Thursday, March 29, 2012

Murder of the Bride, by C.S. Challinor


Murder of the Bride
by C.S. Challinor
2012

Am I the only one who's growing weary of the term thriller? Or of reams of "mystery" fiction that seems more like thinly disguised chick-lit? If you're in the same boat as me then I invite you to check out the works of C.S. Challinor, who has written five books in her Rex Graves series thus far and who has managed to take the traditional mystery and give it a contemporary sheen, without sacrificing anything in the process.

Murder of the Bride is the fifth and latest in the series. I've read two others and have yet to find a dud. At some point soon I'll probably go back and take a look at the other two volumes. Which is pretty high praise for me. There are so many authors out there that I have yet to read that I'm not going to read too much of any one author unless they really ring my bell.

Which Challinoor has done again. This time around, as the title suggests, barrister Graves is in attendance at the wedding of one of his fiancee's friends. It's taking place in a manor house that's suitably ponderous and atmospheric for this sort of yarn, in spite of the fact that the setting is modern day.

As one might expect with an amateur detective on hand it's not long before all hell breaks loose. It probably wouldn't be a spoiler to at least let on as to what happens at this ill-fated wedding but I'm just going to say that Challinoor really piles it on and leave it at that.

Which doesn't leave much room for discussing how Graves, working in concert with the police (who treat him with a measure of respect, given his past track record) manages to sort it all out. I'll just say that Challinoor writes very solid, compact mysteries that whiz right by and that - for me, at least - rarely hit a false note.

I don't think there's probably much in here that you could call revolutionary but the author handles it all with such skill that it doesn't really matter. It is worth noting that the events of the entire novel take place in the course of one day, which is kind of a nifty trick.

Highly recommended.

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