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Wednesday 27 April 2016

‘Cat Among the Herrings’ by L C Tyler

Published by Allison & Busby,
18 February 2016.
ISBN: 978-0-74901-986-0

The village of West Wittering was burying the last of the Paghams, a family, the rector said had for centuries been significant landowners in the area. That the family fortunes had in recent years declined through gambling, drinking and bribery, he glossed over. Robin Pagham had met a tragic end when out sailing. “Probably drunk” mused the congregation.  However, it appeared that Robin’s fiancée Catrina did not share the general view, as just as they were all ready to take their leave of the church and head for refreshment at the wake, Catrina lifted her veil and surveying the congregation declared: ‘One of you bastards murdered Robin, and I’m going to have your arse.’

At the wake Ethelred Tressidor funds himself buttonholed by Catrina to find out who killed Robin, but he politely refuses. However, when taxed by journalist Tom Gittings, who reveals that his family and the Paghams have lived side by side as it were for centuries, and asks Ethelred to look into the murder of his ancestor John Gittings, he is intrigued. After all, there might be a book in it.

When Ethelred’s former agent Elsie Thirkettle  gets wind of a possible murder investigation in the village of West Wittering, she wastes no time in scheduling a visit. While Elthelred proceeds to investigate the murder of John Gittings, Elsie pursues her own investigations, with comic results.

Despite their current estrangement it was joy to visit again with Elthelred and Elsie. An intriguing murder, interspersed with the life of a literary agent.  All those rejection letters to write, to point budding authors in the right direction with encouragement and kindness. And to help one’s PA to understand irony.

I loved this book. And heartily recommend it.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

L. C. Tyler was born in Southend, Essex, and educated at Southend High School for Boys, Jesus College Oxford and City University London. After university he joined the Civil Service and worked at the Department of the Environment in London and Hong Kong. He then moved to the British Council, where his postings included Malaysia, Thailand, Sudan and Denmark.

Since returning to the UK he has lived in Sussex and London, and was Chief Executive of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health for eleven years. He is now a full time writer. His first novel, The Herring Seller's Apprentice, was published by Macmillan in 2007, followed by A Very Persistent Illusion, Ten Little Herrings, The Herring in the Library and Herring on the Nile. The first book in a new historical series, A Cruel Necessity, was published by Constable and Robinson in November 2014. The follow up is A Masterpiece of Corruption and was published in January 2016.

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