It would be a mistake to read this book without first reading The Body on the Beach in which amateur detectives and neighbors Carole Seddon and Jude (no last name) meet one another. If opposites attract, these two fiftyish women make that point. Carole is a retired Home Office bureaucrat who likes things tidy and prefers her distance from people. Jude is friendly, messy, and plunges right in. That contrast was well established in The Body on the Beach. In Death on The Downs, the two characters begin to develop other facets. But if you haven't read the first book, you'll miss the relevance of much of that character development.
Carole Seddon once again stumbles on evidence of foul play when she uncovers a human skeleton while seeking shelter from the rain in an old barn. The local police are very sympathetic and even offer her counseling. Carole learns that there's been a young woman missing for four months. Could that be the victim? When Carole shares her experiences and theory with Jude, Jude is floored. She knows the missing woman!
Carole begins to exploit her developing social skills to find out more about what's going on in Weldisham, where she found the bones. Jude uses her alternative therapy contacts (and a little blackmail) to check out other lines of inquiry.
Carole knows she's on the right track when she begins to receive threats. Before the story is over, she'll pay a high price for her curiosity.
Readers who enjoyed The Body on the Beach will find Death on the Downs to be an easier book to read, with more interesting action.
This series is well worth reading and I hope you enjoy it!