Felony & Mayhem Press. $14.95, 240 pages
Ethelred Tressider is a mostly-unsuccessful writer in mid-England . He uses several noms-de-plume in his career: J. R. Elliot, and/or Peter Fielding for mystery [historical or contemporary] and Amanda Collins for romance fiction. Imagine his surprise when he meets up with the real Amanda Collins who is now Felicity Hooper, since she can no longer write under her own name! Elsie Thirkettle is his pushy literary agent, and also an expert at Cluedo, a newer version of the old board game (Colonel Mustard in the library, etc.).
In the village one day, Ethelred literally bumps into an old school pal, now Sir Robert Muntham, previously known as Shagger. (The ‘Sir’ came as a result of his banking career – before the bank collapsed, that is.) Nevertheless, Muntham’s been able to acquire a stately home in the village, plus a new wife, and invites several locals and other friends to a Saturday evening dinner. To their horror, Sir Robert ends up dead. Is it murder or suicide? If the former, by whom?
The distinct voices of Ethelred and Elsie relate the story in alternating chapters (with different fonts, as well, until the last several switches which seem to have been ignored). The Herring in the Library is the third Ethelred and Elsie novel. Now I have to go find the other two!
Reviewed by Kelly Ferjutz