I have met Simon Brett a couple of times though I wouldn’t expect him to remember me. We were once both speakers at the same conference on ageing and he was quite impressed, I seem to remember, when I said my eldest
granddaughter (then just a littl’un) thought OAP stood for Old And Proud.
Lots of the questions he was asked by our audience were about his Feathering series
of crime novels - the village of Feathering being loosely based on Tarring, just up the road from me (as in, Tarring and Feathering, get it?!)
I immediately went
to the library to borrow one of these books, which detail the crime investigations of an unlikely couple of friends, Carole, an ex-civil servant, and Jude, a healer. I then, as is my wont when I find a book I enjoy, proceeded to read a good number of the novels.
They don’t take themselves too seriously but offer lots of acute social observations to make the reader laugh, all the while trying to decide on the least likely character to have committed the murder. (Lots of murders happen in Feathering; it’s
such a good thing that the residents of real-life Tarring are more law-abiding.)
It’s a while since I have returned to Feathering but The Killing in the
Café, which I borrowed from the library, was exactly the same mixture of mystery and mirth I remembered. Perhaps the relationship between Carole and Jude was explored in a little more depth, with family worries making the uptight Carole open up a bit
more to her friend.
If you like your crime novels deep and complicated then Simon Brett may not be for you. If you like them frothy, unlikely and with many
a merry sideswipe at conventions, then you might want to give the Feathering series a try.
The Killing in the Café does introduce a few changes -
Jude and Carole have swapped their customary chardonnay for Sauvignon blanc. Otherwise it is business as usual for our amateur sleuths.