The Killing in the Café

The Killing in the Café

Book - 2015
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"Polly's Cake Shop has been a feature of the shopping parade for many years, but when its owner announces her retirement, the Fethering residents start to worry about the loss of this popular amenity. Alarmed by rumours that the café might become a Starbucks, a group clubs together to form the Save Polly's Cake Shop Action Committee. The plan is that Polly's should become a community venture, managed and run by volunteers from the village. Roped in to help, Jude finds the committee meetings fraught with petty power struggles, clashing personalities and monstrous egos. Matters take a turn for the worse when she and Carole come across a badly-decomposed body on Fethering beach--and uncover a link to Polly's. Not only do the two neighbours have to find out whodunit, they are also faced with the thorny question: is it possible to run a business on that most volatile of commodities--goodwill?"
Publisher: Sutton, Surrey, England : Crème de la Crime, 2015.
Edition: First world edition.
ISBN: 9781780290812
Call Number: MYS BRE
Characteristics: 185 pages ; 23 cm.


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Aug 26, 2016

This classic cozy mystery is number 17 in the Fethering series. I imagine it is representative of the entire series, although I haven’t read any others, so this review might be a generic one for the others. You don’t get to #17 without a successful formula, and this does indeed seem formulaic.

A dead body turns up in a cute, touristy, retro cake shop in Sussex where the waitresses wear classic black and white maid costumes right out of an Agatha Christie novel. Then it disappears. The body shows up again a few weeks later floating in the sea and the police are finally involved, although their appearance is brief. Since the body is tied with rope, suicide seems unlikely, but the Sussex police apparently don’t bother doing murder investigations. Have no fear, Jude and Carole are on the case.

The cake shop is about to be sold but a pretentious codger in the form of a retired Commodore insists on forming a committee to turn it into a community restaurant run by volunteers. Most of the book is spent showing what an arrogant twit the commodore is, revealing the transparent bigotry and dishonesty of his social climbing wife, and the ludicrous competition for committee leadership by a local bureaucrat-type who heads every other committee in town.

Meanwhile, Jude and Carole (mostly Jude) have no trouble getting everyone connected with the body to reveal all even though not one ever contacted the police. Even the murderer eventually confesses to them without qualms. It seems that telling everything, no matter how personal or embarrassing or even incriminating, to a pair of busybodies is the most natural thing in quaint English villages.

Brett has fun poking fun at human nature and takes us along for the short, mildly amusing ride. This won’t satisfy hard core mystery fans, but you could find worse ways to kill a couple of evenings.


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