Murder Most Adventurous

When Belinda Lawrence comes into possession of a piece of aged tapestry through her attendance at an estate auction with her friend Hazel Whitby, neither woman is aware of the significance of the scrap, or the lengths some will go to get their hands on it. Through her efforts to determine the provenance of the fabric, Belinda finds its roots may be related to the famed Bayeux Tapestry commemorating the coronation of William the Conqueror. Belinda's fascination soon turns to fear as her safety and security and that of her friends are jeopardized. It appears that a religious sect believing that William was improperly crowned and that King Harold was, and remained, the true king of England may be going so far as to commit murder to try and get their hands on that piece of tapestry. Does the figure of the corpse embroidered into the fabric Belinda holds depict a long-ago death, or a portent of things to come?

Readers with an interest in British antiquities and heritage will find Brian Kavanagh's The Embroidered Corpse an especially interesting mystery. While the book does have a modern setting, British medieval history plays a great role in the development of the plot. Kavanagh does an excellent job of retelling the history of William the Conquerors rise to rule and the affects of Williams rule on his contemporaries throughout the book as the plot moves forward.

With extensive use of highly descriptive terms, it's clear that the author spent considerable time and effort in selecting just the right terms to differentiate between subtle shades of meaning. While occasionally the reader notices the word more than the action it�s describing, overall, Kavanagh demonstrates great command of vocabulary.

Brian Kavanagh has created quite a likeable protagonist in Belinda Lawrence; independent, strong willed and smart, she's more than a match for some of the more unsuspecting adversarial characters in the book. The author does an excellent job of hooking the reader in the very beginning of the book, as the story opens with Belinda and her boyfriend Mark shortly after she's received a phone call from an old boyfriend in Australia. Unfortunately, we never hear any more about the old boyfriend, and the characters personal lives remain on the periphery of the story. Greater development of the personal lives of the characters would have provided a nice balance to the historical and mystery threads of the book. Kavanagh has written into existence some memorable characters, and it would be wonderful to see more of them.

With a nice variety of mystery, mayhem and murder, The Embroidered Corpse delivers a well-written tale to mystery readers, antiquities aficionados and history buffs. Review by Amy Brozio-Andrews

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