The Body on the Beach

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
the body on the beach book cover

Simon Brett 2000; Fethering #1

Regimented (some might say rigid), conscientious Carole Seddon is self-contained and reserved; imagine her dismay when she meets her new neighbor Jude (just Jude), who has a slight Bohemian flair and thinks out of the box.

When Carole discovers a Body on the Beach, followed by dangerous confrontations, she reluctantly welcomes Jude’s support. In the way of all cozy mysteries, the two form an alliance to figure out who that body is, and why it disappeared after Carole reported it to the police. The two confer and plan, and they ply their neighbors with intrusive questions that no one would ever ask or answer in real life unless one of them is the police.  In Fethering though, with judicious use of “good cop/bad cop” tactics (Carole is the bad cop), the pair manages to get answers.

Actually, this brings up a good point: every aspect of this crime is solved by Carole and Jude, who are completely unhindered by any hint of police involvement – or any hint of police, period.   Where is the cozy mystery staple: the dimwitted inspector? What about the goodhearted sergeant who bales out the amateur sleuths at the last minute?

Will I continue to listen to this series? Yes, and here’s why:  1) I want to know what’s up with Jude. 2)The author has built the beginnings of a nice imaginary world. 3) Geoffrey Howard (Ralph Cosham) narrates. 4) Many of the audiobooks in the series are included in my Audible membership.  5) I want to see if the police ever actually show up.

If you decide to read or listen, you should know that the facts surrounding that dead body are very dark – darker than usually seen in a village mystery.