Today it’s back to Mandie for a review of Murder Before Evensong by Reverend Richard Coles. We both saw the author on a panel at Harrogate last year and I have to say, it does sound an intriguing read. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Canon Daniel Clement is Rector of Champton, where he lives alongside his widowed mother – opinionated, fearless, ever-so-slightly annoying Audrey – and his two dachshunds, Cosmo and Hilda.
When Daniel announces a plan to install a lavatory in the church, the parish is suddenly (and unexpectedly) divided: as lines are drawn, long-buried secrets come dangerously close to destroying the apparent calm of the village.
And then Anthony Bowness – cousin to Bernard de Floures, patron of Champton – is found dead at the back of the church. As the police moves in and the bodies start piling up, Daniel is the only one who can try and keep his community together… and catch a killer.
I don’t often read cosy crime, not because I don’t like it but when you have a TBR pile as big as mine they often get overlooked. I have had Murder by Evensong on my list for quite some time and decided it was about time it was put to the top of the pile to give me a change of pace.
Canon Daniel Clement is Rector of Champton and usually he doesn’t have to worry about more than the usual church related things. The book opens with the community divided over the installation of toilets of all things and some of the parishioners are up in arms over the fact that pews would have to be removed to accommodate this in fact one parishioner schemes quite well in the hope to prevent this happening. When the body of Anthony Bowness is found in the churchDaniel feels that he has to try to uncover what happened to assist the police investigation.
So, I am going to start by saying after reading the start of the book I was convinced I knew who was behind the murder and why but as I read more I soon realised that my assumptions were a little too convenient especially when a second body was found. With secrets being revealed the number of suspects like the number of bodies began to increase and it was interesting working out what actually happened.
Daniel Clement for me was definitely the kind of character I expected a man of the church to be and at times I think he went for the quiet life with both his family and his parishioners as much as possible and trust me once you see what his mother could be like I can understand why and some of the other characters would also be a test of both patience and faith.
As a cosy crime novel this is a slow burner as it is quite a while before the murder actually takes place. Richard Coles takes this time to establish characters and setting so that you can easily picture Champton and the roles that everyone plays in its day-to-day existence. You can see that he has really pulled on his own experiences to ensure that Daniel is believable, and I am quite sure that some of the other characters would be based on people he had come across during his time in the church. Daniels two dachshunds added some of the lighter moments in the book and I kinda fell in love with them.
As this is the first book in the series it will be interesting to see how the characters develop and what else Canon Daniel Clement will get involved in next and if Champton ends up the next Midsummer where it may not pay to move to.
About the Author
Richard Coles is a writer, broadcaster and an Anglican priest. He co-presents Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4 and appears, from time to time, on QI, Have I Got News For You, and Would I Lie To You? He has won Christmas Masterchef, Celebrity Mastermind twice, and captained Leeds to victory in Christmas University Challenge in 2019. A contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, he scored a lamentably low mark for a Paso Doble.
He writes regularly for the Sunday Times, and is the author of half a dozen books, including a bestselling autobiography, Fathomless Riches, and the bereavement bestseller The Madness of Grief, after the death of his partner, David Coles. Murder Before Evensong, the first book in the Canon Clement Mystery series, was an instant number 1 Sunday Times bestseller.
Richard is Patron of Greatwell Homes, a Housing Association providing social and affordable housing in east Northants, and is Chancellor of the University of Northampton.
One thought on “Murder Before Evensong by Richard Coles”
I agree with Mandy, found this a bit slow.
Comments are closed.