Book Review: Murder of the Bride by C.S. Challinor

Murder of the Bride
(Rex Graves Mystery Series Book #5)
C.S. Challinor
Midnight Ink, March 2012
ISBN 978-0-7387-2335-8
Trade Paperback (E-ARC)

Rex Graves is back, this time visiting his fiancee, Helen d’Arcy, so they can attend the wedding in Aston-on-Trent of one of her former students. Polly is very pregnant and her groom, Timmy, looks a bit peaked but is it just the dreary day leading Rex to think the success of this marriage is doubtful? Perhaps not, as the reception at the bride’s family country home in Derbyshire soon turns from a pleasant celebration to a scene of mayhem when Polly collapses, looking more than a little green. The vicar and Victoria, the bride’s mother soon fall just as ill and it becomes apparent that food poisoning may be the cause. When the ambulance arrives, though, Rex suggests that the hospital might want to test for arsenic poisoning as he has recognized the symptoms.

As a barrister in Scotland, Rex has some knowledge of such things and he has begun to develop a reputation as a sleuth.¬† Certainly there are indications that mischief is afoot, such as the disappearance of the bride and groom figures from the top of the wedding cake and the apparent theft of some very valuable collectibles but the news that Polly’s long-lost father may have returned to the area and the discovery of a body at the bottom of the tower solidify Rex’s misgivings.

Leaving the reception and heading to Aston-on-Trent, Rex learns a great deal more about the secrets of the Newcombe and Thorpe families. Is jealousy behind the attacks? Greed? Infidelity? Overbearing mothers? Rex and the local police have an overabundance of clues and evidence and getting to the solution to the case will require much thought and cooperation.

This latest case for Rex Graves is every bit as charming and entertaining as those in earlier books and readers will not be disappointed. The setting, an English country home, is as much a character as the people and many of those characters are a delight, especially Police Constable Perrin¬† (and the cast of characters provided by the author is very much appreciated). It should be noted that, while the book is billed as a locked-room mystery, that really isn’t true. That slight failing does nothing to dampen enjoyment of Murder of the Bride and I will look forward eagerly to my favorite Scottish barrister’s next case.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2012.