The Death on the Downs

Rating: 4 out of 5.
death on the downs book cover

Simon Brett 2001 (Fethering Mysteries #2)

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Middle-aged amateur detective duo Carole and Jude have another mystery to solve after Carole, sheltering in an old barn during a rainstorm, discovers some human bones. How old are these bones? What was the cause of death, and who put the bones in the barn?

This installment of the Fethering Mysteries features many elements of a good cozy – two pubs, each with its regulars, a dinner party at which most of the suspects are introduced, several shady pasts, and at least one red herring. The ending is deliciously drawn out, which allows the reader or listener plenty of time to try their hand at naming the murderer before the big reveal. I enjoy this plot device, which is used often on the long-running British crime TV series “Midsomer Murders.” (You may be familiar with it – the soon-to-be-victim answers the door to someone that is not shown on camera, and says “Oh, it’s you!” – just before they’re stabbed or shot or strangled.)

Geoffrey Howard (Ralph Cosham) narrates beautifully. It’s sometimes hard to differentiate between “he” and “she” in this book, due to Cosham’s speaking style and accent.

You don’t have to read The Body on the Beach, the first book in the series, to enjoy Book #2; there is only a very minimal loss of context, and the plot is not impacted. If you love contemporary British cozy mysteries with heroines of a certain age who have issues, you’ll enjoy this entire series.

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