At her husband’s funeral, Heather Mallet is publicly accused of his murder. But did she really kill her husband, as many residents of the sleepy coastal town of Fethering believe? To get to the heart of the matter, local amateur sleuths Carole and Jude join the community choir and discover that amidst the clashing egos and petty resentments there lurk some decidedly false notes. At least one chorister would appear to be hiding a deadly secret – and it’s up to Carole and Jude to unearth the truth.
Brett's pleasing 19th Fethering mystery (after 2018's The Liar in the Library) finds the small West Sussex seaside town the home of strident and upright Carole Seddon, a retired civil servant, and the more morally elastic Jude Nichols, who, after a variety of careers, is now a new age healer abuzz with the news that wealthy, retired Leonard Mallett has died from a fall down the stairs. When his second wife, Heather, shows up at the church funeral in full merry widow mode, "the oldest question in crime and in crime fiction, too" arises: did he fall or was he pushed? After the service, Leonard's grown daughter, who doesn't get along with her stepmother, tells Carole that Heather killed her father. Carole and her fellow amateur sleuth, Jude, inveigle their way into interviews with witnesses and suspects, including members of the church choir, a famous tenor, and a not-so-successful rock singer. Another death ups the ante. Peppered with wry wit, the story unfurls smoothly and swiftly. Series fans and newcomers alike will enjoy spending time with the eccentric yet endearing Carole and Jude.