#11 in the Fethering series
Nothing in Fethering happens unseen.
There's always someone watching.
Christmas is approaching in the seaside village of Fethering and Jude is horrified that her neighbour Carole Seddon, retired public servant, has chosen such dull presents for her immediate family. To make matters worse Carole's son Stephen, his wife Gaby and her baby grandaughter Lily will be coming down for Christmas Day.
So Jude takes Carole off to a newly opened trendy shop called Gallimaufray. A few days later, when the shop is burnt down fire investigators find the body of a young woman in the burnt out premises. By this time Carole has met the owners of the shop at Jude's pre-Christmas open house party, and so neither she nor Jude have any hesitation in becoming personally involved in finding out what really happened.
Jude and Carole are a formidable investigative team, and their pursuit of the truth is no longer the casual observation that it was a few books back. They meet often to compare notes and formulate new plans of attack on their suspects.
One character, quite a nasty one, has it right: "You are just two nosy old women who have no authority at all", but he underestimates their acumen for sleuthing.
THE SHOOTING IN THE SHOP is a quick and enjoyable read, unmistakeably a cozy, with plenty of red herrings, and just a bit more character development for our two sleuths. [I have been thinking about who I would cast in their roles: perhaps Patricia Routledge and Sylvia Sims??]
I have the same criticism of this novel that I have voiced before about others in the series. In the final chapter Simon Brett launches a few months or more forward, and then tells us how the main characters have fared since the crime was solved. I find it a most peculiar way to round off the novel, rather as if the action of the novel is a slice of pie, and here we have got to the final bit. That probably makes no sense to you at all, but if you do read THE SHOOTING IN THE SHOP think about how you feel about the final chapter. If you remember to, come back and tell me about your reaction.
My rating 4.4
Other Simon Brett reviews on this blog:
BLOOD AT THE BOOKIES
THE POISONING IN THE PUB