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Brindley, Louise - 'Tantalus' (Unabridged Audiobook) read by Julia Sands
Audio Cassette (2000) Publisher: Soundings ISBN: 1860428924

If you're looking for a modern example of the British cozy then look no further than this series featuring best selling crime novelist Geraldine Frayling, real name Gerry Mudd.

Gerry comes from a poor, uneducated background but through hard work and study she has written a best selling crime series featuring uppercrust sleuth Virginia Vale. On the proceeds she has moved into an expensive and secluded house in Hampstead and hired a cook and gardener to look after her. Then tragedy strikes as she finds her gardener Liam McEvoy dead in her garden shed, an apparent suicide. Her cook, Anna Gordino, goes into a blind panic and confesses that she saw the shed padlocked even though it was unlocked when Gerry found the body. The following morning, Anna Gordino is found strangled at the nearest tube station. The policeman in charge of the cases is Inspector Clooney who initially suspects Gerry until a murder attempt is made on her life. Fortunately for Gerry, her agent, dishy, single, Bill Bentine is keeping a close eye on her. Of course, Gerry knows she's not his type, she's overweight, writes wearing a bath-sheet and loves food.

Gerry believes that the murders are connected to the former owner of her house, an eminent archaeologist and proceeds to investigate.

TANTALUS has likeable lead characters in Gerry and Bill and some interesting supporting cast in the shape of the owners of a burger joint. The whodunnit and whydunnit aspects of the story are nicely complex and unpredictable and there is a dramatic finale in Robin Hood's Bay. At one point the author had a penchant for using the term penchant and occasionally the same phrase would reappear but my main niggle is that it wasn't made clear why Gerry was being targeted as she didn't have any incriminating information.

It was an excellent narration and Gerry's down to earth nature and character were splendidly conveyed by the narrator who gave Gerry an accent and intonation reflecting her roots.

So, an enjoyable listen and I do look forward to listening to DEATH ON THE HEATH and THE HONEYMOON MURDERS but, at the time of writing, these aren't yet available as audiobooks.

Karen Meek, England
July 2005

Karen blogs at
Euro Crime.

last updated 23/03/2008 20:59