Thursday, 13 March 2008

Belinda Lawrence reviewed

Capable of Murder

A solid tale of greed, obsession, and murder.

“Capable of Murder” is a must read! Mr. Kavanagh has written a story I could not solve, something that has become a rarity for me. Thank you.

This tale is quite simple, really. The setting is on the outskirts of Bath, England. Belinda Lawrence is summoned, via a letter, by her reclusive great-aunt for a visit; however, ends up finding the aunt dead. Being the only living relative, Belinda inherits her aunt’s ancient cottage and dilapidated gardens. Belinda believes her aunt was murdered. Why? Because the letter summoning Belinda was mailed after her aunt’s supposed accident. That, and everyone Belinda meets seems to know more than they are willing to tell. Oh, and there’s that attempt on Belinda’s life as well.

Yes, “Capable of Murder” does seem a simple murder mystery, but it’s all in the telling and Mr. Kavanagh does a wonderful job at telling it. He has painted a clear picture of the cottage and gardens. The characters are engaging while being both straightforward and complex. The killer’s motive for murder is not the normal quest for money or power, but something more down to earth.

“Capable of Murder” is the first in the Belinda Lawrence series and I hope this will prove to be a long series as she and Mr. Kavanagh have a permanent place on my library shelves.


The Embroidered Corpse

A thrilling read, The Embroidered Corpse blends together a murder mystery, a treasure hunt, and the intrigue of an archeological mystery. Author Brian Kavanagh’s rich characterization brings the story to life, and his approach to plot development keeps that life moving at break-neck speed.

The story revolves around a mysterious medieval tapestry fragment found in the attic of an old English estate. The fragment may be the missing end of the famous Bayeux Tapestry that depicts the events of the Norman invasion in 1066, the death of the English King Harold, and the crowning of William the Conqueror as King of England. The missing fragment, we find out, holds clues to secrets that people will kill to protect.

In a series of break-ins, kidnappings, and bloody murders, we find a list of fascinating suspects and intriguing questions. Is it Charles Godwin, the reputed descendent of King Harold and the self-proclaimed head of a new monastery who wants to prove his lineage as a possible heir to the throne of England? Is it Sir Charles Taylor, the eminent medieval scholar who is a leading authority on the hidden meanings of the Bayeux Tapestry? Or perhaps the violent Brother Saul, attached to the monastery but reeking with malevolence? Why was an old vicar murdered and mutilated to match the wounds of King Harold? What happened to Hazel, the suddenly-missing antique dealer? And what does all this have to do with an archeological dig at the old Holy Trinity church in Botham, dating back from the seventh century when the first monks came from Rome to bring Christianity to the pagans?

The intertwined plots come together and all gets sorted out in the satisfying conclusion to this wonderful novel. Kavanagh has created another thrilling addition to his Belinda Lawrence Mystery Series- a series I plan to continue reading.

Put this at the top of your must-read for this season.

Reviewed by Kevin Aguanno: TCM Reviews

Bloody Ham

Brian Kavanagh has done it again. In this third book of the Belinda Lawrence Cozy Mystery series, Brian brings Hazel Whitby to center stage where she assumes the position as leader in the investigative team.

Hazel Whitby, an antiques dealer, hires antique silver to a film company for use in a dinner scene in the proposed film Playing Boys. Belinda Lawrence, as Hazel's business partner, is allowed to be on the set with Hazel to watch over her silver during filming. As a result Belinda is present when one of the stars suddenly drops dead.

As a result, Belinda is asked to play stand-in to the American actress taking the place of the murdered star. She feels this position provides an opportunity for her to investigate the murder and obtain some evidence ... Belinda will never forget her brief acting career.Bloody Ham is a sequel to Capable of Murder and The Embroidered Corpse. Read them all and follow Belinda Lawrence as she plays detective in each of them. Brian Kavanagh's superb job of juggling the clues and keeping the mystery a mystery until the very end has produced another great story.
Brian Kavanagh has many years' experience in the Australian Film Industry in areas of production, direction, editing and writing. He is presently planning a fourth book in the Belinda Lawrence mystery series in which Belinda travels to Melbourne, her hometown in Australia. He is truly an author to watch.

Reviewed by Lucille P Robinson,

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