The Poisoning in The Pub, by Simon Brett

Some books keep you on the edge of your seat, thrilled, scared, intrigued. Maybe laughing you off it. And some books are like a bowl of chicken soup, or a nice walk in the park. This is the latter. And that’s not to say I didn’t like it.

The Poisoning in the Pub is like an episode of the Archers, Rosemary and Thyme and Miss Marple all rolled in to one. With a dash of Midsomer Murders and a pinch of Hetty Wainthrop. It all adds up to a nice dose of comfort reading, that will never thrill you, but you’ll feel warm and fuzzy while you are carried along by the gentle plot.

Simon Brett is prolific, clocking up over 80 whodunnits to date and I’ll be reading more, given the fun I had with this one.

The story follows two middle aged neighbours, Jude and Carole, amateur sleuths, lovers of white wine, gardening and sticking their noses in to other people’s business.

They are a funny two-some: one, Carole; highly strung and permanently on edge, the other, Jude; new-agey and relaxed. They both bring their own skills to the detective work, and it’s enjoyable to watch it unravel.

Local landlord Ted Crisp is having a bad time. His scallops have been poisoned, a man-child has been stabbed in his kitchen and his estranged wife (not yet divorced) has suddenly arrived on the scene asking for her share of the pub. The ladies smell something fishy (eh?) and spring in to action.

It’s fun. The stories are well thought out and keep the reader guessing. It probably won’t leave a lasting impression but for a nice dose of nostalgia all packaged up in an easy read, you could do a lot worse. It’s impossible not to be charmed by Brett’s jovial and enthusiastic writing style. I’ve already got a few more on order for when I want to sit in the armchair, grab a blanket and wish I was a resident of an idyllic village like Fethering.

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