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The Liar in the Library
Fethering Mysteries – Book XVIII
Simon Brett

Crème de la Crime (Severn House)
29 September 2017/ ISBN 9781780291017
British Mystery

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde 

Amazon US || Amazon UK

Bestselling author Burton St Clair is booked to give a talk at Fethering Library, and he invites his old friend, Jude, along. He has a new wife and a new name since they last met twenty years earlier, but he is still vain and self-obsessed, a man who thinks that all women are after him. Jude expects to be bored, but she does not expect a death; nor does she expect to be the prime suspect in a case where the detectives do not appear to be looking any further than her. It is up to Jude with neighbor, Carole, in tow to investigate.

Eighteen books and counting, this is not one of the most memorable entries in the series, but is still entertaining and very topical. Jude and Carole spend less time together this time, which is a pity, as they make a great “chalk and cheese” mismatched duo. Apart they are less effective, but I do respect the author’s desire to inject something new into a series to keep it fresh.

The subject under scrutiny this time is the fate of the great British library, and the author paints a very true picture of a library desperately trying to stay open. This is treated rightly with poignancy rather than satire, as is a side story of Zosia’s hapless uncle and the local Polish community. More amusing are the sketches of various types of writers, from the conceit of the bestseller to the self published niche author and a description of a workshop. The plot contains plenty of suspects and cleverly mirrors the golden age whodunits that are mentioned by various people. All this results in a novel that manages to be enjoyable, thought provoking, satirical and contemporary. Just like all the other entries in this series this one is well worth reading.

Reviews of other titles in this series

The Hanging in the Hotel #5
The Witness at the Wedding #6
The Stabbing in the Stables #7
Death Under the Dryer #8
Blood at the Bookies #9
The Poisoning in the Pub # 10
The Shooting in the Shop # 11
Bones Under the Beach Hut # 12
Liar in the Library #18

The Killing in the Cafe #27

Reviewed 2017