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on 23 February 2014
The humour in this book is understated but packs a massive punch that could make a manic depressive break out into giggles. Downtrodden Ray is a Walter-Mitty type character, an unexciting guy who runs a supermarket in a sleepy village. Just as he decides to become a detective people start getting themselves murdered in the village – his new career timing is spot on.
The delight of the book is the absurdity, plus the colourful characters: Ray’s friend Tony, corpulent, usually drunk, spouting such perpetual nonsense that you can’t tell if he’s inebriated or just plain stupid. Ray’s monosyllabic wife Laura, who pays much more attention to munching fruit and watching slushy TV programmes than to her husband. Julia, Ray’s mousey second-in-command at the food store, who is efficient and beautiful, though she’s too modest to acknowledge it.
The humour is the understatement that ignites a mounting tide of delightful absurdity. The most gruesome murders keep happening, but Ray frowns, then has a long pensive break to consider things while drinking his endless cups of tea. The rest of the village also remain unperturbed too in the face of the unknown homicidal maniac, and the murders mount up, while the villagers accept the inevitable and accuse each other at will of being the culprit. Ray may be a twit, but he’s an eminently likeable twit. There’s a wisecracking pub landlord (who’s absorbed much of his customers' stupidity), a profane vicar, and a grouchy old lady customer at Ray’s supermarket, whose perpetual complaints would try the patience of a saint.
Who can blame poor old Ray for wanting to have the life of a glamorous detective, solving crimes and making money? Does he, in fact become a 21st-century Sherlock Homes? Does the murderer get caught? And is Laura really only interested in exotic fruits and films peopled by Colin Frith, or Colin Firth lookalikes?
You’ll have to read the book to find out. I promise you the ending is quite a surprise that I never saw coming.
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on 7 May 2014
The story is about Ray, a Supermarket Manager in a small village called Diddlebury who thinks up some bizarre money making schemes, the latest being to work as a private detective in the village itself. The plan is to investigate some low level issues like missing pets, stolen garden furniture, marital affairs in a place that hardly suffers from crime.

What follows his announcement in the local pub are three gruesome murders of some locals involving detached body parts and him becoming the prime suspect although that doesn't stop him from continuing with the private detective work landing him in further incriminating situations. However what Ray doesn't know is that he is potentially next on the list of Diddlebury's growing body count and there's only one person who can save him!

I don't think until I got through two thirds of the book did I start to accurately suspect who the actual murderer was although even then it was still one of two people. I found Ray and Laura's relationship and interactions really hillarious, complete opposites them two! I would love to know how they got together in the first place. The regular meetings in the village pub to investigate the murders with Michael the landlord, Tony, Edward, the Vicar and the rest of the crowd was also fun to read about as were the completely deluded conclusions they were coming up with :)

This book is mad, witty, funny with some dry humour from Laura especially and some very memorable characters. The story has a great plot and a fantastic surprise ending. Lets also not forget all those cups of tea and pints of beer in between the drama and hunt for the murderer.

I would rename this book 'Murder, pints of beer and cups of tea' - only joking! :)
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on 29 January 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this short story about serial murder in a village. It has a touch of Midsomer Murders about it, but with far more interesting characters - Ray, a supermarket manager who spends more time drinking tea and trying (unsuccessfully) to solve the recent spate of murders than actually managing anything; his fruit-eating disinterested wife, Laura, who seems more interested in the television than her bewildered husband; supermarket employees Julia and the incompetent Adam plus all the other beer swilling, would-be detectives who inhabit the village.
This novella is well-written and has an interesting plot. The characters are endearing and thee storyline descriptive. I found myself reading until the wee small hours, which for me is a sign of a great book. 5/5 starts - I'm really looking forward to reading more from Phil Church!
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on 9 November 2017
Fun to read, so much so that I wasn't really intrigued to find out who the murderer was. Likable characters, especially Laura and Tony. In fact, I'd rather like to pop into that pub for a glass of wine...I certainly wouldn't be bored.
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on 25 March 2014
This was a great book to read in between my usual thrillers and chillers,it was light and funny.I guess you have to be a fan of this type of humour, I used to love a tv show called Northern Exposure set in Alaska with some seriously strange villagers this was like that but on a smaller scale set in an English village,I thought it was great fun.
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on 22 October 2017
Not for me. I found it slow and cumbersome to read and really couldn't get into the plot or like the characters. It was well written but really could have done with a bit of humour.
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on 19 March 2014
This is the first book I have read by this author but it definitely won’t be my last. It was a delightfully funny and captivating read from the very beginning. Pure escapism into the farcical world of Ray, (who I could not help picturing as Reece Shearsmith, of The League of Gentlemen), the hapless village supermarket manager who has grand ideas of becoming a detective to escape his mundane life. Almost as soon as he decides to embark on his new hobby, murders in the village become rife. I loved the writing style and humour of this author and would thoroughly recommend you read it.
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on 16 March 2014
The pub scenes in this book are so droll - you'll easily recognise the range of characters as "typical" but Phil Church rescues them from their intrinsic capacity to bore with his light touch and flair for gentle mockery. The plot could have been exasperating but its very unlikeliness makes the whole book great fun. I did guess the ending but that didn't spoil it one bit. More please like this and "Thrift"! (@anniecross1).
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on 19 March 2014
This is the first book I've read by this author and I really enjoyed it. I didn' t guess the ending, which is always a good sign, and I was kept interested and amused throughout.
I thoroughly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good tongue in cheek whodunit.
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on 25 March 2014
I love cosy crime, it's my guilty pleasure, it's my tonic after a long stressful day juggling work/kids/life, so I'm always on the lookout for new books to read. I nearly passed this one over, I'm not keen on madcap mayhem type humour in books & I thought this might well contain some & it does in a way, but in such a delightful quirky engaging form that I couldn't put the book down, I read it in one sitting (obviously with lots of cups of tea.
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