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Saturday 15 May 2010

Blood At The Bookies

By Simon Brett

This novel is part of Simon Brett’s series of Fethering mysteries, of which there are several. I picked this one because I liked the title.

I’ve always enjoyed crime fiction and Brett was recommended to me by a friend as a good example of the amateur sleuth sub-genre. I really enjoyed it and will definitely be reading more in the series.

Brett’s two protagonists Carole and Jude are well-drawn and likeable and the setting of Fethering with its back-up cast of characters is convincing. This particular tale follows an intriguing murder involving a Polish man, and the plot takes in racial tension, adultery and addiction to gambling on the way.

These added elements give a multi-layered richness to the plot which is supported by realistic characters with real problems. The plot is well-constructed without being too complex and keeps you guessing about the identity and motive of the murderer right to the end.

Another thing I liked about this book was the depiction of the relationship between the two main characters. Very different women, Carole and Jude are reliant on each other in a way that neither of them would probably be prepared to admit.

This is an all-round good read and a real page-turner. Another nice touch is that there is an extract from ‘The Poisoning In The Pub’ the next in the series, at the end. Guess I’ll be reading that next then. Followed by the rest in the series.

Although I am looking forward to reading more in the series, and I’m keen to see how Brett develops the relationship between Carole and Jude across time, I did feel that ‘Blood At The Bookies’ worked perfectly well as a stand-alone novel and I would imagine that is true of others in the series.

Reviewed by Helen M Hunt

Simon Brett’s Fethering series is published by Pan MacMillan.

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