‘A Charitable Body’ is a quaint, gentle mystery novel for people who like good old-fashioned mysteries without having to wade through blood and gore.
Walbrook Manor is an eighteenth century Stately Home that has recently been sold to the National Trust to be opened to the public. And, Felicity Peace, a local novelist, has recently joined the trust board for the manor. Her husband Charlie is a policeman, so between believing that everything needs investigating and researching for her next novel, Felicity gets straight into trying to uncover Walbrook Manor’s secrets:
Why did the Quarles family have to sell the manor to their Fiennes relatives?
What were the seminars run by Timothy Quarles in the 1930s?
Was more music composed at Walbrook manor that has been stolen or hidden?
Is the chairman of the trust – Sir Stafford Quarles, stealing from the manor?
What really happened to the trust director’s wife?
And all of this before the body is even discovered!
Charlie Peace (who has appeared in earlier Robert Barnard novels) investigates the mystery of the body in the lake until he discovers her identity. And, along the way he finds out the answers to most of Walbrook Manor’s other mysterious secrets.
The book was well written and most of the characters were fairly entertaining (although some of them were a bit clichéd). The story was interesting, but the book was a bit too gentle. And, while I was keen to get to the bottom of the mysteries, it was certainly not the most riveting book that I’ve read.
I think that Robert Barnard would be an excellent choice when you need a nice gently break from the horror and bloodshed associated with most mystery novels.
Book Published 2012