The Parish Picnic Murder by Graham Hutton conjures up an image of sleepy villages in rural Essex in the 1960s, but all is not quite what is seems. Set against a picturesque backdrop of English country life, The Parish Picnic Murder contains all the elements that one might expect from a classic Agatha Christie but this novel has hidden depths and events take quite an unexpected turn.
The Parish Picnic Murder is more than just a ‘whodunnit'; the emergence of women detectives in the Constabulary is an interesting angle as the story hinges around the central character of Detective Sergeant Sarah Bowman. But the underlying theme surrounding the identity of the murder victim is the key point of intrigue, and Graham Hutton takes the reader on an unimaginable journey proving that people really are not quite what they seem. Cleverly crafted, this story will keep the reader guessing until the final pages as to the real story behind Henry Hall, and are we ever quite sure who is the murderer? The Parish Picnic Murder is a really enjoyable read which delivers the readers' every expectation and then some.
"The Parish Picnic Murder" written by Graham Hutton is a typically picturesque, English summer, murder mystery that I found very interesting and entertaining. Set in the 1960's, this was like a cross between tv's Midsummer Murders and Agatha Christie rolled into one, which also delved into the terrible and saddening tale of war crimes. Having all the elements of a traditional style murder mystery, everyone in both the sleepy villages could be a suspect, have a reason to be the murderer or have a secret they wish to hide.
The author is a very descriptive writer, making sure when we are introduced to each of the characters, we learn in great detail who they are and their full background. Every thought, movement and action is detailed.
The book kicks off immediately with the 'picnic murder' and straight away we are intrigued as to - why that character, who could he really be and what could possibly be the motive for his death? Detective Chief Inspector Paul Wreford is assigned to the case along with Woman Detective Sergeant Sarah Bowman and I enjoyed reading about the role of women and the attitudes towards them in the police force during the 60's. The author has captured the era perfectly and it was a nice change reading about a crime and it's suspects during those years.
This is a large and detailed book at over 350 pages long but it does keep your attention in the slow burning yet well plotted storyline. I'm very impressed at the quality of the writing, considering the author only wrote the book after being advised it may be good therapy, following a traffic accident that left him disabled and partially sighted. A job well done and I'd happily recommend "The Parish Picnic Murder' to readers of classic murder mysteries.
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