwall seems to be a favourite. Janie Bolitho wrote seven crime novels set in the county of which I have read the first five. To help you identify them she has included the word “Cornwall” in all the titles, the first of which is Snapped in Cornwall.

If an author chooses to set their books in a specific place then they need to describe and use the location well in the novels. In these books the author does exactly that. There are real towns and villages mentioned and the author includes local landmarks in the stories. She takes advantage of the rugged coastline, cliffs and disused mining infrastructure in her plots and characters are employed in the local industries such as fishing.

The main character of these stories is Rose who is a widowed artist who also works as a photographer. Rose often becomes embroiled in murder mysteries involving the people that she knows and especially those involved in painting and selling pictures through galleries – this is now a prime industry in Cornwall. Because she paints landscapes she also spends a lot of time in various locations in the county which means that the author has an opportunity to include these in the novel. The plots themselves could be transferred to anywhere but they definitely work best in Cornwall.

These books sit firmly at the cosy end of crime with minimal gore and the emphasis on the puzzle rather than the crime itself. Rose frequently becomes involved in murders but mostly because she is curious and starts investigating. It is always difficult to explain why a character would be close to more than one murder in a lifetime (most of us won’t even be close to one) and I am not convinced that Cornwall is really such a hotbed of crime and murder as portrayed here that any individual would have the opportunity to be part of so many investigations. You just need to cast doubt aside and accept that the murders exist and that Rose has the opportunity to do her own investigations.

Rose is widowed with no children, although her elderly parents do appear in one book. She has a longstanding male friend who adores her but whose love is not reciprocated. She has a close woman friend and an on-off relationship with a local Detective Inspector. All of these recurring characters become involved in the stories too. I do think that she is rather unfeeling to the male characters who love her and that she seems to drink rather a lot but neither of these issues affects my enjoyment of the story.

These are easy to read crime novels with an interesting location. The author knows and obviously loves Cornwall. They are not the only stories set in the county but they are worth a read if you enjoy this type of book.