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A Cotswold Ordeal (Thea Osborne #2)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  386 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Thea Osborne embarks on her second house-sitting commission with very few worries. The Phillipses are obviously a laid back family, and there is little to do but tend an ailing old pony and feed various furry pets and farmyard birds. But it seems she is jinxed. An apparent suicide takes place in one of the barns. Set in the most southern part of the Cotswolds, known for it ...more
Paperback, 318 pages
Published 2006 by Allison & Busby Limited (first published 2005)
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Clare O'Beara
Jan 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: british-crime
I had picked up a few of these books and have read them in no particular order, but this'll be the last.

Our dim house-sitting lady Thea is a year widowed in this, her second case. In the first book she was cutting herself to make sure she remembered she'd had a loss. This didn't endear the woman to me. She seems to have stopped this aberrant behaviour, or just decided that after a year she will allow herself to move on with life.

I thought the book had prospects, as one of the details is the re
Pam Baddeley
Aug 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-fiction
Second in the 'cosy crime' series about Thea, a widowed housesitter who looks after properties and animals while people are on holiday. True to form, she hasn't been in the property for a day before a dead body turns up, this time hanging in the pony's stable. Strung up, it initially appears to have been suicide, but is soon identified as murder by the police. It then transpires that there are a lot of hidden agendas among the locals, involving eco activitism, and opposition to any plan to resto ...more
Michael Harling
This wasn't the death-race, heart pounding sort of police thriller I usually read; it was more of a quiet who-don-it puzzle, and a good one, at that. I would like to point out that the actual who-did-it seemed, to me, to come out of left field, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention.

This series is set in the Cotswolds and involves a professional house-sitter named Thea who has the bad luck to stumble upon a dead body at every house she turns up at. (Hey, it could happen--look at the mayhem tha
Alison C
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A Cotswold Ordeal is the second in Rebecca Tope's series, each book set in a different village in the gorgeous landscape of England's Cotswold hills. This time, our house-sitting heroine Thea is hired to mind the house, ailing pony, frightening geese, and other animals of a family that has gone off to Ireland for a two-week vacation. Soon after her arrival, Thea discovers a body hanging in the stables; naturally, she calls in the police, including Detective Superintendent Hollis. She initially d ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spent all of today reading it while it rained outside, not a better way to spend the day!! Well written mystery that will keep you guessing.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy
This is the second in the Thea Osborne series, and a great improvement over the first. In this book Thea is no longer a loner but is saddled with the care of her sister, whose marriage is in a precarious state. Thea is also housesitting, again, and becomes embroiled in another police investigation due to -- surprise! -- a freshly dead body discovered in one of the outbuildings of the property she is looking after. Along the way we meet a host of village denizens, trek the local walking paths, vi ...more
Lauren Roberts
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this second book focused on Thea Osborne more than the first. I started reading this book with number seven in the series (which I really enjoyed) so know these books do get better. I also really like the fact the author sets these stories in towns and villages in the Cotswolds so you can imagine the setting of the story a lot more vividly.

This story is focused around a canal and some locals attempts to bring it back into use. Thea is house sitting a local house and one morning wakes
Cat Parker
This is the second book in this series, but the first I've read. Thea is a house-sitter based in the Cotswolds, who seems to be having a string of bad luck with murders afoot! There are recurring characters and she goes nowhere without her companion doggy friend, Hepzie. It was an easy read with a fairly simple plot line. I didn't love the characters, perhaps if I read more they may begin to grow on me. All in all, I've read better 'cosy crime'.
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Thea is house sitting for a couple of weeks and gets drawn into a mystery not long after she arrives on the scene. The first book that I read with Thea as the heroine, she had her daughter Jess helping her ... in this one, it's her sister Jocelyn. I think I agree that it all works better if she has someone and I'll know for sure when I get into more of this series. Very entertaining.
Susan Springer
A classic English village mystery set in the Cotswolds. Thea Osborne takes on another house-sitting
position only to find a body hanging in the barn. The English countryside is far more appealing than
the rather cold Thea, although her budding relationship with Superintendent Hollis seems hopeful.
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once I discovered the Thea Osbourne mysteries I got my hands on every book I could find reading them in totally random order.

This one is number 2 in the series. As the murderer became outed all the sub-plots came together very neatly. It was a clever murder and ending.

I now have another Rebecca Tope book in my "to read" pile and am looking forward to it.

ok, again confusing because of the range of characters, but at least some development of the characters from the first novel.
Cathy Cole
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
First Line: It was difficult to avoid the conclusion that Hepzibah did not initially like it at Juniper Court.

Hepzibah the cocker spaniel is accompanying Thea Osborne on her second housesitting assignment in the beautiful area of the Cotswolds in England. Although the dog isn't enthused with the geese that quickly come to threaten them in the yard, Thea is looking forward to staying at Juniper Court.

The Phillips family seems very laid back and casual, and if Mrs. Phillips seems a bit rushed, mos
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy-mystery
A Cotswold Ordeal is the second in the Cotswold Mysteries by Rebecca Tope. Thea is at her second housesitting assignment when she discovers a young man hanging from the rafters of one of the barns. A suicide? In the meantime, her sister stays with her at the house called Juniper Court while spending some needed time away from her abusive husband. The two sisters cannot seem to help becoming involved in the story of this Cotswold village while Thea also seems to become more involved with DI Phil ...more
Gloria Mccracken
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second or third book I've read in this series. I've enjoyed all of them. The protagonist is a house sitter, widowed about a year ago in this book, who accepts jobs in the Cotswolds. The advantage to this premise is that the author avoids the phenomenon where one tiny town in New Hampshire (yes, I'm talking about you, Jessica Fletcher) has an unbelievably high murder rate. The disadvantage is that repeating characters are limited, although there are several family members who crop up ...more
Oct 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this second installemnt much more than the first one. I thought Thea was a much more engaging character this time, and it was nice meeting her sister Jocelyn too. Poor Thea and her faithful dog Hepzibah do have rather a tough time of it in this mystery as they get themselves involved in the crime that seems to have taken place at the property that Thea's looking after. There are plenty of suspicious characters to mull over, and some nice facts about canals - which Thea loves (as do I) ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable mystery, the second (though I have not read the first) in a mystery series which we picked up in London two years ago. Brought it with me to leave with Joe's mom when done. I liked the main character, Thea, and found her to be agreeable. I was very upset at the death of the cat (in the first few pages) and surprised at the roiling machinations beneath the tranquil Cotswald village surface. I would read her again, if I found another copy around. Had to switch my brain to British idio ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
This second book in the enjoyable series was a marked improvement to me. We now know a bit about the Sleuth and her feelings but it adds another personal dimension to her by introducing a Sister with real- life problems.

The fact that a murder occurs on the property that the sleuth is house-sitting for and then saddled with the Sister adds more drama.

The book also informs and describes the famous canal system that goes throughout the U.K. It definitely adds to the mystery in many ways.

I look fo
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book is like having a nice chocolate, laying beside a roaring fire on a fluffy blanket while a winter storm rages outside.
This is book 2 in the Cotswold series by Rebecca Tope. I absolutely love this series and to me its the best you can get in Brit mysteries. These are a must read.
Its a five stars, unputdownable, fantastic, engaging read.
Now on to book 3 when it arrives from the UK in a few days.
Do yourself a favor, if you love mysteries, this is a, "YOUVE GOT TO READ THIS" series
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thea loves the idea of housesitting---after doing a few minor chores like feeding the pony and collecting the mail, she is free to relax and enjoy someone else's comfortable home. But for the second time in a row, she is confronted by death, this time in the form of a body hanging in the barn. The 'silver lining' to her misadventure is the presence of the handsome inspector whose interest in Thea appears to go beyond official police business.
I'm always pleased to be introduced to a new writer of English Mysteries so I was happy to be given this book by Rebecca Tope. Thea is a single woman who offers herself as a housesitter but she has a nasty habit of getting involved in murder in the house she is looking after. This is a pleasant light read and I will be looking for more in this series.
Jenny Stratton
When I started reading this I was interested in the details of the Thames and Severn Canal that were part of Thea's exploration. They went to Daneway, a flight of locks and Sapperton Tunnel. The person who passed the book to me had no idea it would tick this box of my interest in canal restoration. So it was a pleasant read but I can't say that the detective story was that exciting.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a good mystery...and I like the way Tope writes...a relaxing pace. Can't help but love the setting, the Cotswolds. The continuing interest between Thea and Detective Superintendent Hollis is just enough without being too mushy. And I really like the introduction of Jocelyn, Thea's sister. A nice side character. Fast, easy to read.
The second book in a very enjoyable series. Having visited the Cotswolds, the descriptions of this beautiful area thrills the heart. Thea, who only wants a quiet time house-sitting in the country, can't avoid adventure. Along with her sister, they fall right into undercurrents of the workings of a rural community. Looking forward to reading more in this series.
Jan 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Much better than the first in this series, so glad I continued with this series. I saw something deep in the first book so was hoping for improvement and book two is a much easier read. Will seek out book three now.

Kirsty Darbyshire

Whenever I tell Amazon I like Rebecca Tope's books it proceeds to recommend me a load of hideously cosy sounding mysteries. This series revolves around a housesitter in the Cotswolds but I wouldn't class them as outright "cozies". Very enjoyable, well written and pretty well plotted.

Lynda Hunter
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I really enjoyed this book, just as I did the first in this series. I like the central character and I enjoy the setting of the stories. They are light reading but very enjoyable reading and I will read more.
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Admittedly only my favourite of these ones because I grew up in Frampton Mansell, But they are easy reads.
Caroline Ingvaldsen
The independent house-sitter encounters murder and mayhem domestic and otherwise as her friendship with the local Detective Superintendent deepens.
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Rebecca Tope grew up on a farm and has held a wide variety of jobs, such as pre-natal instructor, marriage counselor, and funeral director, all of which have taught her a great deal about human nature. In 1992, she founded Praxis Books, a small British press.
More about Rebecca Tope...

Other Books in the Series

Thea Osborne (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • A Cotswold Killing (Thea Osborne, #1)
  • Death in the Cotswolds (Thea Osborne, #3)
  • A Cotswold Mystery (Thea Osborne, #4)
  • Blood in the Cotswolds (Thea Osborne, #5)
  • Slaughter in the Cotswolds (Thea Osborne, #6)
  • Fear in the Cotswolds (Thea Osborne, #7)
  • A Grave in the Cotswolds (Drew Slocombe, #5; Thea Osborne, #8)
  • Deception in the Cotswolds (Thea Osborne, #9)
  • Malice in the Cotswolds (Thea Osborne, #10)
  • Shadows in the Cotswolds (Thea Osborne, #11)

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