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The only person who is willing to believe Carole? Her mysterious neighbour Jude.


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Bones Under the Beach Hut (Fethering, #12) by Simon Brett

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This series of cosy mysteries is very English in feel, and very lightweight - rather like an updated version of Agatha Christie, but with added welcome humour. As with all the previous novels in the series, it features the odd pairing of Carole Seddon and Jude, two middle-aged women who find themselves to be neighbours, and develop a very unlikely friendship.

It is this spark, the chalk and cheese effect, which is so appealing in this series. Carole, who used to work for the Home Office, is very organised and tightlipped, rather shy and conservative. Jude, on the other hand, has had a chequered past and is quite Bohemian. She is much more of a spontaneous free spirit, with her New Age lifestyle and work as a healer and therapist. A more unlikely partnership for solving crimes would be difficult to find, and of course their contrasting attitudes, and bafflement with each other, is a running joke, provide many amusing moments.

The novel begins as Carole is planning to host a visit from her daughter-in-law Gaby, and granddaughter Lily, and wondering how to amuse the toddler at the beach. Over the previous few years and novels Carole has surprised herself by discovering a latent maternal urge, which she had formerly found lacking.

She has never been any good at relationships, and is keen to capitalise on this new-found confidence, and true to her nature, wants a failsafe plan for the upcoming visit. She decides that renting a beach hut might be a good idea, and circumstances conspire to provide her with the very thing, in the more desirable area of Smalting. A further spoke is put in the works when human remains are found beneath the floorboards of the original beach hut.

By now we have become acquainted with some of the residents of Smalting, via the small community of the beach huts. We recognise the authenicity of each, and enjoy his depictions, whilst hoping we do not conform to any of these monsters. There are enough characters in a Simon Brett novel, just as in a novel by Agatha Christie, to distract us, so that we find it difficult to ascertain the likely perpetrator of the crime. A dedicated crime reader would probably tease the mystery out fairly quickly. I never do; I'm enjoying being diverted too much! The many characters in this novel include Philly Rose, a young Londoner newly arrived in the area, whose boyfriend, Mark Dennis, has recently vanished in mysterious circumstances.

There is pseudy artist Gray Czesky and his officiously competent German wife Helga. One of the stars is Reginald Flowers, the pompous President of the Smalting Beach Hut Association who is obsessed with naval memorabilia, aided by his loyal secretary Dora Pinchbeck. Several of these seem to be hiding secrets, some of which begin to surface as the story unfolds. And of course we mustn't forget two regular favourite characters in the series: grumpy pub landlord, Ted Crisp, and Carole's dog, Gulliver.

Simon Brett has written other detective novels and series with a light touch, such as the Mrs Pargeter novels and the Charles Paris series, featuring a down at heel actor and reluctant amateur detective, as well as many radio and television comedy scripts.

He formerly worked as a producer in radio and television. With Bones Under the Beach Hut , Simon Brett seems to have gone back to his roots, setting it firmly on the beach, and keeping a tight hold on the Smalting location. The characters are quinessentially British, and a delight to poke fun of by proxy. There are enough twists in the plot, plus a few subplots, to keep the reader interested, and not over-challenged. It is an ideal read if you are under the weather and need a pick me up. Or perhaps join the two amateur sleuths in a glass of their favourite tipple, Chilean Chardonnay, and see if you can solve the puzzle before they do.

View all 10 comments. Sep 11, Pam Baddeley rated it it was ok Shelves: crime-fiction. A cosy crime novel in style, with some droll moments, although the subject matter ended up being rather out of that genre: paedophilia, for a start. The book is a bit turgid to begin with as it commences with a massive info dump about Carole, telling us things that were better shown and were in any case shortly afterwards.

Carole and her neighbour Jude are middle aged women and neighbours. Their friendship is an attraction of opposites as Carole is supposedly a retiring ex-Home Office employee an A cosy crime novel in style, with some droll moments, although the subject matter ended up being rather out of that genre: paedophilia, for a start. Their friendship is an attraction of opposites as Carole is supposedly a retiring ex-Home Office employee and a stickler for formality whereas Jude is a bohemian alternative healer. I say supposedly because Carole often cross examines people to the point almost of browbeating them.

When the story begins, Carole has sublet a beach hut from a friend of Jude's in anticipation of the visit of her daughter and small granddaughter, but her plans go awry when she discovers vandalism to the hut and has to report it to the creepy council employee in charge of beach huts, Kelvin. Then, in the course of repair, a workman finds human remains buried beneath it in the sand. Jude and Carole promptly launch into an investigation, in the course of which they veer very near the edge of getting into trouble themselves, when people infer that they are undercover cops and they do not deny it, something that strained my suspense of disbelief.

I thought this must be an early book in the series, as I had heard this was part of one, given the infodump about Carole's shyness as surely she would have overcome that to some extent after doing some investigations -but after I finished it, I discovered this was book So she definitely should have overcome her problems by now! The cast of characters included some that there were to be poked fun at, such as the wannabee writer who is endlessly redrafting her manuscript to conform to what she has been told at the latest writers' course she has attended, and some who are suspects such as the creeply Kelvin, and his friend the ex-copper and somewhat lax security officer.

The book would have benefitted from a good editor to check continuity. Twice I was pulled up short - in one sequence, during a telephone call a character refers to her ex-husband having left the girl he was living with by the seaside, which made me wonder how she knew about that when she was claiming not to have seen him for weeks - but when the two women meet her in the following scene, she professes to know nothing about it and they don't point out that she had admitted she did on the phone. As she doesn't appear again or figure in the denoument, that was obviously a continuity error.

In another scene, Jude is treating someone and twice asks them to turn onto their front - as I'd pictured them lying on their front and her massaging their back during the preceding conversation, I was jolted out of the story when she asked them to do it the second time. That was just careless editing and not what I expected from a professionally published book. I found the story a bit perfunctory and none of the characters likeable.

Bones Under the Beach Hut (Fethering Mysteries)

It eventually transpired that a pathetic tragedy lay at the bottom of the crime, and I didn't particularly believe the actions of the two 'culprits' especially the man in question. So I can only rate this as a 2-star and won't be seeking out further volumes in this series. Aug 28, Dave Sheriton rated it really liked it. The latest, I think, in the Fethering Mysteries. And this one is as good as always.

This Gigantic And Mysterious Creature Was Found Buried Under A Beach. You Won't Believe What It Is

By no means a highbrow crime thriller but an enjoyable read. It is the very "Englishness" of this seaside location that summons up images of kneeling on the beach making sandcastles, crabbing and having a "99". Even with murder and arson as the background it is all very sedate.

This story sees Carole caught up in a fire and the discovery of a body and an insatiable curiosity, as always, to find out what happened. Nobly supported by Jude they work their way through a long list of suspects including retired schoolmasters, policemen and undertakers, writers and graphic designers and the great and the good of the Smalting Beach Hut Association.

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Plenty of twists and turns to keep you occupied whether it's holiday reading, recuperation or something to enjoy when the stress and strains of everydy life mount up. Hopefully there will be another one along in the not too distant future! Feb 03, Katrina rated it it was ok. This book is set in the small affluent holiday village of Smalting on the south coast of England. Carole has moved there and is awaiting a visit from her daughter and granddaughter. She rents a beach hut so that they can make the most of their beach holiday but things take a nasty turn when she discovers that someone had damaged the beach hut, a fire had been lit underneath the floor.

An investigation leads to discovery of bones and suddenly Smalting doesn't seem so idyllic. This is the first boo This book is set in the small affluent holiday village of Smalting on the south coast of England. This is the first book which I've read by Simon Brett and I wasn't too impressed by it. I particularly disliked the character of Carole who seems to have a split personality - one minute Brett goes to a lot of trouble to describe her as being acutely shy - then the next she is brow-beating strangers for information.

There were too many unlikeable characters to make it an enjoyable read. Jan 28, Richard rated it really liked it. This is a familiar setting but in this episode Carole gets herself a beach hut for the Summer in neighboring Smalting where the people are "a bit up themselves". This is a cracking story centered on the beach and the amateur investigations of Jude and Carole.

It has been mentioned in a few reviews of this series that it is improbable that the detective duo could get so many people to open up to them and assist them with their enquiries. SB does address this in this account of mystery and intrigue This is a familiar setting but in this episode Carole gets herself a beach hut for the Summer in neighboring Smalting where the people are "a bit up themselves". SB does address this in this account of mystery and intrigue surrounding a missing man and the discovery of "Bones under the Beach Hut".

I liked the pace of the narrative and the development of plot. The characters as usual are spot on, nicely expanded but never bland stereotypes. The familiar players are re-introduced better in this book and enrich the overall story and plot line. Apr 26, Michael Gallagher rated it liked it Shelves: read-in Simon Brett makes the process of writing look effortless.