13 July 2008


Panmacmillan hardback, ISBN 978-0-230-01457-2, 2008, 339 pages.

BLOOD AT THE BOOKIES is #9 in Simon Brett's cozy Fethering series featuring town busybodies retired Civil Servant Carole Seddon and her neighbour Jude.

Carole is laid low with the flu the day that Jude sees a pale young man come into the betting shop where she is placing bets for an elderly friend. She assumes he has come in to escape the heavy hail storm outside but after he has left she sees a circle of dark blood on the floor. She follows a trail of blood drops to an alley next door where she discovers the man dying. He mutters a word and expires.

Jude tells what she knows to the police and eventually discovers that the young man has recently arrived from Poland. A few days later his sister contacts Jude and together Jude, Carole, and the sister attempt to discover who killed Tadek and why.

This is just the sort of situation, a murder almost on their doorstep, that Jude and Carole love. For my part I love Simon Brett's gentle humour, and the degree of personal story he weaves into their characters. Carole is now a grandmother and is surprised to find in herself a degree of feeling for her new granddaughter. Jude has a dalliance with a man who becomes a suspect in their murder investigation.

It doesn't matter to me that, probably because Brett lays clues down thickly, I had worked out who was responsible for the original murder, and then for another attemptedmurder. The book is just such easy reading.

The only thing that annoys me about this book, is something that I've noticed with other books in the Fethering series. Simon Brett doesn't seem to know how to bring the book to a close. The final chapter is written as if it is a retrospective, written some time after the final action has taken place. So you read the book as if it is all happening in current time, and then the final chapter makes you feel as if you've been in some sort of time capsule. I'm not explaining it very well. The problem occurs because Brett tells you what happens to the main characters in the time following the book, and this can take you quite a time into the future. It makes me feel as if I don't know what the time scale is between the books in the series.

My rating: 4.4


Juliet said...

People keep telling me I'll like Simon Brett's novels. I always enjoyed the gentle humour of his radio plays, so I think it's about time I gave his books a whirl. Thanks for the reminder!

Kerrie said...

There's lot to read then Juliet. The Charles Paris series are entertaining too. If you decide on the Fethering ones, start at the beginning.
1. The Body on the Beach (2000)
2. Death On the Downs (2001)
3. The Torso In The Town (2002)
4. Murder in the Museum (2003)
5. The Hanging in the Hotel (2004)
6. The Witness at the Wedding (2005)
7. The Stabbing in the Stables (2006)
8. Death Under the Dryer (2007)
9. Blood At the Bookies (2008)

Juliet said...

Hi Kerrie - thanks so much for the list - really kind of you. But oh dear . . . the size of my TBR mountain once I add this little lot! It will topple over one night and I shall be buried alive.

If I suddenly stop blogging you'll know what has happened (and will, I hope, feel suitably guilty!).


Blog Widget by LinkWithin