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Murder In My Backyard

(Inspector Ramsay #2)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,145 ratings  ·  71 reviews
No one in Heppleburn has a bad word to say about Alice Parry . . . but here she is, murdered in her own backyard on a bitter St. David's Eve. And when detective Stephen Ramsay starts asking questions in the village, a more ambiguous picture begins to emerge. Yes, old Mrs. Parry was loved by everyone, but sometimes her kindness had caused trouble. Yes, her two nephews were ...more
Paperback, 251 pages
Published March 2nd 1991 by Fawcett Books
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,145 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Apr 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I like Ann Cleeves. I've enjoyed watching the dramatization of her Vera Stanhope books on television and I loved reading her Shetland Island Quartets, so I decided to pick up her older books whenever I found them in used book stores.
Murder in My Backyard was the first of the 'old' mysteries that I found and I liked it. It didn't have the drama of the Shetlands or the angst of Inspector Perez, but it was a respectably plotted mystery. It evoked the place well (the north of England - near Vera Sta
John Lee
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second in this Ann Cleeves series from the early nineties.
I think that in my notes on the first I had said that I felt that parts showed lack of polish or naivety. There is none of that here.

The story is well up to the standard of her later works.

It is a tale about the death of an old lady at her home at a time when her only family - two nephews with wives and children were staying. Was it a family murder or was there a connection with the proposed development on land, she has just sold to
Sandi aka Maudley
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
An old-fashioned mystery with a quiet, introverted inspector bound to find the solution. A fine rainy-afternoon-with-popcorn read.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, library-book
3.5* rounded down.

This is an odd series; the settings seem timeless. I see this was first published in 1991, but honestly it could be pretty much any decade since cars were invented.

Ramsay is an ineffectual detective, just going around and around the various suspects, asking them questions (or more often than not failing to find them at home), until a reporter solves the case for him and the murderer explains all the details. The reporter, Mary, was I think meant to be a sympathetic character,
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detection-club
While waiting for Ann Cleeves' latest Vera Stanhope novel to be released, I discovered this earlier (1990's) series of novels featuring Inspector Ramsay. While I found the first in the series, A Lesson in Dying, to be just OK, this second book of the series has me hooked.

As usual, Cleeves develops her characters beautifully, and the mystery always keeps me interested and surprised in the end.

Many reviewers have said that this earlier series is not as good as her Vera Stanhope or Shetland offer
Val Sanford
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Inspector Ramsay is back in this sad tale of a trusting woman who sold her property to an unscrupulous land dealer. The town is up in arms as beautiful marshland is being converted to big McMansions. But this time the murder occurs in Ramsay's own backyard and once again he must rely on the knowledge of local men and women to help him track down a killer. ...more
Susan Hill
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good mystery and very good character development.

Ann Cleeves developers her characters well. Inspector Ramsey seems like a real person with very human emotions as he investigates this case. The other characters, while troubled, were also real. I like the way the author explores their emotions and reactions.
Susan Anderson
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great Ramsay mystery

Another great Ramsay mystery with characters deftly painted, haunting sense of place, and the classic mystery preserved until the final pages. I especially liked Mary Raven.
Wendy Menninger
Not a favorite; it didn't keep my attention. The story was too slow and seemed to drag. ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it liked it

"...But here she is, murdered in her own backyard on a bitter St. David's Eve. And when detective Stephen Ramsay starts asking questions in the village, a more ambiguous picture begins to emerge. Yes, old Mrs. Parry was loved by everyone, but sometimes her kindness had caused trouble. Yes, her two nephews were devoted to her, but they didn't really want her interfering in the rather complicated personal lives. Even among her neighb
Corinne Johnston
As a long time fan of Ann Cleeves it was interesting to read this earlier book, part of a series (now available as Ebonics) that I guess I'll now get sucked into following! She has certainly matured as a writer since this novel, but you can see the early ideas for Jimmy Perez forming in the characterisation of Ramsay. Although set in the early 90s, no mobile phones etc, I felt like I was in an England in the immediate post war years, so rural, feudal and basic was the lives of those living in th ...more
#2 in Ann Cleeves Inspector Ramsay series, originally published in 1991. As with the first in the series, I couldn't give the book more than 3 stars. There were so many characters, many with the same last names as others, that I had a hard time keeping everyone sorted. There were a number of seemingly obvious motives, but finding one that covered all the bases wasn't as easy to spot. That it all took place in a smaller town made people less eager to talk to Inspector Ramsey or to Hunter. I read ...more
Aug 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is the most boring Ann Cleeves book I have ever tried to read. It was so dull I skimmed most of it after about Ch 10, most of the characters were either unpleasant or uninteresting or both, and the detective was crippled by social anxiety that added nothing to the plot or action. I remember reading most of her early books when they first came out, but don't think I ever tried the Ramsay ones, or if I did, have wiped them from memory. ...more
Ilona Bell
A bit better than the first - 3.5 stars

The character of Inspector Ramsey is still unfleshed (What’s his backstory? Motivation? Trauma? Etc.) but the mystery is better this time around. So many suspects and so many secrets. The culprit is well masked until later in the book but the signs are there. If you find Cleeves’ Vera and Shetland series too dense and complicated then Inspector Ramsey might be the ticket.
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rereading and enjoying some older Ann Cleeves books( in order)- Glad they are in ebook now!
This mystery, number two has Inspector Ramsey's character developing and had a more complex ending.
Heppleburn is a former Northumberland pit village and the close-knit population hides secrets.The backyard in this outing is that of a modernized tower house and the murder of it's owner.
On to the next one! I have been reviewing Ann Cleeves latest books- still going strong!
Nov 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It was pleasant to find an Inspector Ramsay book at my library that I had not read. This one swirls around land use planning issues and marital infidelity. Having spent 10 years on a local planning board some aspects of the story didn't ring true to me, but for most people that part of the mystery is just a plot device so you won't be pulled out of the story by an internal dialogue saying it could not have happened that way. ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good reading!

Very well written, with well rounded characters. Loved the village descriptions. A popular citizen is murdered in a village, and the inspector finds many suspects. Small village life examined very well. Suspects described, and introduced. Murder solved orderly. Good English mystery. Recomend for gentle escapism.
Hannah Stewart
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.
Much improved on the first book, however still simplistic in nature and lacking characterisation when compared with her later novels.
As I mentioned before, it’s heartening to see an author who has grown substantially throughout their work, instead of churning out the same stagnant pieces.
Lauraine Parkinson
I think Ann Cleeves is great. I've read all her later works and loved them so the only books left for me are her earlier novels. These books are not as sophisticated as her Shetland or Vera series but is is interesting to see the development of her style.. I enjoyed this book so much that I have just bought the sequel. ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
What a lame, amateurish, cheap excuse for a murder mystery. Pages before the end, the detective has a meeting where he learns new facts. But the reader isn’t privy to those facts. Seriously, how Nancy Drew-ish. And, of course, there’s the Midsummer Murders almost murder but the detective saves the day ending. Did Anne Cleeves really stoop to such drivel?
Janice Harris
Later Works Preferred

While this book easily held my interest, as each book has by this author, I believe that more investigative details from the authorities (Ramsey & staff) would have provided a richer plot with more compelling characters. In any case, Cleaves is definitely a “Winner” in the field of mystery writers and does not disappoint!
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is not to love about a good murder mystery? Inspector Ramsay is becoming a favourite of mine. Not much to like about most of the characters. Selfish, self-absorbed, greedy, cowards and heartless. Human nature at its worst. My least favourite character? Stella Rutherford, what an spoiled, manipulative woman!
Cherie C. Hutton
An Absorbing Read

I am a huge fan of Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez. She has created another wonderful character in Steve Ramsay. I escape completely when I read her stories and love the fact that the outcome is not as predictable as it may seem. This series is no exception. I'm on to the third book in the series now!
Hazel Edwards
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it

Published in 1991, the technology ( cassettes, gramophones etc in the settings) have dated but there are hints of the sleuth characterisation of the later Vera and Shetland novels which I actually read first. I'm sorry I read the Cleeves books out of order, but consider her recent titles brilliantly written. This was more an 'apprenticeship' book.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Better than the first one in the series in that Ramsay actually stars in this one, but there is still a lot of wheel-spinning. I don’t understand Hunter’s attitude toward Ramsay and it’s annoying. Everyone feels pretty one-dimensional. I might have to give one of her other series a try because I’m not warming to this one quite yet.
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second in Cleeve's Inspector Ramsay series written in the 90s. I read and enjoyed the first although it was lacking in defining the Inspector. In this title Inspector Ramsay is front and center in investigating the murder. Readers learn more about his personal life and his investigatory technique. This is a well-plotted police procedural that kept me guessing until the end. ...more
Ms Karen T Hooper
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My 22nd Ann Sleeves Mystery

I'm just getting to know this author and still not sure about it . I am avid Peter James Dan and these feel really slow in comparison so the jury's still out I'm afraid
Alice Perry, well loved in Heppleburn, is murdered in her own backyard. There seems to be no motive for the crime, but Inspector Steven Ramsey works diligently to establish a case in this 2nd book in the series.
Good story

Not as polished as her later work but a well crafted plot. The characters and the descriptions aee a little flat. Interactions between characters are stiff. But a good story nonetheless.
Marilyn Brazier
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read so many new to me authors since I ad my fist Kindle and now IPAD

Ann Cleese was one of them, if you like stories that are a little different but follows the “who done it rules then this is hero and author follow.
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Ann is the author of the books behind ITV's VERA, now in it's third series, and the BBC's SHETLAND, which will be aired in December 2012. Ann's DI Vera Stanhope series of books is set in Northumberland and features the well loved detective along with her partner Joe Ashworth. Ann's Shetland series bring us DI Jimmy Perez, investigating in the mysterious, dark, and beautiful Shetland Islands...


Other books in the series

Inspector Ramsay (6 books)
  • A Lesson In Dying (Inspector Ramsey, #1)
  • A Day in the Death of Dorothea Cassidy (Inspector Ramsey, #3)
  • Killjoy (Inspector Ramsey, #4)
  • The Healers (Inspector Ramsay, #5)
  • The Baby-Snatcher (Inspector Ramsay, #6)

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