3rd June 2021.
This fourth outing for amateur sleuths Carole and Jude is another delightful caper, filled with the author’s customary wit and comic observation of the middle classes and village life. In this book, he turns his attention to committees and the behaviour of the various characters that join them.
This committee comprises the trustees of Bracketts, the country home of former literary icon, Esmond Chadwick. Carole Seddon has joined at the request of the marketing director for the house. As she watches the power struggles around her, Carole soon wishes she’d stayed at home.
Until human remains are found in the garden, that is.
Though the skeleton is old, the hole in the skull suggests a shooting and a murder. As Carole picks up the challenge, her friend and neighbour Jude seems distracted. She takes in Laurence, an academic and former lover, who’s not in the best of health. Not sure of the situation, Carole feels put out and unable to discuss the case with her friend.
As they approach the investigation from separate angles, a second murder unites them. But with a gunman on the loose, a cast of suspects comprising most of the trustees and a bolshie American academic, it’s not going to be an easy case to solve.
With an eclectic cast of eccentric but believable characters, a convoluted plot with more suspects than you can shake a stick at, and the author’s often irreverent commentary, this is an entertaining and exciting murder mystery that delivers on every level.
And we get to learn a lot more about Jude’s colourful life and past.
Bracketts, an Elizabethan house near the town of Fethering, is about to be turned into a museum, but the transition is proving nightmarish. Carole regrets her decision to be on the museum’s Board when she witnesses bitter antagonism and rivalry amongst the other members.
The tensions climax when a human skeleton is found in the kitchen garden and then another body is discovered, not yet cold. These murders in the museum quickly turn into a case that tests the sleuthing powers of Carole, and her neighbour Jude, as never before . . .