Crime Fiction Alphabet: Letter Y

Kerrie’s Crime Fiction Alphabet has reached the letter Y – an easier letter to illustrate than last week’s letter X. My choice this week is …

Murder by Yew by Suzanne Young. (The first book in the Edna Davies Mysteries series) I read this on Kindle.

Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

When her handyman dies of taxine poisoning, Edna Davies, amateur herbalist, becomes the prime suspect. Nearly certain that she hadn’t concocted a poisonous potion and desperate to save herself from arrest, Edna taps into strengths she never before realized she possessed. Shunned by the townsfolk, questioned by the police, and threatened by thieves, she follows the clues of a forty-year-old disappearance to capture a killer.

My View

Suzanne Young is an American author with a degree in English from Rhode Island University. She has worked as a writer, editor and computer programmer. She now writes fiction full time. For more information see her website

Murder by Yew is the first book by Suzanne Young that I have read. It’s an entertaining ‘cosy’ murder mystery, set in mainly in Rhode Island, a light and quick read. The story is told in the third person from Edna’s perspective. It’s clearly written, with well described locations. The dialogue is lively, apart from one section with reported dialogue which isn’t so convincing.

Edna and her husband, a retired doctor, have recently moved to Rhode Island and she is getting to know her neighbours. She employs Tom Greene to do jobs around the house and garden. The former owner of the house was a keen gardener and had left notebooks filled with comments on the plants in the garden, along with recipes for home-brews and potions and Edna is enjoying herself making some of them, such as chamomile tea with a touch of lemon balm. When Tom collapses and dies the police take samples of her tea mixes and suspect that he had been poisoned by the addition of yew to one of Edna’s tea blends.

Tom’s little grandson, Danny, who is deaf with a speech problem, holds the key to the mystery, but his mother won’t allow Edna to talk to him. Things go from bad to worse for Edna as people begin to shun her and then a storm hits Rhode Island. The cast of characters is well-drawn, with Edna as a most likeable amateur sleuth. She has to discover the motive for killing Tom – was it to do with his present day work,or did it lie further back in his past? Does the recent spate of robberies have a link to his murder and what is the significance of the presence of Edna’s housekeeper in a photo taken in Boston by Edna’s daughter? Edna proves most resourceful in sorting it all out and discovering the murderer’s identity. I had my suspicions about one character quite early on in the book – and I was right, so maybe it was just a bit predictable, which isn’t a bad thing!

Suzanne Young has written two more Edna Davies mysteriesMurder by Proxy and Murder by Mishap, both also available on Kindle and I’m looking forward to reading them.

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 348 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Mainly Murder Press; 1 edition (27 Nov 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003P8P8G0
  • Source: I bought it
  • My Rating 3.5/5