Posts Tagged ‘Theodora Braithwaite’

Foolish Ways

This is the ninth and last book in the Theodora Braithwaite mystery series and possibly one of the best in my opinion. Theodora is attending a conference at an out of season and run down holiday camp on the East Anglian coast.  She has finally finished her book on Thomas Henry Newcome and is awaiting its publication.

There are several old friends at the conference and Theodora enjoys renewing her acquaintance with them.  The first indication that something untoward is going on is the discovery of the body of a priest – Joshua Makepeace – dead in a washing machine in the launderette.  This brings another old friend of Theodora’s into the mix – Inspector – now Superintendent Spruce.  Naturally he immediately enlists her help and advice as soon as possible.

This is a complex plot with several strands and Theodora finds her loyalty tested in more ways than she could possibly have expected when she set out to attend the conference.  The book is well written with plenty of wry humour and interesting background about the way the Church of England works.  If you enjoy cosy mysteries which are a little out of the ordinary then this may be one for you.  It is part of a series but can be read as a standalone novel.

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A Grave Disturbance

This is the eighth book in this entertaining series and it sees Theodora visiting an old friend for what she hopes is some rest and relaxation.  However she soon finds herself persuaded to help Susan find out what is troubling her husband and whether he actually is being blackmailed. The death of a workman on some scaffolding put up to facilitate restoration work on the cathedral spire is the event which sparks all sorts of unwelcome revelations for the cathedral and its staff.

I enjoyed reading this well written mystery with its complex web of links between people.  I like Theodora as a character and love the way she finds herself inveigled into helping others when she really doesn’t want to do so.  She is a very human character. The other characters are interesting too especially Lionel, the Archdeacon’s assistant who seems very enterprising and wasted in the job he is doing.

If you like your mysteries with very little violence and no bad language but plenty of twists and turns and an interesting and well realised background then this could be the one for you.  The series can be read in any order.

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Heavenly Vices

Theodora Braithwaite is visiting Gracemount theological college, founded by Thomas Henry Newcome in the nineteenth century because she is writing a biography of him and wishes to consult his archive which is held at the college.  She hopes for a week of peace and quiet but she finds everyone wants her to do something for them and she despairs of ever getting her hands on her subject’s diaries.

The Warden of the college – Conrad Duff – has recently died in somewhat dubious circumstances and his widow wants Theodora to find out who was responsible. I love Theodora as a character – she is not always in the best of moods and she loves being on her own and reading – a lady after my own heart!

The portrait painted by this author of the machinations of the Church of England isn’t always pleasant but it is often witty and never less than entertaining.  I enjoy the way Theodora sets about her investigations and I thought the mystery was well plotted.  This book is number seven in the series but the books can be read in any order.

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Mortal Spoils

Tom Logg has a degree in business studies and his first job is at Ecclesia Place – the administration headquarters of the Church of England.  He is fascinated by the workings of the organisation though he isn’t at all impressed by his tyrannical boss – Canon Clutch.

In the middle of an important meeting between the heads of an assortment of churches he finds what appears to be a dead Bishop.  His business studies course didn’t cover finding dead bodies but fortunately he remembers a friend mentioning Deaconess Theodora Braithwaite and he asks for her help.

Theodora in turn is impressed with Tom’s grasp of the workings of the church’s administration and his assessment of the people who run it and she is persuaded to help him find out the identity of the body.

As ever this book is full of the author’s wry observations on the administration of the church.  The characters are fascination and some od them down right unpleasant but all too believable.  I like Theodora as a characters and I sympathise with her desire for some time on her own when having moved into her own flat she is inundated by a stream of visitors.

If you enjoy so-called cosy mysteries then you will probably enjoy this one.  It is number six in a series but it can be read as a standalone novel and the series doesn’t need to be read in the order in which the books were written.

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Every Deadly Sin

Theodora Braithwaite is on a retreat at a shrine in North Yorkshire called St Sylvan at Rest.  She is with an ill-assorted group of people and she wonders how everyone is going to get on together.  Most of all she needs silence and peace to make sense of her own thoughts and emotions.  However it seems fate is conspiring against her with some strange goings on in the guest house followed by a murder.

I really enjoyed this book and it kept me reading long after my usual bed time.  The story is well plotted and the characters well drawn and interesting.  I liked the atmospheric descriptions of the shrine and the odd assortment of people who visit it apart from the people who are there for the retreat.

If you liked classic mystery stories with a small group of suspects and little on the page violence then you may enjoy this one.  It is the fifth in the series featuring Theodora Braithwaite but it can be read as a standalone novel.

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Holy Terrors

Theodora Braithwaite has been asked to do some teaching at St Veep’s – an exclusive girls’ school which her grandmother attended.  Meanwhile her vicar is teaching at a large comprehensive school at the opposite end of the educational spectrum.  A pupil is kidnapped from St Veep’s and a pupil is killed in the comprehensive school – there couldn’t be any connection, could there?

Both Theodora and Geoffrey think there could be a connection and that it could reach back into the past. They start to do some digging on their own account as they don’t feel that anyone is taking enough interest in either of the events.

I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as I enjoyed the first three books in the series – possibly because I mainly read it in very short spells so I didn’t feel I really got into the story as I have done with the previous books.  The plot was quite complicated as well and I think I got confused.  I shall go on to read the rest of the series though as I think I was probably just in the wrong mood for this particular book.

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Idol Bones

Theodora Braithwaite has been sent to the East Anglian city of Bow to get involved in education for the laity.  It quickly becomes clear to her that all is not as it should be in and around the cathedral and a scurrilous column in the local paper reflects this.  Someone close to the church must be writing it and the Bishop asks Theodora if she will try and find out who is responsible.

When a body is found in the cathedral close with its throat cut and lying at the feet of a recently discovered pagan statue of Janus like a sacrificial offering it is obvious things have got out of hand.  Inspector Spruce is on secondment to the Bow police force and he asks for Theodora’s help in finding out what is going on.

This is an entertaining clerical mystery with some very dark undercurrents and some thoroughly unpleasant people.  It is well plotted with plenty of touches of humour and some well drawn and all too human characters.  It is the third book in the Theodora Braithwaite series but can be read as a standalone story.

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