A Fete Worse than Death

Written by Dolores Gordon-Smith
Review by Marina Oliver

A summer’s day in 1922, a village fete being enjoyed by Jack Haldean, crime writer and ex-Royal Flying Corps pilot, then is spoilt by the appearance of the obnoxious Jeremy Boscombe, also ex-RFC. Boscombe is permanently removed, shot while sleeping off his excesses in the fortune-teller’s tent. Later that day another murder happens in Boscombe’s room at the local inn.

Jack, in these days of innocence, teams up with the local police and soon realizes that the answer belongs to a time during the Battle of the Somme and an incident of great betrayal there. As he delves into the past many secrets are revealed. People are not what they seem, and motives proliferate.

Reminiscent of the style of earlier crime novels, this one has been thoroughly researched both for the details of the war and the social conventions of the late 1920s. Jack is an attractive sleuth, and there are plenty of possible suspects, plus a convincing plot, danger in abundance, and a cleverly contrived denouement. An enjoyable read.