RogerBW's Blog

The Witness at the Wedding, Simon Brett 02 September 2016

2005 mystery; sixth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing). Carole's son is getting married, but the bride's parents are oddly reluctant to have any announcements made… and then the father is strangled.

A murderer has just been released from prison after a thirty-year stretch, and the new killing seems to match his style, but of course things are never that straightforward; before things are over all sorts of secrets will have come out, with that old murder (among other things) dredged up and re-examined. It's clear enough for the experienced mystery reader to work out what's going on, but still presents a minor challenge.

The real treat here is for for followers of the series: Carole's ex-husband David finally comes on stage. This is a really tricky bit of writing, because while he's obviously going to be horrible – and Brett can do horrible people in his sleep – we also have to see what about him could have appealed to the ultra-conventional Carole of decades past who married him and raised a child with him. I think Brett just about pulls it off.

A third strand deals with Jude's journalist friend Gita, recovering from a breakdown, but she's mostly there to provide background information rather than our protagonists discovering it for themselves; as before, they do what they do almost entirely by talking with people, most of whom are far too ready to give up their secrets to these interfering middle-aged women.

I think on reflection that this is probably the best of the series. Followed by The Stabbing in the Stables.

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