A Shadowed Livery

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Member Reviews

Country house style murder mystery set pre second world war and the first in a new series featuring Inspector James Given. Thoroughly engaging, well written and researched with a deftly plotted storyline. Characters are credible and convincing and James Given a very likeable protagonist. I enjoyed the author's writing style and am looking forward to reading more in this very promising series.
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An excellent historical mystery that reminded me those of the Golden Age.
It's a bit slow at the beginning but after a few chapters I was hooked and couldn't put it down.
I liked the well researched historical background, the setting and the well developed characters.
The mystery is well plotted and kept me guessing.
I look forward to reading other books in this series.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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This is a historical mystery in the tradition of the golden age of crime, with the country house and a host of suspects, set in Warwickshire in the troubled times before WW2 in 1938. It begins with DI James Given witnessing the hanging of one of two men he had arrested for beating a Jewish butcher to death. There is more work to be done on the case, but Given is moved to another inquiry by Superintendent Dyer, one which requires him to evaluate whether the police were correct in laying to rest the death of three people at Grovestock House, the home of the wealthy Sir Arthur Barleigh and his family, assumed from the available evidence to be a murder-suicide, and suicide. However, the media thinks there has been a cover up, so Given makes his way there, working with the young local village policeman, John Sawyer, who had taken photographs of the crime scenes.

Lady Isabelle had shot her disabled son, Tom, unhappy about his imminent marriage, and then killed herself straight after. The apparently distraught beautiful fiancee, Jenny Bamford, then kills herself with a gun in her bedroom. A gardening boy, Billy Sharp, has gone missing as has Tom's nurse, Trudi Collinge. As Given goes over the evidence in detail and interviews the relevant individuals, everything seems to be in order, but he can feel something is not right and that he is looking at murder. To make matters worse, he is shocked that the woman he wanted to marry but who ran away from him, Elizabeth Parry is the housekeeper, a suspect for whom he still has feelings. Given's background and identity is particularly relevant given the growth of Hitler and fascism in Germany and the rising number of attacks on Jews in Britain, all of which has personal implications for him and his family.

Garratt writes a well plotted historical mystery set amidst the turbulent pre-war times, involving Special Branch and the intelligence services in Given's case. The diligent and determined Given eventually uncovers dangerous family secrets and plenty of intrigue, in a story of class and family. This is an entertaining and engaging read which I very much enjoyed, with its details of the historical period and with a upcoming war on the horizon. Many thanks to Sapere Books for an ARC.
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*Many thanks to Charlie Garratt, Sapere Books and Netgalley for ARC in exchange for my honest review.*
Had I not known better, I would have categorized this novel as belonging to The Golden Age Detective Stories as it reads like a piece of the old Masters. And for me it means it is good, to say the least.
There are mysterious deaths of three people which seem to be a murder and two suicides. Inspector James Given has some doubts and begins probing into the family history. During the investigation we learn more about his past and identity, and in the background the Munich Conference is over.
This is a truly well-written novel, with interesting characters and narration that takes a reader on a smooth ride. Not many novels of the genre written in contemporary times read so well!
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I was slightly disappointed with A Shadowed Livery by Charlie Garratt as I found the book a little bit too slow and therefore difficult to get into.

The premis of the book is very good so maybe it was just me. I will give the next one in the series a go and will probably return to A Shadowed Livery at some future date
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"The first book in a page-turning historical mystery series! Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Philip Kerr and Andrew Taylor.

War is on the horizon...

Warwickshire, England, 1938.

While Hitler and Chamberlain are preparing to sign the Munich agreement, the murderer of a Jewish shopkeeper is being hanged in Birmingham.

After witnessing the execution, Inspector James Given, who brought the killer to justice, is surprised to find he has been taken off the investigation to pursue something completely different.

Grovestock House, owned by the wealthy Barleigh family has witnessed a triple death.

With the terrible events neatly written off as a murder and a double suicide, Given is supposed to tidy up a few loose ends with the help of local constable, John Sawyer.

But Given is sure there is more to the case than meets the eye.

What dark secrets were the Barleigh family hiding? Could there be another killer involved?

And how will Given react when he is forced to confront the ghosts of his past...?

A Shadowed Livery is an intriguing historical mystery - a traditional British investigation set in England immediately before the Second World War."

A time of change, a true event, and perfect for fans of Agatha Christie? Perfect summer read in my book.
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