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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: 320 Ex-Library Book. Nice front and back cover with a small amount of dings or creases. Clean inside. Light shelf wear.
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A Spider on the Stairs Hardcover – July 20, 2010

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A Spider on the Stairs + The Young Widow (St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (July 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312369409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312369408
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,506,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set at Christmastime, Chan's agreeable fourth contemporary cozy (after 2008's Trick of the Mind) finds London manabout-town Phillip Bethancourt unhappily ensconced at his parents' house in Yorkshire for the holidays. Hoping to dodge his inquisitive family's questions about his turbulent personal life, Phillip jumps at the chance to help his Scotland Yard friend, Det. Sgt. Jack Gibbons, when Jack travels north to investigate a murder possibly committed by the notorious Ashdon killer. When Jack decides the crime scene, a York bookshop, and the victim, a freespirited young woman, don't bear the serial killer's hallmarks, he turns his sights on the bookshop staff. The well-connected Phillip provides ready access to cocktail party gossip and more substantial information. Though the seasoned mystery reader may guess the culprit before the methodical Jack, this is an enjoyable outing into Dorothy Sayers territory.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Readers who have somehow missed the first three installments of this series are really in for a treat. Jack Gibbons is a fast-rising detective at Scotland Yard. His best friend is independently wealthy, man-about-town Phillip Bethancourt, who is allowed to unofficially assist on some of Jack’s most interesting assignments. This case takes place in Yorkshire over the Christmas holidays. Gibbons is in York to check out a murder that might be the work of the serial killer known as Ashdon. Then a second murder takes place that definitely does not fit the serial killer’s usual style. Gibbons and Bethancourt take up residence in the Bethancourt York townhouse and set to work to solve the second case. It soon becomes clear that the key to the murder might lie in the mysterious past of the free-spirited victim. Chan’s literate and charming mysteries are rightfully compared to those of golden age British crime fiction (Christie, Sayers, et al.). The detectives, one professional and one amateur, are smart, likable, and decent men with a real knack for solving crimes. --Judy Coon

More About the Author

I was born in New York City, and grew up in Connecticut. My books are set in England, which may seem odd for a dyed-in-the-wool American, but I have always been an Anglophile, and was strongly influenced by English children's literature in my youth.

I have spent a good bit of time in England over the years, and look forward to spending more.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I look forward to more from this author soon.
Sister Shirl
This is one of a series of novels featuring Scotland Yard detective sergeant Jack Gibbons and his aristocrat friend Phillip Bethancourt.
Fred Camfield
Just finished reading Spider On the Stairs and enjoyed it so much that I'm going to immediately order another book in the series.
Barbara Bartholomew

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Amateur sleuth Phillip Betancourt knows being the family black sheep makes spending Christmas in Yorkshire at his parent's home as gloomy as the torrent of rain outside. Adding to his family's torrential interrogation of him is questions about his personal life as he no longer is seeing Marla Tate. When cheerful Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Jack Gibbons calls about a murder in nearby York, Phillip sees an opportunity to escape the torture by joining his friend on the investigation.

The corpse of Deborah Seldon, found in Accessorize in Davygate Shop, might be the work of notorious serial killer Ashdon. When Jack concludes the victim was killed most likely by Ashdon, he notifies the Yard's serial killer Detective Superintendent Brumby; though the case has anomalies. Soon afterward, the proprietor of Mittlesdon's bookshop finds the body of his former employee Jody Farraday inside on Christmas Day. Gibbons and Betancourt investigate only to find too many people had access to the store.

The latest Betancourt-Gibbons collaborative investigation (see Village Affairs, Young Widow and Trick of the Mind) is a superb Yuletide whodunit. The story line is character driven more so by the seemingly hedonistic Betancourt though his buddy the cop holds his own as each is euphoric with having the case. Ironically, a contemporary mystery, fans of the classic British "historical" social class mystery like Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey and Carola Dunn's Lady Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher tales will want to read Cassandra Chan's fun tale.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Fred Camfield on March 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of a series of novels featuring Scotland Yard detective sergeant Jack Gibbons and his aristocrat friend Phillip Bethancourt. Gibbons has been sent north to York to investigate a murder that may be the work of a serial killer. Then two more murders occur. They do not seem to be connected because the circumstances are different. But maybe they are. The investigation uncovers details of people's pasts, and questions about the business dealings of one of the victims. Things gradually come together as the police close in on a killer.

I like English mysteries because there are fewer guns and more investigation. This novel uses all the modern features of computer searches and up-to-date forensic science. People have mobile phones and contend with rainy English weather and flooded roads. There is even some snow.

On the side, you have Phillip's love life and his unexpected meeting with a woman who had been his teenage girlfriend - they had a torrid teenage affair and had been caught once snogging it in the backroom of a shop. People are never the same if you have a reunion years later. You can't go home again, and sometimes its better to just retain pleasant memories.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MADbookshelf on September 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Literally could not put this one down ... well, could but very reluctantly.

A fan of Bethancourt and Gibbons from the beginning, this one is the most intriguing of all. I love the cosy way it surrounded me with the comforts and eccentricities of life in England while reminding me of the incessantly dreary winter weather, all the while intertwining whimsy and mayhem. Even in the heat of summer, I felt curled up in front of a hearth fire, wrapped in something soft and wooly. It was really a marvelous read.

I won't go into the plot here, since I hate spoilers, but must say I fell for a red herring or two, but found the resolve totally believable.

More, more, please of this crime-fighting (well, crime-solving) duo.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Miss Print VINE VOICE on September 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Christmas in England this year is dismal. The foul weather in Yorkshire does little to help Phillip Bethancourt's mood as he faces the prospect of poor weather and poor company in the form of his stodgy relatives. Happily, for Bethancourt at least, his holiday is soon sidetracked by his friend's investigation of a suspicious murder.

Detective Sergeant Jack Gibbons is sorry to miss Christmas with his family but after weeks recovering from gunshot wounds at his childhood home, Jack is also eager to get back to work and his own flat in London. Although Gibbons does finally get back to Scotland Yard, his time in London is cut short when he is dispatched to York to determine the connection, if any, between a body found in a York shop and a serial killer who has been striking throughout Southern England.

The murder was likely the work of the Ashdon Killer. But then another murder is discovered at a well-respected York bookshop. As Gibbons and Bethancourt investigate the bookshop killing it seems less and less likely the murder has any connection to Ashdon though the case does raise its own fair share of questions. Bringing the murdered to justice might not catch the Ashdon Killer, but it is still a murder and one both Gibbons and Bethancourt would like very much to see solved in A Spider on the Stairs (2010) by Cassandra Chan.

A Spider on the Stairs is Chan's fourth book featuring Gibbons and Bethancourt (preceeded, in publication order, by The Young Widow, Village Affairs and Trick of the Mind) and possibly the best so far.*

Chan manages to keep the plot fresh and original without departing completely from the aspects that regular readers already find so appealing.
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