2004 mystery; fifth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Jude is helping out at the Hopwicke Country House Hotel,
but the morning after a boozy meeting of the Pillars of Sussex, an
organisation of local businessmen, one of them doesn't come down to
breakfast… because he's hanging from a beam of his four-poster bed.
Obviously a suicide…
…or obviously not, but proving it will be hard work, especially
when the Pillars of Sussex close ranks to disassociate themselves from
the victim. Everybody's far too willing to talk to Carole and Jude, as
usual, but a key player appears for the first time three-quarters of
the way through the book, which doesn't help matters.
Most of the investigation is a trudge through local businesses, and
Brett's usual cast of horrible people. Everyone has something to hide,
of course, and it usually reinforces how ghastly they are.
As in The Torso in the Town, the ultimate villain goes unpunished,
which again seems to be a violation of the principles of murder
mysteries: the detectives find themselves stymied and essentially give
up and go home. But they do that seemingly because there are only a
few pages left; if it were half-way through the book they'd go after
some alternative source of information, and for their behaviour to be
so blatantly affected by a non-diegetic element breaks my suspension
But in this book, the mystery is the bread on which the pâté of human
drama is spread: what are these people's secrets, and how do they
react as things come out? Also, this marks a significant achievement
in the process of Carole's transformation into a human being, as she
finds herself become able to talk with her son and his fiancée in a
way she certainly wouldn't have been when the series started.
(However, I think Brett realised that without having Carole as a
pompous prig he loses the contrast she strikes against free-spirited
Jude, so her progress from this point on is much slower and sometimes
Followed by The Witness at the Wedding.
2015 short science fiction, dir. Luke Gilford, Pamela Anderson, Dree
An ageing fitness instructor is dissatisfied with her life, in
particular feeling disconnected from the world, and looks for a way to
2003 historical detection, thirteenth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher
series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne investigates a
mummified corpse found in a carnival attraction.
Operation Hard Sell
was the adventure that convinced me I should stop running Torg, at
least for a while. Spoilers for this adventure follow.
2003; fourth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Bracketts, an Elizabethan house, is to be turned into a
museum celebrating the life and work of the local poet Esmond
Chadleigh, its most famous resident. Then a skull is dug up in the
Back to this small quarterly boardgames convention in Watford, the
first one I've got to for a while as it's usually announced at fairly
short notice. With images;
1994 science fiction, sequel to The Ring of Charon. This review
contains spoilers for that first book.
2015 mystery novel adaptation, 11 episodes:
"Everything Becomes F" or "The Perfect Insider". Shiki Magata killed
her parents when she was fourteen, but her mind was clearly disturbed,
and she's a brilliant programmer; for the fifteen years since then,
she's been confined to a few rooms within a research lab, with
extremely restricted communication with the outside world. And yet,
someone has managed to murder her.
2002 mystery; third in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). The couple who've just moved into the Big House in
Fedborough, inland up the river from Fethering, throw a dinner party
to try to get into the local social scene… which is somewhat spoiled
when a limbless body is discovered in the cellar.
I wanted to improve the experience of playing Surburbia, so I
designed some organisational aids.