Simon Brett - Shastrix Books

Simon Brett

Recently reviewed

The Witness at the Wedding

The Witness at the Wedding

Simon Brett

23rd January 2019

After what feels like a couple of years I finally found this, the next book in the Fethering series - and dived back into the comfortable lives of Carole and Jude. Carole’s son is getting married - injecting a fun element of soap opera to the plot - but there are murderous goings-on amongst his future in-laws which Carole feels compelled to get to the bottom of.

Comfortable is definitely the right word for this book. Its familiarity makes for a relaxing read, and Brett manages to find new ways to take the classic murder mystery and make it really fun.

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The Hanging in the Hotel

The Hanging in the Hotel

Simon Brett

26th May 2018

The fifth Fethering Mystery finds amateur sleuths Carole and Jude embroiled in a hotel-based death during an ego-trip event by a group of local do-gooders.

Compared to the previous novels, it’s very much in the same vein. There’s perhaps a little less of the dynamic between the two main characters than I’d have liked, but each of them gets amusing moments as they proceeded with their meddlesome investigation.

It’s a satisfying mystery with a range of dodgy suspects, although one in particular was an uncomfortable one to read about. Overall an enjoyable diversion.

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Buy book: UK
Murder in the Museum

Murder in the Museum

Simon Brett

20th December 2016

The fourth Fethering Mystery, which I've finally located my copy of after over a year of hunting, returns to the Sussex village's amateur detectives as a body is discovered at a local heritage house. It's not recent, but leads to the usual complicated scenarios that only a pair of plucky amateur sleuths can untangle.

The plot felt a little convoluted, with perhaps a few too many threads weaving around. Some of the suspects are larger than life, which while traditional in this genre, just steps it a touch outside plausibility.

The main characters are where the real richness and enjoyment enters this novel - it's hard to believe that this is only the fourth novel given how detailed their lives have becomes, and I really like stepping in as they investigate and learning more about them and understanding more about how they tick.

An interesting if not quite great entry in the series, and one I'm glad I finally found, and which frees me up to continue enjoying the series.

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Buy book: UK
The Torso in the Town

The Torso in the Town

Simon Brett

21st August 2015

Carole and Jude return to investigate a new murder, when a torso is found in the basement of a house in a nearby town. It really feels like Brett has got these two characters down to pat and we get to spend a decent amount of the plot aligned with each of them which only adds to the fun.

The plot is a good comfy murder mystery and the narrative is filled with clues and red herrings - some of the most obvious of which I missed completely, leaving me to feel a bit of a fool reflecting back!

The genius though is in the relationship between the two main character and how they think of each other and interact. Brett also manages to paint a full and rounded and memorable guest cast, so that at no point did I suffer from the classic Agatha-Christie-reader problem of not remember who was whom.

Really enjoyable, though a little gruesome in a couple of places. Would definitely recommend and could easily serve as an entry point to the series.

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Death on the Downs

Death on the Downs

Simon Brett

31st December 2013

The second Fethering book develops the characters a little further and continues to set things up for future novels. Carole accidentally stumbles across another body, and finds herself wrapped up in another complex murder investigation.

I found myself a little frustrated that this book wasn't as much of a double-header as the first. We're aligned with Carole throughout both books, but her interaction with Jude was one of the most interesting aspects of the first book, and here it seems to come second to some repetitive scenes.

The plot felt awkward as well - everything is there, suspects, clues, twists - but it didn't quite flow together into a narrative and I didn't feel compelled to keep reading. The slightly different setting to the first book felt forced, as if the author was trying to avoid the classic mystery novel conundrum of many murders in one town, but actually it just seemed like all the effort of setting the scene in the first book was wasted.

Although I've criticised the book quite a bit, it certainly wasn't bad, and I have no plans to discontinue reading the series. I just hope that this was a single dud.

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The Body on the Beach

The Body on the Beach

Simon Brett

21st July 2013

The first of the Fethering mysteries is a pleasant and interesting novel that I've been intending to read for some time, having heard some of Simon Brett's work on the radio. When Carole finds a body on the beach, it soon disappears, and the police refuse to believe her.

The setting is classic, a small seaside town where everyone knows each other, and the story has the feeling of the golden era despite taking place more recently. The characters however are what make it so good - they are well formed and given plenty of depth even when not immediately necessary to this story.

It reads like a series is in the planning (which of course it was) and that all the characters have been thought through to use in multiple stories. It reminded me a bit of Postman Pat in that respect, which is a bit of an odd comparison to make.

A good, solid mystery with great character and plenty more to explore in the sequels. I've already got several of them lined up on my shelf and am looking forward to diving into them.

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Buy book: UK

Unreviewed books

Blood at the Bookies
Blotto, Twinks and the Bootlegger's Moll
Blotto, Twinks and the Dead Dowager Duchess
Blotto, Twinks and the Rodents of the Riviera
Bones Under the Beach Hut
Death Under the Dryer
The Poisoning in the Pub
The Stabbing in the Stables

Top books

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  2. The Witness at the Wedding
  3. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  4. The Hanging in the Hotel
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  6. The Body on the Beach
  7. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  8. Murder in the Museum
  9. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  10. Death on the Downs
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  12. The Torso in the Town