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Death on the Downs (Fethering Mystery #2), by Simon Brett Book Review | SFReader.com
Death on the Downs (Fethering Mystery #2), by Simon Brett Genre: Alternate History Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Published: 2011 Review Posted: 6/2/2013 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
Death on the Downs (Fethering Mystery #2), by Simon Brett
Book Review by SJ Higbee
Have you read this book?
In the depths of winter, still recovering from the over-indulgence of
the Christmas holidays, this entertaining whodunit certainly hits all
the right spots.
Caught out in a sudden downpour during a walk on the South Downs,
Carole Sedden shelters in a dilapidated barn -- only to discover two
fertiliser bags packed with human bones. The gossips in the Hare and
Hounds, the local pub in the hamlet of Weldisham, immediately identify
the corpse as Tamsin Lutteridge, a young woman who disappeared several
months earlier. But when Carole and her new neighbor, Jude,
investigate further, they are not so sure...
Firstly, what this novel isn't. You don't get a graphic anatomy lesson
in decomposition as in a Patricia Cornwall or Kathy Reiches - neither
is this a Rankinesk study in world-weary cynicism. Which is a
refreshing change as the current whodunit trend seems to be striving to
make each book more bloodily horrifying than the last. Though neither
are we in a Disneyland version of the genre. Brett treats the murder
with suitable seriousness and his well written heroine is far more
likely to be standing next to you in Tescos than some protagonists
found in more lurid novels.
However, for me the outstanding feature of the book are the
descriptions of the local landscape and characters. The acerbic humor
running through these word sketches are a joy to read. The narrative
pace is apparently unhurried, so I wasn't flipping back to check up on
clues or characters I might have missed during a half-page of
inattention. Which didn't prevent me staying up till 2 am in order to
reach the denouement, where again, Brett's capable storytelling
pedigree is apparent. The ending was suitably satisfying with all the
major plot lines thoroughly tied up.
My only niggle -- and I am conscious that this a matter of personal
preference -- is that a certain amount of mystery regarding one of the
protagonists wasn't resolved. As this was a theme running through the
story I did feel a little cheated that by the end I still didn't know
all the details. However, when writing a multi-volume series, it is
always a fine judgement call as to how many hooks to leave trailing in
order to tempt readers to continue with the other books.
I don't need any such inducement. Brett's witty, well-crafted slices of
West Sussex murder and mayhem are right up there, jostling with the
latest steampunk and urban fantasy offerings.
Click here to buy Death on the Downs (Fethering Mystery #2), by Simon Brett on Amazon