- source: my local library
- # 17 in the Fethering series
- first published 2015
- ISBN 978-1-78029-081-2
- 185 pages
The wickedly entertaining new Fethering mystery featuring chalk-and-cheese detective duo Carole and Jude
Polly's Cake Shop has been a feature of the shopping parade for many years, but when its owner announces her retirement, the Fethering residents start to worry about the loss of this popular amenity. Alarmed by rumours that the cafe might become a Starbucks, a group clubs together to form the Save Polly's Cake Shop Action Committee.
The plan is that Polly's should become a community venture, managed and run by volunteers from the village. Roped in to help, Jude finds the committee meetings fraught with petty power struggles, clashing personalities and monstrous egos. Matters take a turn for the worse when she and Carole come across a badly-decomposed body on Fethering beach - and uncover a link to Polly's. Not only do the two neighbours have to find out whodunit, they are also faced with the thorny question: is it possible to run a business on that most volatile of commodities - goodwill?
I always look forward to the next instalment in this series. They are what I call "gentle" cozies. I love their alliterative titles as well as the way they gently explore the relationship between Carole and Jude.
I think over the development of the series there has been a subtle change. While they remain busybodies who poke their noses into local affairs, Jude and Carol are now unashamedly investigators, unpaid private eyes. It seems to go without saying, without official agreement, that they will investigate any "incident", particularly a murder. They don't hesitate to make phone calls to persons of interest, to follow through threads of suspicion, and to ask awkward questions. In general they don't contact the police of their own volition until they have finally solved the case. So I guess they could be charged by a zealous policeman with withholding evidence but that doesn't seem to happen.
What I like about the stories is the gentle humour, the perceptive descriptions of village life, in particular that of retirees.
I think I have remarked before about the strange way the author brings the novel to an end. There is a sort of crystal ball aspect to it all, a summary of what happens to each of the characters, apart from Jude and Carol, in the future. In THE KILLING IN THE CAFE the summary goes as far as 10 years into the future.
So if you are not a reader of this series consider starting at the beginning - I've included the full list below to get you started. You will have a lot of very enjoyable reading ahead.
My rating: 4.4
I've also read
BLOOD AT THE BOOKIES
THE POISONING IN THE PUB
4.4, THE SHOOTING IN THE SHOP
4.3, SO MUCH BLOOD
4.2, A DECENT INTERVAL
4.5, BONES UNDER THE BEACH HUT
4.2, GUNS IN THE GALLERY
4.6, THE CORPSE ON THE COURT
4.3, THE STRANGLING ON THE STAGE
4.2, THE CINDERELLA KILLER
4.5, THE TOMB IN TURKEY
4.4, CHARLES PARIS: MURDER UNPROMPTED
4.2, CHARLES PARIS: CORPORATE BODIES
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)
10. The Poisoning in the Pub (2009)
11. The Shooting in the Shop (2010)
12. Bones Under the Beach Hut (2011)
13. Guns in the Gallery (2011)
14. Corpse on the Court (2012)
15. The Strangling on the Stage (2013)
16. The Tomb in Turkey (2014)
17. The Killing in the Cafe (2015)