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by Simon Brett
Macmillan, March 2006
300 pages
ISBN: 1405041374

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

If you enjoy traditional British mysteries set in a country village, look no further than THE STABBING IN THE STABLES by Simon Brett. Set in and around the village of Fethering on the South Downs, this is the seventh outing for amateur sleuth duo Carole Seddon and her next-door neighbour Jude.

Carole is a retired divorcee who used to work for the Home Office, was very strait-laced, but is gradually relaxing her attitude to life as she gets friendlier with the altogether more worldly Jude. They both agree that there is nothing more enjoyable than unravelling the occasional murder.

Jude, who works as an alternative therapist and healer, takes on a new challenge when one of her regular clients, the wealthy Sonia Dalrymple, asks her to try healing one of her horses which has a lame knee. Carole drives Jude to Long Bamber Stables for the session, but they arrive to find the place deserted, except for the newly-murdered stable owner Walter Fleet.

The police take charge, but not until after Carole and Jude do a quick look round. Within days the police take a heavy-drinking former jockey in for questioning, a move that seems to provoke greater outrage from Sonia and the victim's wife Lucinda than the murder itself, which simply has to be worth investigating.

Unlike some mystery protagonists, our duo have no links to the police so like the rest of Fethering their information on the case comes only from the local news, or it would if they didn't make it their business too. Working both individually and as a team, they get to know various people connected with the stables and contrive to be in the right places when a sympathetic ear is needed, or a new fact comes to light, learning enough to help them solve the crime.

Simon Brett is a great wit and his inherent humour, lightness of touch and undoubted skills as a storyteller make THE STABBING IN THE STABLES a pleasure to read. There are a slew of interesting characters and plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep the reader eagerly turning the pages towards the conclusion, and enough secrets to make it an intriguing mystery. A great antidote to the British winter, it's what curling up on the sofa was made for.

Reviewed by Bridget Bolton, February 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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