A Rounder Brothers Mystery by Julian Cole
Review: A murder investigation pits one brother, a cop, against the other, a private investigator — though one isn't aware that the other is working against him — in Felicity's Gate, the second mystery in this series by Julian Cole.
Local artist Jane Wragge has been found murdered, her head bashed in. Her live-in lover, Moses Mundy, is the prime suspect; indeed, he found her body and called it in to the police. Mundy has taken off before York Detective Inspector Sam Rounder arrives on the scene, but he hasn't gone far; he quickly hires Rounder's brother Rick, a private investigator, to prove his innocence. Rick is a former cop and knows there's a conflict of interest, but in contrast to his brother who gets a regular paycheck, Rick depends on these kinds of assignments to pay the bills. Sam has no clues to finding Mundy — Sam is unaware that Rick is currently in his employ — while Mundy sends Rick off to London to get the evidence that he claims will exonerate him.
There's a potentially interesting cat-and-mouse dynamic buried within the pages of Felicity's Gate but it's completely overshadowed by lengthy discourses on relationships between men and women. (And somewhat ironically, not so much between the brothers, the presumed premise of the series.) Separately, Rick is hired by a woman who suspects her husband is cheating on her. Actually, she knows he is; she simply wants material proof. To Rick, it's just another job, but is causes him to evaluate his own relationship with his girlfriend. In many ways, this subplot actually seems to be the primary storyline of the book since so much of what happens is related to it … though it has nothing to do with the murder. And then there's Sam's constant cogitation about his marriage. He's effectively moved out of the house into the garage attic, but wonders how it came to be this way. That he's secretly reading the victim's diary — evidence from the crime scene that he intentionally withheld — gives voyeurism a whole new meaning. The criminal aspects in the book are well developed and followed through on — there actually is another murder committed — but are so secondary to everything else that this can hardly be called a crime novel at all, let alone a thriller (as proclaimed on the dust jacket cover).
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Felicity's Gate for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Amateur Historian
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), June 2010
ISBN-13: 9780312586591; ISBN-10: 0312586590
Location(s) referenced in Felicity's Gate: York, England
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Felicity's Gate by Julian Cole — A Rounder Brothers Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 2011
List Price: $25.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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