A VERY PRIVATE MURDER is the thirteenth book in the Charlie Priest series. Charlie is a detective inspector in the city of Heckley, in Yorkshire. Charlie is somewhat unusual in the ranks of fictional detective inspectors. He is relatively young, probably in his earl,y forties, he has never been married but not, the reader suspects, from lack of opportunity. He is not an alcoholic. He is, however, a talented artist. He likes his job. He is a delightfully uncomplicated addition to detective fiction.
The book starts with Charlie enjoying his holiday working in his garden. He gets a call ordering him to get to the official opening of the new shopping mall, the Curzon Centre. Arthur Threadneedle built the new addition to Heckley and, because he has an eye for what is best for Arthur Threadneedle, he decides not to name this one after himself. He calls it after the most prominent family in the area, the Curzons. The family is minor gentry but Threadneedle is counting on the family moving up the social ladder quickly. Ghislaine Curzom. called Grizzly by the family, is the girlfriend of one of the royal princes so who better to attract the attention of the public. Threadneedle isn’t just the most prominent businessman in Heckley; he is also the mayor. Any connection to the royals will surely move some of the limelight in his direction. Things don’t go as planned when Ghislaine reveals the bronze plaque decorated with an obscenity in bright red paint.
This is hardly a reason to call in the CID but all to soon Charlie’s expertise is needed when Arthur Threadneedle is found dead, a single shot to the head. Complicating the lives of the police of Heckley, there is an insurance fraud developing around horse-racing ,and a number of increasingly threatening break-ins in the homes of the locals.
Anyone looking for an enjoyable reading experience with likeable characters, a satisfying mystery, and very funny lines will enjoy Stuart Pawson. He is another of the authors who does not get the attention he deserves.