Books reviewed on this page are available in the U.K. but not (as yet) in the United States.
POSTED FEBRUARY 28, 2013
Once again the mismatched but indomitable pair of amateur sleuths in seaside Fethering are hot on the trail - but of what? Jude and Carol are seeking the murderer of a local emotionally disturbed young woman who the police believe committed suicide. Fennel Whittaker was a patient of local healer Jude, and her sudden death came as a surprise. The dead girl (and Carol and Jude and most of the denizens of the little town) had attended an art show at a local gallery, where her ex displayed his egregious conceptual art. She interrupted the show with an emotional outburst, castigating Willoughby, the artist, for his having dumped her and for his general amoral behavior. Reluctant to let her drive in an inebriated state, Jude conveyed her safely to her family estate, and the two of them got companionably drunk. But Jude awoke to find Fennel dead, and the police dismissive of her concerns over the death since the girl had a history of severe depression and a prior suicide attempt. Everyone seems determined to let Fennel's death be quietly forgotten, but her missing cell phone and newfound positive attitude convince the Fethering duo to carry on. The victim's wealthy family's efforts to keep their family problems private add to the intrigue, and the complicated interwoven relationships of the cast of characters are interesting to track, even if not totally convincing. Brett's usual light touch and whimsical humor seem strangely missing in this episode, and the sleuthing also seems more lumbering than in prior cases. But even when not at his best, Brett always provides entertainment that's well worth the time.
- Carol Howell