- Series: Bethancourt and Gibbons Mysteries (Book 4)
- 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: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,335,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Spider on the Stairs (Bethancourt and Gibbons Mysteries) Hardcover – July 20, 2010
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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.
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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
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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.
The mystery was good, the situation believable, setting intriguing and, best of all, the characters well drawn and likable. I recommend this author to those who enjoy the kind of work that was done by writers like Sayers, Tey, Allingham and Christie, classic mystery authors, and by modern favorites like Deborah Crombie and Louise Penny.
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.
read all of the books in series, this being the latest and just as good as
Highly recommend the book and hope there are going to be many more in the
series to follow