Blood at the Bookies by Simon Brett

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Blood at the Bookies by Simon Brett

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Peter Magee
Reviewed by Peter Magee
Summary: Carol and Jude investigate the murder of a Polish immigrant in a town where multi-culturalism is slow to catch on. It's a page-turner with a twist in the tale and recommended by Bookbag.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: March 2008
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 978-0230014572

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Carole had always thought that the local betting shop was a den of iniquity and it seems that she's been proved right. Jude was in there placing a bet for an elderly neighbour when Polish immigrant Tadeusz Jankowski stumbled into the betting shop. Fifi… he murmured - and a moment later he died. But who was Tadeusz Jankowski and what was he doing in Fethering? No one seems to know, but there's blood in the betting shop and Jude and Carol set out to solve the mystery in this ninth novel in the Fethering Mysteries series.

If you've picked this book up because you have an abiding interest in racing or gambling then I'm afraid that you're going to be disappointed. Equally, if you've no knowledge of either then it won't stop you enjoying the book. It's the milieu in which the story takes place rather than a way of life. That said, Simon Brett has either had a miss-spent youth or his research is impeccable as he's spot on with the setting and the terminology.

I did wonder if I was going to enjoy the book in the very early chapters as the writing style seemed ponderous but I warmed to his descriptions of life in a small English country town which has yet to accept that modern life is multi-cultural. Brett has an excellent eye for the prejudices which flourish and a talent for bringing the people to life.

The plot picked up pace and proved to be a real page-turner. I'm not normally a fan of the citizen-investigator novels but the investigative style of the heroines was refreshing. It's not an easy task to make the rather pedestrian approach of the police convincing but Brett achieved it with panache. I was reasonably convinced that I knew 'whodunit' and why but there's a twist in the tale that caught me completely unaware.

This is the first of the Fethering Mysteries to come my way – in fact the first novel by Simon Brett – and I found no difficulty in reading it as a stand-alone novel and there are no spoilers for earlier books in the series. It's an easy and entertaining read.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If you are interested in betting and horse racing then we can recommend Hitting the Turf: A Punting Life by David Ashforth. If you like the idea of the citizen investigator then you might enjoy The Chippendale Factor by John Malcolm.

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Buy Blood at the Bookies by Simon Brett at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blood at the Bookies by Simon Brett at


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Jill said:

Going by these 'ere parts, everyone's a citizen investigator in small English country towns!