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Death on the Downs (A Fethering Mystery Book 2) Kindle Edition
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This series has a familiarity to it; the same area, the same locations, the same characters and the same local sleuths; Carole Seddon and her neighbour Jude.
Carole comes across a bag full of human bones whilst out walking one wet miserable day. The shock of her find turns to intrigue as she (plus Jude) want to find out the truth about who these bones belong to and how they came to be so carelessly left where they could be found.
Brett introduces local characters to keep the red herrings and the story alive. Especially when the locals believe it is a missing woman who fell ill and seemingly disappears. Jude knows this missing woman and about her illness; but also knows that something is wrong, and her mothers' reactions to the bones being found is out of the ordinary. Even DS Lennie Bayliss's lack of detecting on the case and lack of concern about illegal activities in his village is strange.
Together Carole and Jude use the skills they have to finally reach the correct conclusion but not without some serious consequences along the way.
The second book builds on the two main characters Carole and Jude and we find more about their background d, especially Jude who though we see an insight into her life, still remains ever mysterious to use the reader and her neighbour Carole who just will not ask the right questions!
Carole Seddon once again stumbles on evidence of foul play when she uncovers a human skeleton while seeking shelter from the rain in an old barn. The local police are very sympathetic and even offer her counseling. Carole learns that there's been a young woman missing for four months. Could that be the victim? When Carole shares her experiences and theory with Jude, Jude is floored. She knows the missing woman!
Carole begins to exploit her developing social skills to find out more about what's going on in Weldisham, where she found the bones. Jude uses her alternative therapy contacts (and a little blackmail) to check out other lines of inquiry.
Carole knows she's on the right track when she begins to receive threats. Before the story is over, she'll pay a high price for her curiosity.
Readers who enjoyed The Body on the Beach will find Death on the Downs to be an easier book to read, with more interesting action.
This series is well worth reading and I hope you enjoy it!
Simon Brett's books are not complex and demanding puzzles designed to test our ingenuity and intelligence as we try to work out who is the murderer; rather, they are an opportunity for him to invent interesting characters and indulge his undeniable sense of humour.
It is best to read the Fethering books in the correct order because the story of the central characters is developed in each. They are light and amusing stories which are undemanding and quite fun. Simon Brett is a prolific writer and seems to get a lot of fun out of writing his books and that enjoyment is catching.
I found myself a little frustrated that this book wasn't as much of a double-header as the first. We're aligned with Carole throughout both books, but her interaction with Jude was one of the most interesting aspects of the first book, and here it seems to come second to some repetitive scenes.
The plot felt awkward as well - everything is there, suspects, clues, twists - but it didn't quite flow together into a narrative and I didn't feel compelled to keep reading. The slightly different setting to the first book felt forced, as if the author was trying to avoid the classic mystery novel conundrum of many murders in one town, but actually it just seemed like all the effort of setting the scene in the first book was wasted.
Although I've criticised the book quite a bit, it certainly wasn't bad, and I have no plans to discontinue reading the series. I just hope that this was a single dud.
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