Publisher: Serano Press © 2015
Physical copy: 248 pgs.
Before I get into the review, let me do a bit of housekeeping first. This will probably be my last formal review on YouTube and my website. It’s not that I don’t like making the videos and reading your comments, but with the books and the painting and the vlogs, ir all has consumed more and more of my time. And I would really like to get back to my first love, writing.
Secondly, this book was offered to me in return for an impartial review, and I have received no payment for this review other than the copy of the book.
Murder in Little Shendon is exactly what the title says. Shendon is a little English town in which the shopkeeper, Bartholomew Fynche, is murdered with a candlestick. And that is the first chapter. No reason is given why the crime is committed, but we do know that Fynche knows his murderer.
The author of this cozy whodunit is Angela Richardson, who writes under the name A.H. Richardson. Before relocating to Tennessee, she was born in London and is the daughter of Britain’s famous composer and pianist, Clive Richardson. Like many writers, her life has been filled with a spectrum of pursuits, such as painting, sculpting, acting, learning four languages, recording voice overs, and even Dressage. (I had to look that last one up, since I know next to nothing about the art of horse training for exhibition.) Richardson has been a reader all her life and has published more than half a dozen novels.
I will list her website and social media addresses below.
This novel is about solving the murder of Mr. Fynche, a local shopkeeper but also an enigmatic man once connected to MI5 and whose personality is abrasive enough to make him the least-liked person in town. Inspector Stanley Burgess investigates the crime along with his friend and former MI5 agent himself Sir Victor Hazlitt and his friend Beresford “Berry” Brandon. Berry is a charming man who thinks of himself first as an amateur detective. His day job is as a Shakespearean actor.
No book is perfect, so let me give you the cons first.
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I am, at best, a casual reader of mysteries, so take this with a grain of salt.
There is really only one issue I had with the book. Early on, the story was difficult to get into. Everyone in town was a suspect, and so the three investigators (primarily Berry and Sir Hazlitt) interviewed every person on the list. After a while, it felt like the same scene over and over. I wanted to trade some of the talking heads for action. This sensation eventually flipped, though, and I started turned pages eagerly until the end of the book.
Let’s start with the cover, which I love. It is just a blood splatter on black, but its simplicity makes it eye-catching. It was done by illustrator Jeff Preston.
Richardson handles the technical side of writing well. The author was invisible throughout the story, as a writer should be. As Stephen King said, “It is the tale, not he who tells it.” Her dialogue is also authentic. In fact, it is one of the best things about the book. I could easily hear the character’s accents and rhythms of speech. This is primarily how Richardson differentiated the characters, instead of relying on physical features. Characters are difficult to bring to life on the printed page, but dialog is one of the best ways. She took full advantage of it.
Best of all, I did not figure out who the murder was beforehand.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?
Sure. It is a quick read and harkens back to the traditional mystery tale. Plus, it is not just another detective mystery trying to take a new angle on Sherlock Holmes.
FROM THE SELL SHEET BY KELSEY BUTTS:
The Hazlitt/Brandon series of murder mystery novels follows a pair of clever, colorful and charismatic sleuths - Sir Victor Hazlitt and Beresford Brandon – as they scratch their heads searching for clues to figure out whodunit.
The first book in the series, Murder in Little Shendon, is a thriller murder mystery which takes place in a quaint little village in England after World War Two.
Picture, if you will, a picturesque village called Little Shendon, suddenly caught up in dealing with a murder of one of its citizens — not a particularly well-liked one at that. Which makes it all the more intriguing because the list of suspects becomes very long. This tantalizing tale unfolds with twists and turns to find out whodunit to Mr. Bartholomew Fynche, the murdered shopkeeper.
Fear grips the community as the investigation slowly progresses. Everyone is interviewed; everyone is suspect! From his housekeeper to Lady Armstrong and her household staff. Or could it be the shy librarian new in town? Or the defiant retired army major and his ladyfriend, the post mistress? Or perhaps the weird sisters who live on the edge of town? Then there is the couple who own the local inn and pub, along with the two Americans who are staying there? Even the vicar and his wife fall under the gloom of suspicion.
Uncertainty, wariness, and terror reign as neighbors watch neighbors to discover the evil that permeates their upturned lives. No one feels safe in this charming little village. Who is the murderer? And why was this strange uncivil man dispatched in such a seemingly civil community?
A murder mystery that will keep you reading until you learn the details, uncovered by Police Inspector Stanley Burgess and his two amateur detectives, Sir Victor Hazlitt and Beresford Brandon. The three sift methodically through the Alibis and life stories of the suspects until they uncover…
You are challenged to discover the culprit before the last few pages. And no fair looking ahead — it’s the journey that proves the most enticing.
About the Author:
A. H. Richardson was born in London England and is the daughter of famous pianist and composer Clive Richardson. She studied drama and acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She was an actress, a musician, a painter and sculptor, and now an Author.
She published her debut novel Jorie and the Magic Stones, a children’s chapter book, in December 2014. At the request of those who loved the first ‘Jorie’ story, Richardson has written a sequel titled Jorie and the Gold Key, and she is currently working on the third book in the series.
A.H. Richardson also enjoys writing murder mysteries and who-dun-its. She is the author of the Hazlitt/Brandon series of murder mystery novels. The series follows a pair of clever, colorful and charismatic sleuths - Sir Victor Hazlitt and Beresford Brandon. The series includes Murder in Little Shendon, ACT ONE, Scene One-MURDER, and Murder at Serenity Farm: A Hazlitt-Brandon Murder Mystery.
A. H. Richardson lives happily in East Tennessee, her adopted state, and has three sons, three grandchildren, and two pugs. She speaks four languages and loves to do voiceovers. She plans on writing many more books and hopes to delight her readers further with her British twist, which all her books have.
To learn more, go to https://ahrichardson.com/
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