Review: A Canterbury Crime by Brian Kavanagh

The fourth novel in this series sees antiques dealer Hazel Whitby and her young friend and colleague Belinda Lawrence head to Canterbury to catalogue the valuable contents of the stately home of Professor de Gray who died six months previously. Although his death was assumed to be of natural causes Belinda and Hazel soon realise that there were several people who might have benefited from the Professor’s death, especially as he was reported to be writing a book that would expose new information about the 12th century murder of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. Along with Belinda’s boyfriend Mark they embark on an investigation which looks like it might get a bit dangerous.

As always with this series there’s a good mix of contemporary action and historical detail in A Canterbury Crime and I enjoyed learning a thing or two about centuries-old religious squabbles (some things never change). Kavanagh is a dab hand at weaving the historical information into his modern stories, using Hazel’s professional knowledge and a variety of local experts to provide just the right amount of background to make the story interesting.

Along with our intrepid three investigators, of whom the gin-drinking and younger man bonking Hazel is my favourite, there are some memorable characters specific to this novel. The Professor’s former assistant, who has hired Hazel and reminds Belinda of Mrs Danvers, plays a major role in the story as does a rather odd housekeeper and a man who is desperate to work at the Canterbury archives. Although there are ‘developments’ in Belinda and Mark’s relationship in this outing it’s still not totally resolved (which of course means I can still hope that she hooks up with her former Australian boyfriend instead of Mark).

A Canterbury Crime is a refreshingly short, traditional mystery with a great sense of humour and a light touch.

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A Canterbury Crime has also been reviewed at Mysteries in Paradise

I have reviewed two of the previous three books in this series, The Embroidered Corpse and Bloody Ham

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My rating 3.5/5
Publisher BeWrite Books [2010]
ISBN 9781906609429
Length 145 pages
Format eBook (ePub)
Source I bought it

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3 Responses to Review: A Canterbury Crime by Brian Kavanagh

  1. Bernadette – Terrific review! Thanks for this. These folks are great characters, and I, too, admire it when authors weave knowledge (in this case, of history) into their novels. You also touch on another thing that I think makes for a good series: just a few things left up to question, so the reader wants to go for the next book.

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  2. BooksPlease says:

    I like the sound of this – the historical side particularly. I also like the fact you say it’s refreshingly short!

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