An Emily Castles Mystery by Helen Smith
Review: The Royal Society for the Exploration of Science and Culture has set a date for their annual Belief and Beyond Conference and is seeking philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, theologians and ethicists to come together to debate the nature of belief. This year, for the first time, psychics, mediums, and hypnotists have been invited to join them. The discussions will center on what each believes, why they believe, not whether any one belief is right or wrong. Famed physic Perspicacious Peg has predicted a murder will occur during the convention and has asked amateur sleuth Emily Castles to join the group, all expenses paid, in Torquay, England during Easter weekend to work as a "future crimes investigator" in Beyond Belief, the fourth mystery in this series by Helen Smith.
The victim will be the illustrious magician Edmond Zenon, who had advertised that he would perform a daring stunt sometime during the activities. Plus he has offered £50,000 to anyone attending the seminar who can prove that paranormal activity exists. After meeting many the attendees — including a flamboyant fortune teller, a kindly young man with three physic dogs, devastated parents who are still mourning the death of their son, religious cult members, and more — Emily doesn't believe anyone will collect the Zenon's prize offer. As predicted a person is murdered, followed by two more. Even Emily is assaulted before she can identify whodunit. And while she is offered another impressive, exciting job, Emily decides she is ready to return to her home in London and go back to her mundane job working as an office temp.
Beyond Belief is an enjoyable mystery, though one that seems focused more on creating a cast of eccentric characters, some more interesting and entertaining than others, than anything else. The murder mystery storyline is set up nicely but is often secondary to all that is going on at the conference. Too, Emily Castles doesn't even have a prominent role here, just one of a group of people — and animals — out to solve the crime. Kind of charming in an English-village sort of way, but overall not terribly memorable.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Beyond Belief.
Acknowledgment: Thomas & Mercer provided a copy of Beyond Belief for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Beyond Belief: England
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Beyond Belief by Helen Smith — An Emily Castles Mystery
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: January 2014
List Price: $14.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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