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An Unholy Whiff of Death
Monica Noble Mysteries - Book II
Joyce Cato

Robert Hale
30 September 2015/ ISBN 9780719816253

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


When vicar’s wife Monica Noble is asked to judge in a flower show at the village fete, she is less than keen but bravely steps up to help. There is much rivalry between growers and judges, and not only regarding the flowers. From a disgruntled ex-military man and his gardener to a local chemical manufacturer and his estranged wife, everybody has something to hide, or is out to get something. But it is something of a surprise when the murder victim is a local vicar, and particularly when he is killed in such a very bizarre way?

Following on from An Unholy Mess (also reviewed on this site), this is perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and “The Midsomer Murders.” Monica turns sleuth once again and comes up against handsome single detective Jason Dury, while juggling the twin responsibilities of being an irreproachable vicar’s wife and mother to teenage siren/wannabe model Carole Anne. Set a short while after the first book, the summer is still baking hot, and the author is excellent at describing this and getting under the skin of the various characters. From the blusters of Sir Hugh to the teenage silliness of Carole Anne, the people might veer towards being stock characters, but they still seem to have a life of their own. This is not a long book and it has a linear storyline with no sub plots, but it doesn’t really need them. Instead there is a first-rate claustrophobic study of tempers at boiling point as the sun beats down and suspects are boxed into a stifling tent. I guessed whodunit but still enjoyed the ride; I look forward to the third book.

Reviews of other titles in this series

An Unholy Mess #1
An Unholy Whiff of Death #2

Reviewed 2015