Bells On Her Toes Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Bells On Her Toes is an intriguing rural mystery, centred on horses. By coincidence, I read this book in tandem with Robert B Parker's Hugger Mugger, another detective novel centred on the horse racing world. It was interesting to compare the similarities and differences within the two novels, contrasting the American private detective of Parker with the British police officers of Diana J Febry. Undoubtedly, there are differences, though there are similarities as well, particularly in the strength of the storytelling and entertainment value. Robert B Parker is acknowledged as a grandmaster of the private detective novel and with books like Bells On Her Toes, Diana J Febry is deserving of similar status in the world of British mystery novels.
Her other characters are varied, from the commoners to the elite upstarts in the upper classes. Although the characters were great, maybe less is more. It did get a little confusing because there was a lot to concentrate on.
Febry uses sub plots to the best, they are not misleading but they do add to the mystery and the investigation in an ideal way to keep the reader guessing. The plot is well thought out and the pace is steady, which is needed for this great story.
Bells on Her Toes is well written, the narrative and dialogue can not be faulted. Set in a small village Febry has a knack of delivering the descriptive in a clear way that the reader becomes famliar with it.
It's not long, however, before they are practically up to their ears in bodies and the fact they have been warned to tread lightly in their investigation because the earl's family may - or may not be - involved doesn't help matters any.
Add to that the fact that Hatherall's personal life is a mess and his partner's isn't in much better shape and you have the makings of a very interesting story. Throw in horse racing, a retired movie star, drug dealing, secret government testing, animal rights protesters, and some truly unlikable (and possibly unsavory) characters roaming about and the story goes from "interesting" to "mesmerizing."
Author Diana J. Febry's "Bells on Her Toes" is a cross between an English country mystery and modern American detective story with some fairly flawed characters on both sides of the law. The setting is pure English, complete with members of the nobility and quirky village characters. Hatherall and Williams, meanwhile, could just as easily be prowling the mean streets of New York or Chicago. Beset by personal problems that might easily get in the way of their jobs, worried about how well they are investigating the case, unsure of their partnership; Hatherall and Willliams could pass for any number of American detectives. This blend of rural English mystery and detectives with enough personal problems to keep a psychologist busy for years makes for excellent reading.
The narrative is smoothly written and the plot has some nice little twists - complete with red herrings - that kept me guessing as to the murderer's identity right to the very end of the story. That's a big plus for me because I really do enjoy reading a book that keeps me guessing until the last few pages.
The verdict: An excellent mystery story with interesting characters and top-shelf writing.
I highly recommend it.