Bewrite Books, August 2005
Reviewed by Sally Roddom
THE EMBROIDERED CORPSE is the sequel to
CAPABLE OF MURDER. Our Australian
heroine, Belinda Lawrence, has put the events surrounding the murder of
her aunt behind her and has now moved permanently to England. She is
living quietly in the village of Mitford in the house bequeathed to her by
her late aunt. However, her sleuthing days are not over. After a trip to
purchase antique furniture for her friend Hazel's shop, Belinda finds
herself in the possession of a mysterious piece of tapestry that may, or
may not, be linked to the famous Bayeux Tapestry. However, ownership
brings danger. Two murders occur in quick succession. The first is that of
the original owner of the tapestry. The second murder is the local vicar
who had offered to help her check the tapestry's authenticity. Both men
are killed in the same bizarre way. Belinda and her friends start to
investigate and find they learn more than they wanted to know about a
medieval French invasion of England, royal shenanigans, monks and people
who are not afraid to kill for what they believe in.
THE EMBROIDERED CORPSE is a cosy murder mystery. Belinda is a feisty and
believable heroine who is in total control of herself. She can actually
walk out of a bedroom leaving a naked man in her bed without a second
glance - now that's control. Her best friend, Hazel, is an antique dealer
who has just gone through a divorce, and is consoling herself with young
men and lots of alcohol to stave off the horror of being rejected for a
younger woman. Belinda also has a gorgeous boyfriend, Mark, a real estate
agent who would like more snuggling in bed, more sex, and less chasing
after obscure clues. This unlikely trio have to deal with mad and probably
murderous monks, along with their religious leaders (who may just be the
true descendents of the British throne), trying to kill, kidnap or
generally harass anyone to get their hands on the tapestry. At first Hazel
and Mark think Belinda is off her rocker for thinking that there is more
to the tapestry than meets the eye. But as the strange events mount up,
and when Hazel is beaten up by one of the monks, they change their minds
and allow Belinda to go off and follow up her suspicions.
Hazel and Mark both appeared in the first novel, albeit as suspects.
Despite the fact that the brewing romance between Mark and Belinda in the
first book has now been consummated in the second, the romance does not
get in the way of the action. Once again, author Brian Kavanagh has
produced a well-written book: with a believable plot with just a touch of
suspense and gothic horror, culminating in a very spooky graveyard climax.
He has obviously researched his subject well, and has his British history
down pat, and yes, it is widely believed that some parts of the original
tapestry are missing.
Kavanagh skilfully weaves true history, legend and fiction to produce
another outstanding story. I can't wait for the soon-to-be-released third
in the series, BLOODY HAM.
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