Publishers Weekly Review
Brett's entertaining 18th mystery set in the West Sussex seaside town of Fethering (after 2015's Killer in the Cafe) opens at an author evening at the Fethering public library. The speaker is Burton St. Clair, who has finally achieved bestseller status with his ninth novel, Stray Leaves in Autumn-a mawkish, old-fashioned romance, in the opinion of Jude Nichol, who's in the audience and knew Burton years before, when he was self-publishing his books under his real name, Al Sinclair. When Burton, who's allergic to walnuts, dies after drinking red wine tainted with walnut at the event, Jude, who was aware of his allergy, becomes a prime suspect in his murder. Naturally, she turns for help proving her innocence to fellow amateur sleuth Carole Seddon, her old friend and neighbor. Brett takes delightful potshots at the publishing world, writers, and village life, all the while providing a top-notch whodunit plot with loads of red herrings and eccentric suspects. Readers fond of wry, offhand wit ("Burton's shoulders were home to more chips than McDonald's") will be rewarded. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.