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Village Affairs Hardcover – October 31, 2006


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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312337507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312337506
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chan's second contemporary homage to Dorothy Sayers (after 2005's The Young Widow) lacks the subtle characterization and meticulous plotting of the Lord Peter Wimsey saga, though cozy fans should enjoy the charming Cotswolds setting, in particular the congenial local pub where much of the action takes place. Scotland Yard detective Jack Gibbons and his well-to-do friend, Phillip Bethancourt, go to Chipping Chedding to investigate the death of one of the village's most popular residents, Charlie Bingham. While a possibly accidental mix of sleeping pills and whiskey did Charlie in, his body having been moved to the fireside where it was found raises suspicions. A surfeit of sleuths, including one of Jack's police superiors and Phillip's bumbling host, muddles the evidence gathering. Amid the red herrings, the author provides enough fair-play clues for the discerning reader to discover the culprit. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The independently wealthy Phillip Bethancourt is hoping an interesting murder will take brokenhearted Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Jack Gibbon's mind off the end of his unhappy love affair. Bethancourt gets his wish when Charles Bingham is found dead in his Cotswolds cottage. Phillip and his girlfriend, Marla, a model, have gone to the area for a photo shoot, and Gibbons soon joins them. Bethancourt, a Peter Wimsey-like character, investigates, along with Scotland Yard, in this leisurely paced mystery. It turns out Bingham was a very wealthy man with a secret girlfriend no one can identify. Did she kill him? Or was it his estranged daughter? Or his business partner? Bethancourt is a charming character with a great interest in and talent for solving crimes as a hobby. A well-developed plot, intriguing and likable characters, solid investigative techniques, and an excellent sense of place distinguish this second in a series. Sue O'Brien
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 11 customer reviews
The character development is amazing.
Frederick J. Robinson
I'm sure he can find a girlfriend who's compatible as well as beautiful.
moderatelymoderate
Can't wait for more from this writer.
joleslie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant Jack Gibbons is heartbroken that Annette Berowne dumped him. Marla Tate suggests to Jack's best friend affluent Phillip Betancourt that they help the cop come out of the doldrums by surrounding him with attractive females. However, Jack has a court appearance so can not join his pal amongst the fashion models in the Cotswold.

However, Jack and Detective Chief Inspector Wallace Carmichael head to Chipping Chedding in the Cotswold to investigate the death of Charlie Bingham, a successful inventor. The deceased apparently died from mixing sleeping pills with whiskey, but Jack has found anomalies like the body being moved by the fireplace that makes him suspect a homicide occurred. As he investigates what he believes is murder, his boss, his friend, a local cop, and a wannabe sleuth entangle the case with confusion, as what is evidence becomes difficult to filter from what is a red herring and a blunder.

Though it lacks the Wimsey of Lord Peter's mysteries (as much of the key cast is stereotyped), the second Gibbons tale (see THE YOUNG WIDOW) once again reverently brings Dorothy Sayers into the twenty-first century with a delightful Cotswold cozy. The story line is fun as Jack finds the biggest obstacles to solving the case are the myriad of silly sleuths. Fans of Ms. Sayers will enjoy Jack's look into the wealthy businessman's VILLAGE AFFAIRS and other dealings.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kausik Datta on April 4, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For those who are not familiar with the Bethancourt and Gibbons series, this book would be a nice starter. It is fun and enjoyable; it has elements of crime thriller, buddy affection, conjugal love and a typical British countryside village atmosphere. I enjoyed reading this book, but I have given it three stars, because at times the "British atmosphere" seems too contrived, and clearly Phillip Bethancourt does not stand a chance against his more illustrious predecessor, Lord Peter Wimsey.

The book blurb prominently mentions the name of Dorothy L. Sayers, indicating that this authoress has taken over the mantle of Ms. Sayers. Utter bunkum. Phillip is a man about town, but lamentably lacks the class, grace, intelligence, savoir faire, and sensitivity of Dorothy Sayers' Wimsey, and his model girlfriend, Marla, is no match for Ms. Harriet Vane. But that inadequacy does not mitigate the enjoyability of this book. Do give it a try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lorraine Talbot on May 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Scotland Yard Sgt. Jack Gibbons is suffering from a breakup with a woman he'd expected to marry and he's drinking a little too much. He needs a good case to absorb his interest. One appears when his best friend, wealthy Philip Bethacourt goes, with his model girlfriend, into the country for a fashion shoot. Charlie Bingham, a neighbor of his host, dies under suspecious circumstances. Philip can never resist "assisting" Gibbons with his investigations. It is an intriguing case. Charlie lived simply but was really a wealthy inventor. He has one daughter he seldom sees, and a mysterious woman friend no one knows anything about. There are assorted interesting villagers - a vicar madly in love with his beautiful wife, a handsome artist known for his suductions, and other local characters.
It's a lovely modern day classic detective story with moving and intriguing portrayals of the characters. For example, Charlie, the first victim, never appears as a live character in the book, but I felt such sadness as I read about his funeral.
I also enjoyed the previous book, "The Young Widow," that featured these detectives and I'm anxious to get the next one.
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By Pops on July 1, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed the characters, lost of fun!
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By joleslie on April 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chan is an excellent writer who channels Agatha Christie in a modern sense. Definitely an enjoyable mystery. Can't wait for more from this writer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me just add a few observations to what other reviewers have written.

Except for a few things such as cell phones & policewomen, the village was as it had been 50 or more years ago. The newest buildings were Victorian, & early Victorian at that.

I enjoyed the financially-strapped aristocrat Astley-Cooper quite a bit. His attempts at haute cuisine were hilarious. On the other hand, I found Bethancourt's girlfriend Marla unpleasant. She hated his avocation of sleuthing, so again & again had to be won back with groveling & expensive presents. I'm sure he can find a girlfriend who's compatible as well as beautiful.
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