Death and the decorator

Simon Brett

Book - 2022

Jude's decision to redecorate her cottage leads to a meeting with a local decorator and a surprising discovery behind a wall panel in a Victorian building: a woman's handbag! The discovery becomes serious when the police identify the handbag's owner as Anita Garner, a young woman who vanished in suspicious circumstances twenty years earlier.

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Mystery fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Cozy mysteries
Great Britain : Severn House 2022.
Main Author
Simon Brett (author)
First world edition
Physical Description
185 pages ; 23 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

A boarded-up alcove in a falling-apart Victorian rectory leads to mystery in this twenty-eighth installment of Brett's Fethering series. Back again is the fiftyish detective duo of Carole Seddon, retired from the Home Office and extremely rigid in attitude, and the super-relaxed New Age healer Jude Nichols. Their cottages in the coastal village of Fethering are next door to each other, but their opinions and lifestyles remain galaxies apart. Much of the fun in the series continues to come from the ways in which Brett portrays his heroines' -relationship--they can't understand each other, but they band together to solve tiny Fethering's amazing number of murders. This time, Jude consults with Pete, Fethering's well-respected decorator, on a color scheme for her cottage. She meets him at the old rectory, which has gone through any number of changes and is now being converted into holiday flats. As they consult, Pete hammers opens a plywood panel, revealing a woman's handbag containing little except a passport. Police dismiss the case as not just cold but dead, since the woman disappeared more than 20 years ago. Jude and Carole plug away, using their contacts to tap into the vast reservoir of village gossip and history, and eventually uncovering secrets of cruelty and abuse held within the much-converted rectory. An edgy cozy, filled with dry wit and deft plot twists.

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

Early in Edgar finalist Brett's lively 21st mystery set in the West Sussex town of Fethering (after 2021's Guilt at the Garage), Jude Nichols, who works as a healer, drops by Footscrow House, a large Victorian mansion known locally as Fiasco House because nobody seems to be able to make money from it, to talk to her decorator, Pete, about the color choice for her sitting room. Pete is part of the team converting the building to holiday flats for a property developer. While Pete is demolishing a wall, he and Jude discover a handbag in the rubble, which belonged to Anita Garner, a young woman who went missing some 30 years earlier. Speculation about Garner's whereabouts was considerable at the time, and her disappearance has remained one of Fethering's great unsolved mysteries. When the town's designated prime suspect is murdered, Jude and her prickly friend and neighbor, Carole Seddon, a retired civil servant, each using their own inimitable methods, investigate. As usual, Brett supplies plausible if eccentric characters, brisk dialogue, and a plot full of surprising twists and amusing detours. This is sprightly good fun. Agent: Lisa Moylett, CMM Agency (U.K.) (July)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

After coming upon a handbag hidden in a wall, a mismatched pair of women of a certain age seek the truth about what happened to the bag's owner in the insular British town of Fethering. Footscrow House is being revamped once again in another incarnation. The seemingly doomed manse locals have dubbed Fiasco House because it's been the site of many unsuccessful ventures is being converted into holiday flats. Bohemian healer Jude is less interested in the reno than in engaging the project's painter and decorator, Pete, to help redecorate Woodside Cottage, her own home. While she's meeting with Pete at the Fiasco House site, the two discover a handbag hidden within the walls of the house. A passport in the bag suggests that it belongs to an Anita Garner. Jude, who knows a woman would never willingly leave her bag, feels an immediate kinship with the bag's owner, who vanished without a trace more than 20 years ago. Jude consults her neighbor and partner in investigating, Carole Seddon, in search of further insight. Jude's outside-the-box perspective and Carole's old-fashioned doggedness make them a chalk-and-cheese team with a history of resolving other local mysteries. According to town gossip, Anita's disappearance may have coincided with some impropriety relating to male attention, likely from someone still in town. Though longtime residents close ranks to stymie Jude and Carole in their pursuit of the truth, the surprising death of someone who might have known more spurs their investigation. The familiar but still unlikely duo play to their strengths in this mannerly cozy. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.