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Fenella Wilson, the president of the Richington Ladies Guild and an illustrator of children’s books, is miserable in her home life. Her mother-in-law Ida bullies her and treats her like an unpaid servant and husband David Wilson blindly supports his mother no matter how she behaves. He believes that it is his wife’s job to clean and cook for them all, even though the house they are living in is hers. It’s a tense situation. Something has to give. And it does.
Egged on by best friend Judith Kelly, Fenella decides to get rid of Ida. Judith thinks of an ingenious way to commit the crime and not be found out. But before they can go ahead with their plan, Judith decides a trial run is called for, so they can get an idea of just how much poison is to be administered. The experimental dose ends up killing a Rastafarian named Jericho.
When Fenella seeks to poison Ida, the attempt goes horribly wrong.
Meanwhile, Ludovic de Coleville runs the Coleville gallery, a profitable business rendered even more lucrative by the side business of forged art he conducts along with his friend, for the mob. Since the number of crimes is down, Detective Jack Dawes of the Metropolitan Murder Investigation Team is roped into investigating the forgeries.
When fate bursts in to entwine the Wilsons and the Colevilles together, and consequently the crimes too, will the police solve the varied crimes of arson, art fraud and murder? Or will Fenella get away?
The style is that of a cosy mystery combined with the grit of a police procedural. But the mystery quickly escalated. The author maintained the balance, but the book kept swaying from one genre to another, without losing reading interest. For instance, when Cynthia, Corrie and Carlene decide to investigate the fiasco of Cynthia’s dinner party, it’s back to cosy mystery again. The description of the food and the vibes of the restaurant gave the book a warm and homely feel.
Even though the identity of the killers is known to us from the beginning, the author does a great job of keeping the tension high, as we watch the police attempt to figure things out.
It was nice to see so many female characters being so enterprising. Fenella is a book illustrator, while Corrie and Carlene run their own food businesses. Judith is a car mechanic, successful in what is traditionally a male-dominated profession.
While they all ran their own enterprises, I wasn’t sure of my feelings for any of the characters. Fenella, in particular, wasn’t likeable at all; there were extenuating circumstances, but I still didn’t feel sympathetic towards her.
My feelings towards the characters were mixed. Ida was the stereotype of an Indian mother-in-law, blustering, over-dramatic and deceitful. While David was a soft sod who worshipped his mother and rode roughshod over his wife. These two were easy to dislike. I couldn’t approve of what Fenella did but I could understand her motivation.
The Prologue was entirely unnecessary, merely providing local colour and history to the King’s Market.
One error: In an altercation between Ludovic and his wife, Sasha, the narrative tells us that David’s backhander knocks Sasha down to the ground.
A cosy mystery doesn’t really leave scope for the delineation of character, and yet this book managed to do just that. Fenella and Judith were both remarkable examples of amoral characters. Neither of them felt any remorse or regret for their actions. Neither woman spared a moment to think about whether it was right to take away a life. How there was no going back after a definitive act like that. Even after their actions lead to the death of Jericho, they express no regret for the death of a man who had done them no harm at all.
As readers, we are left to contemplate the manner in which events play out. The inevitability of certain actions, the inexorability of fate, and how you cannot escape the consequences of your actions.
I have a little confession to make- yes yet another one. Although I have the previous five books in the series featuring Detective Jack Dawes on my ‘to be read’ mountain, I haven’t actually read one of them…..until now that is. When I was invited to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Kings Market Killer’ I thought that it would be an ideal opportunity to become acquainted with Detective Jack Dawes. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Kings Market Killer’ but more about that in a bit. It didn’t take me long to get into this book. In fact by the time I got to the end of the first few pages, I knew that I was going to be in for a cracking read. I must admit that the book was different to the book I was expecting it to be- in fact it was even better than I had expected. The quirky characters and the places mentioned put me in mind of an episode of ‘Midsomer Murders’. I couldn’t turn the pages of the book fast enough. I was intrigued by the crime, by the characters and the way in which the characters seemed linked to each other. I sped through the story and before I knew what was happening I had reached the end of the story, which I was disappointed about. I wasn’t disappointed with how the story ended but I had enjoyed reading the book so much that I just wish the book had been longer. I soon cheered up when I realised that I had the previous books in the series to catch up on. ‘The Kings Market Killer’ is well written. Frances certainly knows how to grab your attention from the start and draws you into the story. That’s how I felt at any rate. For me, ‘The Kings Market Killer’ hit the ground running and maintained a fairly fast pace throughout. I was gripped by the story from start to finish and at times I was on the edge of my seat. I felt as though I was part of the story and that’s thanks to Frances’ very vivid and realistic storytelling. In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Kings Market Killer’ and I would recommend it to other readers. I will certainly be reading more of Frances’ work in the future. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
When I'd finished reading The Moon Killer my rating was 5* the best so far but having just finished The Kings Market Killer this one is now my favourite. The characters are so believable, lots of tongue in cheek humour, great story. The plot was interesting with twists and turns. I was pleased that Corrie took a step back in this story with her usual attempts to be P.I on Jack's behalf. Great ending, congrats to Bugsy and Iris, starting next in the series tonight. Thank you Frances BP Sheffield
Once again, as with the rest of this series, I was on the edge of my seat. This time the author mentioned the guilty parties and just like Columbo, Jack and his team had to work it all out. I notice Corrie was up to her usual tricks again. Not intentionally, Corrie put her friends in danger. One part of that scene had me in fits of laughter. I love the characters in this book and am looking forward to the next in the series 5 * from this happy reader.
Having recently discovered the fiction of Francis Lloyd, I must admit she is one of the most exciting writers I have read in a long, long time, and I managed to read all seven books in the "Jack Dawes" Police Detective Thrillers in about 10 days. The stories are all so different with unique tales from a Greek Island to Shetland and most ports of call around the UK too! All of these urbane and beautifully drafted gripping stories will completely entertain you for hours and will stay with you as fond memories of long-standing friends you shared holiday experiences with. Read and enjoy, you will not be disappointed!
I chose this book expecting a police/crime novel: I did get that, but I also got a very intricate and well balanced black comedy - if Midsomer Murders is a characature of the murder mystery, then this is a parody of Midsomer Murders. The plotline could have been devised by P G Wodehouse and the comedy of errors comes well timed and with some dryness. I am sure the detail of the police and forensic procedure may not hold up under microscopic inspection, (it rarely does in crime novels) but it would be churlish to take it to task. I shall certainly be reading more from the series!
Vibrant Market Turns Deadly.... Book six in the Detective Inspector Jack Dawes series. The bustling, colourful and always entertaining Kings Market is a vibrant place, that is until a death takes place and suspicion abounds. Engaging lighthearted mystery laced with more than a touch of dry wit and sparky dialogue. The majority of the series featuring Jack Dawes has been enjoyable, mostly completely far fetched but thoroughly entertaining.
To date I have read all the books in this series and each has been well worth reading. In truth I would not call this a mystery in that the reader knows from the beginning who did what. It is quite a story however and definitely holds ones interest throughout. I somehow got the feeling this might be the last of this series but I truly hope not.