When Bartholomew Fynche, the owner of the antiquity shop ‘Bygone Era’ in the quaint little village of Little Shendon is murdered, Inspector Burgess calls in help from his friends to investigate the crime – for which there are too many suspects as Fynch had a dark past and was not particularly liked…
A Hazlitt-Brandon Murder Mystery #1
A regular Thursday in LIttle Shendon – the shops close early and because of that, there are many who pop in the ‘Bygone Era’ just before closing time. Not all come in peace. Some have messages and business to discuss. They decide to wait until later as it is just too busy. Unbeknownst to them, that ‘later’ will never come. Because later that afternoon, Fynche’s cleaning lady makes a gruesome discovery… her boss is brutally murdered! Quite the task for Inspector Burgess who decides to call in some help…
Inspector Burgess realises that Fynche’s murder might be much more complicated than it seems. Where the villagers would love the case to be a burglary gone wrong, executed by an outsider, Burgess knows that such is not the case. For one, only Fynche’s ring is stolen. Furthermore, Fynche has a somewhat secret past as he worked for MI5 during WWII as a decipherer and code specialist. And he was an expert on the field of antiquities of which there are a lot in the ‘Bygone Era.’ Burgess feels the case might very well be over his head, hence his calling in ‘the troops’ in the form of his friend, Sir Victor Hazlitt, whose friend, the actor Beresford ‘Berrie’ Brandon, needs little convincing to tag along. A murder with the possibility of a motive linking to a secret past… who would not want a chance to investigate?!
The village of Little Shendon is buzzing with excitement and rumours about the murder. As to a motive, almost everyone living there feels animosity towards Fynche as the man was not particularly liked and his demeanour could be rude at times. With most of the villagers having been in or around the antique shop prior to the murder, it is no wonder that the investigation involves interviews with everyone living there. Inspector Burgess, Victor Hazlitt and Berrie Brandon each visit villagers to ask them about their whereabouts on the day of the murder. Soon, they have their suspects lined up for them as with almost every interview, a new suspect can be added to the list. There are doubts and thoughts unspoken, left hanging in the air and soon, a shocking event upsets the whole of the village…. Will they capture the murderer before he or she strikes again?
I love a cosy mystery and love the feel of the picturesque village, the way the author takes the time to describe the characters and their surroundings. This is not for those, who are looking for a fast-paced thriller but for those, who enjoy a classic whodunit, a Golden Age murder mystery. It was a pleasant read in which the author takes the reader along on the investigation with the detectives, to discover clue after clue and put the pieces of the puzzle together. The three men investigating the case are each in their own agreeable characters – Police Inspector Burgess, his friend Sir Hazlitt and the actor Beresford (‘Berrie’) Brandon.
Where I first had to smile upon recognising the name ‘Beresford’ (after Agatha Christie’s famous sleuthing duo – Tommy and Tuppence Beresford), I soon realised that the whole book was, in fact, filled with references to Agatha Christie’s detective novels, especially ‘A Pocketful of Rye’. The secretary having difficulty with brewing tea, the quaint village, the elderly lady (although with somewhat different characteristics), the housemaid Gladys (not as clumsy as Agatha Christie’s!), how a murder took place, and the way the investigation is executed and many more details. I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie but if you are going to write a story involving so many references to her characters and events, just mention it, for instance by calling it a tribute to Agatha Christie, that would have felt better – right – to me.
To me, that was the only ‘snag’ because all in all, this was a pleasant read. I very much enjoyed this well-written cosy murder mystery wherein the author paints a beautiful picture of the characters, the village, and the events and invites the reader to tag along with the investigators on their trail to find the murderer amongst the many suspects presented to us. Of the three detectives, I loved the two friends who were asked to help: Victor Hazlitt and Berrie Brandon. They are a great duo! We are privy to each and every discovery they make which makes it a special treat for me. I love to have the case presented to me and to puzzle the pieces together! Oh, and I forgot to mention how much I love the name of the antique shop, the ‘Bygone Era.’ An entertaining book to read sitting next to a cosy fire with a nice cup of tea.
About the Author
Author A. H. Richardson was born in London, England, and is the daughter of famous pianist and composer Clive Richardson. She studied drama and acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Before she became an author she was an actress, a musician, a painter and sculptor. She has published two children’s chapter books, Jorie and the Magic Stones, and the sequel Jorie and the Gold Key, and she is currently working on the third book in the series.
A.H. Richardson also enjoys writing murder mysteries and who-dun-its. She is the author of the Hazlitt/Brandon series of murder mystery novels. The series follows a pair of clever, colourful and charismatic sleuths – Sir Victor Hazlitt and Beresford Brandon. The series includes Murder in Little Shendon, Act One, Scene One – Murder, and Murder at Serenity Farm. A.H. Richardson lives happily in East Tennessee, her adopted state, and has three sons, three grandchildren, and two pugs. She speaks four languages and loves to do voiceovers. She plans on writing many more books and hopes to delight her readers further with her British twist, which all her books have.
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (28 Aug. 2015)|