Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Death of a Teacher
The Norbridge Chronicles Murder Mystery Book III
Lis Howell

Robert Hale
31 December 2010/ ISBN 9780709091608
Mystery / Contemporary / Cumbria, England
Amazon US || UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Readers of The Flower Arranger At All Saints and The Chorister at the Abbey (also reviewed on this site) will be pleased to see that this series now has a third volume. Formerly published by Constable and Robinson, now by Robert Hale you can once again read about the adventures of Suzy Spencer, soon-to-be-married mother of two and sometime sleuth. Suzy’s daughter, Molly, has hit puberty and been ditched by all her former friends due to some puppy fat and spots; instead she has a new best friend in the shape of quiet, enigmatic Becky Dixon. Their school is going through a rocky period with the deputy head off with depression, the head losing his focus, and a lot of bitchy conspiring amongst the teachers. Then a body is found with his eyes slashed, and nobody can identify him…

I’ve said good things about this series that manages to mix the “cozy” features of an amateur sleuth in a picturesque background with a compelling (and often satirical) look at the vicissitudes of modern life with an intriguing religious slant. The stories are plot and character driven with plenty of local color and some original twists that are all their own. This is a slightly longer tale that is as much about the people, their community and private lives as it is about solving a mystery. At times it flags when old ground is gone over a little too much, but in the main, this is another page-turner. And no, I didn’t guess whodunit. There is even a slight frisson of the supernatural (very slight in case you are not into that sort of thing) making it a book that will appeal to fans of Phil Rickman as well as the satirical and equally community based work of Caroline Graham. In short, there is a lot to enjoy, from the portrait of a school gone wrong to eavesdropping on the frequently tormented lives of the various characters. I do hope we won’t have to wait another two years for the next in this series.

Reviewer's Note:

Reviewed 2011
© 2011