1973 and a pop festival has come to Kingsmarkham. While DS Burden sees it as an opportunity for the further degeneration of society as a whole, DI Wexford has a slightly more positive view on matters. Everyone – apart from some of the people who live near the festival – seems to be enjoying themselves. Except for the two festivalgoers who slip off to the nearby quarry for a romantic tryst (must be a nice quarry) only to find the body of Dawn Stonor, a once-local girl, who has had her face smashed in with a bottle.
Some people had seen Dawn on the day that she died – but where did she get the red dress that adorned her corpse? What is her connection to the star of the festival? And why did this book seem to take an age to read when it’s less than 200 pages long?
Another month, another pile of mysteries reviewed. As with last month, a number of new releases, a couple of classic authors, and, for the first time in ages, not a single historical mystery – how strange. As I’ve frequently mentioned, it’s been a busy time with a house move that’s taken up a fair bit of my time – so I only managed to read and review ten books. Hang on, that can’t be right…
So, with ten books to rate, surely that’s going to make the Puzzly – my book of the month – difficult to pick? Actually, it’s never been easier…
“If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
Charles Paris has finally managed to tick off one of his dream roles. An old colleague has cast his as Sir Toby Belch in a touring production of Twelfth Night. Things seem to be going well…
… until the director mysteriously takes ill and is replaced by an upcoming director with his own ideas about how Shakespeare should be performed, all of which are contrary to Charles’s traditional approach. As rehearsals continue, Charles’s opinions start to marginalise him from the rest of the cast. But when someone else takes ill, he begins to suspect someone in the cast has murderous ambitions. Worse than that, it seems that those ambitions may be directed towards Charles himself!
To describe Judge Ireton as arrogant would be something of an understatement. His daughter, Constance, introduces her fiancé Tony Morrell to him, and the Judge immediately (well, once Constance is out of the room) offer £3,000 for the undesirable Morrell to clear off and never bother her again. Morrell agrees and they resolve to meet again the next night to conclude their business.
The next night, a phone message is received from Judge Ireton’s study – a cry for help and then the sound of a bullet being fired. When reaching the house, the body of Morrell is found on the floor with the Judge sitting next to it holding a gun.
Could the Judge really be so confident that he can shoot a man in his own house and get away with it? Or is there someone out there determined to frame him? Only Gideon Fell himself can get to the bottom of things.
A shadow is being cast over the region of Battambang in Cambodia. Teenage mothers are vanishing from the villages surrounding the minefields, some later turning up dead. Members of the mine clearance team working on the site are being lured to their deaths on the minefield – with fresh mines being planted in cleared regions.
Tess Hardy finds herself drawn to the region and the mine clearance efforts by a phone call from a voice from her past – her violent husband Luke, sounding scared for the first time in his life. When he is killed in an explosion, she finds herself investigating his death. Convinced that he was murdered, it seems that everyone in the region has something to hide.
The White Crocodile – a harbinger of death – is waiting in the darkness. And the Crocodile is hungry…
As regular readers will have spotted, I’ve just moved house – a lovely farmhouse that’s older than the USA – and I’ve got my own study. Four walls – one of which is somewhat inflicted with damp – a ceiling and lots of space for my books. The first time in fact where I have my own shelf space to completely do with as I please.
So I emptied all of my boxes that I could find (and there’s more, as I didn’t come across my first edition of Captain Cut-Throat) and this is what I found.
That’s more books than I know what to do with. Some of them need to go – but the question is, which ones?
Doomsday minus 14 days. The world is going to end, the asteroid 2011GV1, otherwise known as Maia is going to hit the Earth and then everything will end. And Detective Hank Palace has one last case to solve – he’s going to find his sister Nico.
Nico was last seen with a group of radicals who have a plan to save everything – a nuclear missile that will deflect Maia – and, despite believing that her cause is doomed, he needs to find her before the end. But he’s going to find more than he expects – as the doomsday clock ticks down, Palace finds that he has a brutal murder to solve. But needless to say, the clock is ticking…