Becket Remains A Mystery, June 25, 2013
Karen J. Dahood "moxie cosmos"
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: A Canterbury Crime (A Belinda Lawrence Mystery) (Kindle Edition)
Ha, ha on me. After reading Capable of Murder and The Embroidered Corpse, and confessing that I didn't like Belinda and Hazel very much, I am right back at Kavanagh's knee. The author is a good storyteller and he gives the reader a lot of English history to chew on. I feel a bit like a cow, though, because I am supposed to know this stuff by now. Never mind, Kavanagh gives a bit more than dry textbooks, and from my quick researches it seems he is accurate enough.
He has been very successful in the Australian film industry, and the years devoted to that medium seem to have put him at an advantage for setting a brisk pace in his books about the amateur detective, an Australian who who inherited her aunt's cottage in Bath, England, and is now helping an antiques dealer buy and sell, and, in this case, evaluate the contents of an historic manor house. Belinda also is thinking about settling down with a lover who makes a living in real estate. In this fourth book in the Belinda series, Mark is about to become a Lord. Belinda must decide if she has the patience to be a Lady. However, matters at hand put that decision off. She has accompanied Hazel to Canterbury, the cathedral city that developed from the first seat of Christianity in England. It was the place where four knights of Henry II brought about the death of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until 1170. Becket and Henry had been friends and collaborators until they disagreed about the powers of Church over State, or vice versa. Becket's assassination was especially brutal, according to popular accounts, with the crown of the victim's head being severed so it revealed his brain. Becket was canonized in 1173 and in death had a cult following. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is about pilgrims on their way to Becket's shrine.
More important to this mystery is that Becket's mangled remains were buried and later moved twice within the Cathedral grounds, so that today no one is sure where exactly they are or what they consist of. The fictional Professor de Gray's work on this subject was about to be presented to publishers when he died. There was something a little dodgy about the hasty burial, and then when Belinda and Hazel arrive and start snooping,...
Kavanagh has improved Belindas's personality - has tamed her Aussie-ness, perhaps - and this time I did enjoy her along with the spooky setting, suspicious characters, and details of the actual architecture. One critic puts Kavanagh in the company of Peter James, Elizabeth George, and Peter Robinson. I disagree and would point instead to Jacqueline Winspear. It's not quite a fit, though, as Maisie Dobbs, after serving in World War I, is more serious than our Belinda, who is a perky woman with 21st century independence yet embedded in romantic mystery novels that depend on history to carry the plots.
Causes Brian Kavanagh Supports
Blind associations, Cancer research, Stroke Foundations.