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THE EMBROIDERED CORPSE is the sequel to CAPABLE OF MURDER. Our Australian heroine, Belinda Lawrence, has put the events surrounding the murder of her aunt behind her and has now moved permanently to England. She is living quietly in the village of Mitford in the house bequeathed to her by her late aunt. However, her sleuthing days are not over. After a trip to purchase antique furniture for her friend Hazel's shop, Belinda finds herself in the possession of a mysterious piece of tapestry that may, or may not, be linked to the famous Bayeux Tapestry. However, ownership brings danger. Two murders occur in quick succession. The first is that of the original owner of the tapestry. The second murder is the local vicar who had offered to help her check the tapestry's authenticity. Both men are killed in the same bizarre way. Belinda and her friends start to investigate and find they learn more than they wanted to know about a medieval French invasion of England, royal shenanigans, monks and people who are not afraid to kill for what they believe in.

THE EMBROIDERED CORPSE is a cosy murder mystery. Belinda is a feisty and believable heroine who is in total control of herself. She can actually walk out of a bedroom leaving a naked man in her bed without a second glance - now that's control. Her best friend, Hazel, is an antique dealer who has just gone through a divorce, and is consoling herself with young men and lots of alcohol to stave off the horror of being rejected for a younger woman. Belinda also has a gorgeous boyfriend, Mark, a real estate agent who would like more snuggling in bed, more sex, and less chasing after obscure clues. This unlikely trio have to deal with mad, and probably murderous monks, along with their religious leaders (who may just be the true descendents of the British throne) trying to kill, kidnap or generally harass anyone to get their hands on the tapestry. At first Hazel and Mark think Belinda is off her rocker for thinking that there is more to the tapestry than meets the eye. But as the strange events mount up, and when Hazel is beaten up by one of the monks, they change their minds and allow Belinda to go off and follow up her suspicions.

Hazel and Mark both appeared in the first novel, albeit as suspects. Despite the fact that the brewing romance between Mark and Belinda in the first book has now been consummated in the second, the romance does not get in the way of the action. Once again author, Brian Kavenagh, has produced a well-written book, with a believable plot with just a touch of suspense and gothic horror, culminating in a very spooky graveyard climax. He has obviously researched his subject well, and has his British history down pat, and yes, it is widely believed that some parts of the original tapestry are missing. Kavenagh skilfully weaves true history, legend and fiction to produce another outstanding story. I can't wait for the soon-to-be-released third in the series, BLOODY HAM

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Murder and intrigue in the English countryside When Belinda Lawrence first sees a piece of tapestry on an antique buying expedition, she is instantly curious. Could this be a missing piece of the Bayeux Tapestry? Belinda's friend and colleague Hazel Whitby is not so intrigued. She doesn't understand Belinda's fascination. When the tapestry comes into Belinda's possession through a strange series of events, she still can't arouse Hazel's interest, nor that of her boyfriend Mark. To them it is just a rag. But when two murders seem to be connected to the tapestry and other troubling events start happening around them, the trio realise there is a mystery to be solved.

Review THE EMBROIDERED CORPSE - Brain Kavanagh
Sunday, October 12, 2008

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