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    Review of BLOOD AT THE BOOKIES by Simon Brett (see his website)


    Five Star, August 2008

    Jude and Carole are delighted when a young Polish man is murdered in their small English town and Jude is the first to find his body. They can sleuth around and find the killer, perhaps even before the police do. So, Jude and Carole set out to track down clues. Why, exactly, did Tadeusz Jankowski wander into a betting shop as he was dying? Who was the mysterious woman he'd been seen talking to at that same betting shop some months before? More ominously, what happened to the guitar and CDs that young musician kept with him at all times which don't show up in the police list of items? Finally, what was his connection to the local college? It's enough to keep Jude and Carole happily investigating for weeks.

    Jude and Carole quickly learn that not everyone is especially sympathetic. Prejudice against immigrants from Eastern Europe runs strong in small-town England. The two track down one suspect after another and both meet men who raise some distinct feelings although neither believes anything serious can come of it.

    Author Simon Brett writes convincingly of small-town England. The pubs, the local bigotry, the snobishness of those who attended 'public schools,' and the characters in the betting shop all come through clearly. His sleuths, Jude and Carole, in contrast, don't do as well. Their motive for involving themselves doesn't seem to justify their actions. The two are quick to jump to conclusions (both about suspects and about one another) that are both unwarranted and silly. And ultimately, all of their work isn't really necessary as the police would have discovered the killer perfectly well without their involvement. BLOOD AT THE BOOKIES is readable and there's a lot going for it, but the unsympathetic protagonists make it hard for me to recommend this mystery very highly.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 10/05/09

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