The killer in the choir

Simon Brett

Book - 2019

"Although she hadn't known Leonard Mallett very well, nor liked him particularly, Carole Seddon feels duty bound to attend her fellow committee member's funeral. As she suspected, the hymns, readings and sermon are all very predictable - not unlike Leonard himself. What she couldn't have predicted was that the deceased's daughter would use the occasion to publicly accuse her stepmother of murder. Did Heather Mallett really kill her husband, as many Fethering residents be...lieve? Deciding to get to the heart of the matter, Carole's neighbour Jude joins the new community choir - and discovers that amidst the clashing egos and petty resentments lurk some decidedly false notes. At least one chorister would appear to be hiding a deadly secret - and it's up to Carole and Jude to unearth the truth."--Publisher.

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Brett, Simon. Fethering mysteries ; 19.
Mystery fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
London : Crème de la Crime 2019.
First world edition
Item Description
Series numeration from
Physical Description
184 pages ; 23 cm
Main Author
Simon Brett (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Brett's Fethering mysteries are set in a picturesque, Agatha Christie-style coastal village in West Sussex, whose inhabitants often end up murdered. The sleuths are two women in their fifties, Carole Seddon, retired from the Home Office, and her friend and next-door neighbor, Jude (known only by her first name), who works as a New Age healer. This nineteenth in the series has all the elements of Golden Age village mysteries (dim-witted constables, sharp-witted amateur sleuths, secrets and tensions simmering beneath the villagers' highly polished surfaces). But Brett's latest is also darker than his previous mysteries, with the long shadows of domestic violence, sexual abuse, depression, and loneliness following main and minor characters. The action centers on the choirs for a funeral and a wedding, with a murder suspect at the funeral and a murder victim discovered after the wedding. The widow at the funeral for her much-older husband (who died after falling down some stairs) arouses suspicion because she's so, well, merry, given the circumstances. Jude and Carole, after the police have dismissed the death as accidental, set off on parallel probes, using their village contacts and a little choral undercover work to great advantage. This episode is graced by ingeniously drawn characters, deft timing of twists, and a to-die-for climax. A stunner.--Connie Fletcher Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Brett's pleasing 19th Fethering mystery (after 2018's The Liar in the Library) finds the small West Sussex seaside town--the home of strident and upright Carole Seddon, a retired civil servant, and the more morally elastic Jude Nichols, who, after a variety of careers, is now a new age healer--abuzz with the news that wealthy, retired Leonard Mallett has died from a fall down the stairs. When his second wife, Heather, shows up at the church funeral in full merry widow mode, "the oldest question in crime--and in crime fiction, too" arises: did he fall or was he pushed? After the service, Leonard's grown daughter, who doesn't get along with her stepmother, tells Carole that Heather killed her father. Carole and her fellow amateur sleuth, Jude, inveigle their way into interviews with witnesses and suspects, including members of the church choir, a famous tenor, and a not-so-successful rock singer. Another death ups the ante. Peppered with wry wit, the story unfurls smoothly and swiftly. Series fans and newcomers alike will enjoy spending time with the eccentric yet endearing Carole and Jude. Agent: Lisa Moylett, CMM Agency (U.K.). (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

An unlikely accusation at a wake kicks off the latest case of murder in Fethering, that quaint little village time forgot.Carole Seddon hadn't known retired insurance man Leonard Mallett well enough to attend his funeral service out of a sense of personal attachment, but her sense of communal responsibilityshe serves on the Committee for the Preservation of Fethering's Seafront, which he chairedis rewarded when she's made privy to his daughter Alice's passing remark that he was killed by Heather Mallett, his second wife and Alice's stepmother. The minor scandal that erupts has no impact on the police, who stoutly continue to maintain that Mallett's fall down his staircase was entirely accidental. Whatever Heather's role in his decease, she's amply punished on the night of Alice's wedding to Roddy Skelton by someone who strangles her and dumps her body into the water, leaving it to wash up next day on that well-preserved seafront. The evidence doesn't point to anybody in particular, but the title suggests that the guilty party is a member of the Crown Anchor choir, a group assembled specifically to perform at the wedding ceremony. Given their vast experience in petty homicide (The Liar in the Library, 2018, etc.), it's inevitable that Carole and her healer friend, Jude Nicholls, would resolve to find the killer. Their insinuating queries unearth several questionable alibis, several more Christie-like red herrings, several revelations of musical misdirection and incompetence, and one serious case of PTSD. This time, though, the plot is as disjointed as this list would suggest, and the denouement comes not with a bang but a bemused shake of the head.Minor Brett, which is very minor indeed, but still a treasure trove of microgossip. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.