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Beyond Belief (Emily Castles Mysteries) by [Smith, Helen]
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Beyond Belief (Emily Castles Mysteries) Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Length: 231 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In the second entry in Smith’s cozy series (after Invitation to Die), Emily Castles leaves her part-time job in London to travel to the seaside town of Torquay to be a “future crimes investigator.” Emily’s neighbor, philosophy professor Dr. Muriel, persuades her to attend the Belief and Beyond conference to help prevent a premonition that someone will drown at the conference. The suspected victim, magician Edmund Zenon, has offered £50,000 to anyone who can prove the existence of the paranormal. Emily encounters a wide variety of believers and nonbelievers during her investigation, including an aging actress-turned-fortune-teller, three psychic dachshunds, and several religious fanatics. When people start dying and Emily herself is attacked, she must use earthly detective skills to find the killer. VERDICT Don’t expect a fast-paced plot here. Rather, the book’s strong points are its atmospheric setting and the well-developed characters. Despite the contemporary setting, Smith’s mystery has the feel of an earlier time period. Recommended for those who like clean mysteries with a touch of humor, especially fans of Jill Churchill, Joan Hess, Leslie Meier, or Carolyn Hart.

From Kirkus Reviews

When a psychic foresees death at a seaside convention, even the most cynical learn that they’d better pay attention. Bored with her office job in London, Emily Castles happily accepts an all-expenses-paid trip to the resort town of Torquay, the site of Belief and Beyond, a convention for paranormal research. Her friends at the Royal Society for the Exploration of Science and Culture are also willing to pay for her services as a future-crimes investigator, particularly since Emily’s neighbor, Perspicacious Peg, has had premonitions that someone will drown at the convention. The highlight of Belief and Beyond is notable magician Edmund Zenon’s offer of £50,000 to anyone who can prove the existence of the paranormal. Emily is as skeptical as Zenon himself that anyone will collect the money, especially after she meets some of the conventioneers: the leader of an obscure religious cult, a couple who’ve brought along the psychic who’s communicating with their dead son, and a fortuneteller who owns a costume store to help with dry spells in her vocation. The foreboding visions, after much arch humor at the expense of the daffy characters’ antics, finally start to come true—and then don’t stop.

Emily (Invitation to Die, 2013, etc.) returns in an equal opportunity satire of those who believe in the paranormal and those who exploit the believers. It’s an enjoyable tale with a leisurely buildup, though readers in search of a fast moving mystery will be fidgeting long before the first murder.


Product Details

  • File Size: 21687 KB
  • Print Length: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (January 28, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 28, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DWIGB50
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,067 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Darcia Helle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a fun, lighthearted mystery with vivid and memorable characters. At times some of the characters' eccentricities are over the top, but that's part of their charm. They bring the story to life with their outrageous personalities.

While this is a murder mystery, the content is handled in a humorous way. There are no gruesome details. I did wonder where the cops were during all the events, particularly toward the end. I would have expected a strong police presence, though they were oddly absent from the scene. But this small issue didn't stop me from enjoying the story as the plot unwound and took me down a few twisty paths.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Thank you for the review copy via netgalley.

When famed psychic Perspicacious Peg predicts a murder will occur at England’s Belief and Beyond conference, her science-minded colleagues recruit twenty-six-year-old budding sleuth Emily Castles to attend the event as a “future crimes investigator.” The suspected victim: celebrated magician Edmund Zenon, who plans to perform a daring stunt at the conference—and is offering fifty thousand pounds to any attendee who can prove that the paranormal exists.

A wonderful old school cosy mystery with some fascinating characters and a well imagined story I very much enjoyed this one.

Quintessentially english this is a book to read with a cup of tea by your side – and it felt very much like a homage to the Queen of Crime Agatha Christie and also put me in mind of the Agatha Raisin books which have always been favourites of mine, so if you like either of those you will probably enjoy this especially as the author has put her own voice and twist to this genre that is highly imaginative.

As the bodies pile up Emily Castle has her work cut out for her and this is pure escapism at its best. Peppered with fascinating quirky characters and some humerous asides the story romps along to a great “reveal” conclusion and I really did have tremendous fun with it.

Overall this makes me want to put Helen Smith on my list of “comfort read” authors. This is the first novel of hers that I have read but it certainly will not be the last. Perfect for curling up on a rainy Sunday afternoon and leaving the world behind for a while.

Happy Reading Folks!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This British flavored mystery has just the right mix of the endearingly quirky characters and reserved/absurd humor to make reading it a delight. I thought I was in for a treat when I read the premise: murder at a seaside gathering of skeptics and believers including psychics, philosophers, astrologers, ethicists, magicians, psychologists, and anthropologists. Beyond Belief didn’t let me down.

When several psychics predict a death by drowning at the Belief and Beyond conference and police won’t take this not-yet-committed crime seriously, they actually have the gall to snigger, conference organizers turn elsewhere. Emily Castle is a very amateur sleuth, most of the time she has a boring desk job that suits her just fine, thank you very much, but now she is getting a free weekend at the conference’s spa resort location to be a “future crimes investigator”, which the psychics believe she is qualified for because she’s a vegetarian, she has a dead dog that she thinks about a lot, and she always carries a notebook to jot down her thoughts.

More than half of the book goes by before there is a murder, but I was having such a good time with the characters debating beliefs in oceanside cafés, warding off evil in positivity circles, and seeking guidance from the indifferent dead in séances that I didn’t mind the delay. This is not the first book in this series, but that caused me no difficulty as I was reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am a huge fan of Emily Castles and her stories. Yes, Emily is a fictional character, but that doesn't make her any less real, does it? :) She flits from job to job, lives in a London neighborhood, and solves mysteries with her neighbor Dr. Muriel. I'm quite jealous of her, actually. I always wanted to be Nancy Drew when I was young. Now I want to be Emily Castles...(or Laura or Rosemary from Rosemary and Thyme which I've discovered on Netflix...but I digress).

In this latest Emily Castles mystery, Dr. Muriel is once again instrumental in Emily's new assignment as future crimes investigator for the Belief and Beyond conference. Psychics predict a death by drowning at the conference, and a famous magician offers a huge reward to anyone able to prove the existence of the paranormal.

I love the quirky mix of characters in the book. Bobby Blue Suit with his dachshunds and Madame Nova were 2 of my favorites. The mystery was just an added bonus to the story. I didn't know who-dun-it right away, so that made me happy. And even when I figured out WHO "dun" it, I didn't know HOW they "dun" it.

I have to share one of my favorite parts. This occurs when Emily finds out she is wanted for the position of future crimes investigator. " You want me to investigate a suspicious death that hasn't happened yet, using a legacy from a long-dead member of the British aristocracy--and the main reason you've decided to hire me is because I have a dead dog and I'm a vegetarian?" Ah, that British humor.....

I definitely recommend this book to those who appreciate British mystery books. It's a quick, quirky escape from your everyday routine.

I received a copy of this free for an honest review which I've given.
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