Simon Brett - Shastrix Books

Simon Brett

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Death Under the Dryer

Death Under the Dryer

Simon Brett

16th August 2020

I’ve found the previous novels in this series very relaxing to read, and Death Under The Dryer continues this trend. While set in the modern era, it continues the spirit of the classic mystery novel, with a casual attitude and relaxed mildly comedic turn to the characters and their relationships.

This time out, our two amateur detectives find themselves on the scene when a murder is discovered, and surrounded throughout my new characters who are richly varied and live the complex intertwined lives that are necessary for this sort of plot.

The normalcy of the lives of Brett’s characters make for very chilled reading - which is something I really appreciate in a novel at the moment. Exactly what I was looking for.

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The Stabbing in the Stables

The Stabbing in the Stables

Simon Brett

2nd February 2020

Slowly making my way through this series, I find myself at book 7, in which amateur sleuths Carole and Jude accidentally find themselves discovering the body of a stabbed stable owner, and becoming once again drawn into a murder investigation in the surprisingly deadly Sussex countryside.

As usual it’s the classic set-up - many suspects, all of whom seem to have something to hide, and problematic relationships with one another, and the detective work of the starring duo is top class.

The guest characters are richly painted - possibly the best set yet - and make the world of the novel more colourful and fun to read. The ongoing lives of the main characters are also slowly teased out a bit further, piquing the interest of the reader and tempting me to continue on to the next book.

A good, simple adventure that’s modern yet reminiscent of the mysteries of yesteryear - just the sort of crime novel I feel comfortable with.

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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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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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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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Other reviewed books

The Body on the Beach

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
Blotto, Twinks, and the Ex-King's Daughter
Blotto, Twinks, and the Intimate Review
Bones Under the Beach Hut
The Poisoning in the Pub

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