Book 400: MURDER AT THE CHASE Review

Murder At The Chase (Langham and Dupré #2) by Eric Brown
ISBN: 9780727884251 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781780105772 (ebook)
ASIN: B00OERTV0U (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Severn House Publishers


July, 1955. Donald Langham has interrupted his romantic break in rural Suffolk with the delectable Maria Dupré to assist a fellow writer. Alastair Endicott has requested Langham’s help in discovering what’s happened to his father, Edward, who seems to have disappeared without trace from inside his locked study.

Before he vanished, the elder Endicott had been researching a book on the notorious Satanist Vivian Stafford. Could the proposed biography have something to do with his disappearance? Does local resident Stafford really possess supernatural powers, as some believe?

As Langham and Dupré question those around them, it becomes clear that there have been strange goings-on in the sleepy village of Humble Barton. But is the village really haunted – or does someone merely want it to look that way? With a further shocking discovery, the case takes a disturbing new twist.


Donald Langham, mystery-thriller writer, and Maria Dupré, literary agent, are recuperating from the emotional trauma and physical wounds from their last encounter with a blackmailer (Murder by the Book). They are also in an established romantic relationship and looking forward to spending some time together in the country away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Unfortunately, their weekend in the country quickly becomes a hunt for a missing person, an investigation into a purported centenarian occultist, and more. All the while Donald is looking for the perfect opportunity to propose to Maria as Maria obsesses over whether or not he’s actually interested in a permanent relationship. Will murder and mayhem keep these two off-balance? Can they ascertain the truth about the Satanist and the village’s hauntings? 

I found Murder at the Chase to be a fast-paced and enjoyable read. I did have a few issues with the male Vivian character as I usually enjoy reading about characters that share my first name, but sharing it with a guy?! (Okay, it wasn’t that big a deal but it was a little strange at first to read about Vivian the guy.) Donald and Maria are in an established relationship, so there isn’t as much about the romance as there is intrigue in the storyline. Their weekend in the countryside is interrupted by a request to investigate a missing person with the classic locked-room scenario. As their attention turns toward the investigation of the missing person, they are introduced to a host of characters: an aging ex-Hollywood movie star with a secret past, an eccentric and lascivious artist, a lovable and young bumbling country vicar, the shy son of the missing person with a secret, the purported centenarian Satanist, and a crafty private investigator. This missing person case becomes a murder investigation when the Satanist’s body is found with his head bashed in. The only problem I had with this book was the expectation of a locked room murder because there isn’t an actual murder victim in a locked room. Murder at the Chase does provide murder, mystery, mayhem, and a hint of the macabre with the occult storyline. If you enjoy old-fashioned whodunits, then you’ll definitely want to read Murder at the Chase. (No, I won’t tell you if Donald pops the question . . . you’ll have to read the book to find out for yourself!)


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Book 144: MURDER BY THE BOOK Review

Murder by the Book (A Langham and Dupré Mystery – 1) by Eric Brown
ISBN:  9781780290515 (hardcover)
ISBN:  9781780104133 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00CYLGHQ4 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 1, 2013 
Publisher: Creme de la Creme/Severn House


London, 1955. 

When crime writer Donald Langham’s literary agent asks for his help in sorting out ‘a delicate matter’, little does Langham realize what he’s getting himself into. For a nasty case of blackmail leads inexorably to murder as London’s literary establishment is rocked by a series of increasingly bizarre deaths. With three members of the London Crime Writers’ Association coming to sudden and violent ends, what at first appeared to be a series of suicides looks suspiciously like murder – and there seems to be something horribly familiar about the various methods of despatch.

 

With the help of his literary agent’s assistant, the delectable Maria Dupré, Langham finds himself drawing on the skills of his fictional detective hero as he hunts a ruthless and fiendishly clever killer – a killer with old scores to settle.  


Donald Langham is the author of hard-boiled detective mysteries. He has an assortment of friends, including detectives, private investigators, and authors, but generally lives a somewhat solitary existence churning out books and book reviews in order to make a living. He’s friendly with his agent, Charles Elder, and thinks nothing of being asked to help when Charles admits to being blackmailed. Charles is unable to go to the police because in 1955 homosexuality is a punishable crime. One thing leads to another and before you know it Donald and Charles’ lovely assistant, Maria Dupré, are involved in a real life murder mystery. Can they solve the mystery before another murder occurs?

Murder by the Book is the first in the Langham and Dupré mystery series. This was a well-written and captivating “whodunit” mystery. There were just enough twists and turns to the plot to keep me wondering until the bitter end. I enjoyed the somewhat flirtatious budding romance between Donald and Maria and it added just the right amount of tension to the overall story without overpowering the mystery aspect. The blackmail and murders were rather tame compared to today’s standards but were intrinsic parts of the story. Murder by the Book incorporates a lot of subjects including blackmail, murder, romance, envy, and suspense. The bad guys are really bad and the good guys come in a variety of shades of grey. If you enjoy well-crafted mysteries then you definitely want to add Murder by the Book to your reading list. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.


Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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