Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023 Prompt

Didn’t have a clue what to choose for this to be honest. Then I came across a copy of Murder Before Evensong by Rev. Richard Coles. The main character, Daniel, has two dacshund dogs who play an important role in the story. In fact they discover a dead body in the church.

What it’s about?

Canon Daniel Clement is Rector of Champton. He has been there for eight years, living at the Rectory 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 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, stabbed in the neck with a pair of secateurs.

As the police moves in and the bodies start piling up, Daniel is the only one who can try and keep his fractured community together… and catch a killer.

What I think:

This wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. It’s definitely different from other village based cosy murder mysteries.

Canon Daniel Clements doesn’t really go around doing any detecting. He really just gets on with his day to day duties at church and within the community. He watches people and their behaviour, listens, and reflects and pieces everything together.

There are a lot of characters. Almost everyone in the village is introduced with varying amounts of detail, and it is really hard to keep track of them all. Especially when so many of them are irrelevant to the story, they are either there as red herrings or creating a world for future books.

It takes a long time for the murder to actually happen. I thought the pace would pick up after than, but it doesn’t really. Daniel walks a lot, his family eat a lot and life in the village continues. And then he solves the murder.

As a reader, I couldn’t really play a long with this mystery. I don’t think there are enough clues throughout the book to solve it yourself. To be honest, I also didn’t really care by the end.

I thought I was really going to enjoy this. Rev Richard Coles is such an interesting and engaging man when I have heard him on the radio. This just didn’t do it for me.

I did love the daschunds who seem incredibly well trained – there’s no way my pups would be allowed to wander freely around churches!

Overall, it was a disappointing read that did not live up to my expectations. This is not a series I would return to in the future.

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