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Tuesday 11 July 2017

'Shot in Southwold' by Suzette Hill

Published by Allison & Busby,
18 May 2017.
ISBN 978-0-7490-2131-3

A tongue in cheek murder mystery set in 1960.  Bartholomew Hackle is shooting a movie in the Suffolk town of Southwold.  The film is called The Languid Labyrinth and proves to be so labyrinthine as to be meaningless!   The Languid Labyrinth is set in two times and many characters make gnomic comments that are irrelevant.  

The point is that an assemblage of interesting characters gathers in Southwold - Hackle, the director, cameraman, Fred accompanied by his enormous dog, Pixie (whose name belies the reality), Felix Smythe, a flower shop owner who has been asked to play a role in the film, Cedric Dillworthy, a professor who has just published his book, Cappadocian Capers, Lady Fawcett, whose daughter is possibly engaged to Bartholomew, and her friend Rosie Gilchrist.  Several of them had unfortunate memories of Southwold - a previous book deals with this.   

The murder of a female member of the cast leads Rosie, Lady Fawcett, Felix and Cedric into a labyrinth of their own.  Why was the girl killed and where?   The local police, Chief Inspector Nathan and Detective Sergeant Jennings struggle to find the evidence and solve the crime.  The visitors see them as inimical and prefer not to tell them about anything.     The junior policeman is an Agatha Christie fan and likes words like 'opaque' and 'phlegmatic' so his ruminations on the crime prove interesting!   Further mayhem follows to the bemusement of Nathan and Jennings.  

An amusing read, indeed!
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
Suzette Hill has several previous mysteries involving Rosie Gilchrist and some of the characters of this book.  She has also written a series featuring the Reverend Francis Oughterard, and a follow-up series featuring his sister Primrose Oughterard.

Suzette Hill was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, in 1941; but has lived in many  locations - the Midlands, Nottingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Berkshire - and finally in retirement to Ledbury in Hereforshire. Although being an English graduate of two universities and having taught ‘Eng. Lit.’ all her professional life, she never did ever contemplate doing any creative writing herself. It was only when she was sixty-four and well retired, that out of idle curiosity she thought she might try her hand at a short story - just to see what writing fiction felt like. And to her ongoing surprise the Bones series is the result!  Publishers Constable & Robinson.  A Little Murder is the first in a new series featuring Rosy Gilchrist. Followed The Venetian Venture & A Southwold Mystery The Primrose Pursuit the first book featuring Primrose Oughterard, a sequel to the earlier ‘Bones’ series..

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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