Bones Under the Beach Hut by Simon Brett

This was a random choice from one of those paperback carousel things at the library and I’ve never read anything by Simon Brett before, but I just wanted to read something up to date for a change and I noticed that it says on the cover:
‘Murder most enjoyable’ Colin Dexter.
But it wasn’t really, enjoyable that is, well not for me anyway.

It’s set in West Sussex in a coastal village called Smaltings which likes to think it’s a class above the rest of the seaside holiday resorts.

Carole Seddon has moved there and is expecting a visit from her daughter and granddaughter. Carole decides to rent a beach hut so that her toddler granddaughter can get the most out of her bucket and spade holiday, but Carole almost immediately realises that the hut is damaged, in fact someone has tried to light a fire underneath it and the subsequent inspection uncovers bones. Carole and her best friend Jude start their own investigation.

It wasn’t until I got this book home that I realised that the actual title gives away a large part of the storyline, and I just think that that is daft, it’s much better surely to discover that bones are found under a beach hut as the story unfolds. But that’s a minor gripe. I wasn’t at all keen on the character of Carole. Simon Brett goes to great trouble to describe her (over and over again) as being very shy and timid but when she’s making her own inquiries into the mystery she’s really not at all shy and retiring, in fact she’s aggressive and badgering. Her character was just not real to me, unless she was meant to have a split personality, or looking at it frivolously – she was a Gemini (twins)! In fact for me there weren’t any likeable characters at all, and far too many really obnoxious ones whom I would rather not be in the company of.

I also think that I had a problem with it because the amateur sleuths are two women of a certain age and it reminded me of that TV programme called Rosemary and Thyme. Normally I love detective TV stuff but that one is just one too many marshmallows in the marshmallow genre of programmes, well okay two marshmallows.

So I don’t think I’ll be reading any more by Simon Brett for a while, but at least I know what sort of thing he writes now.

10 thoughts on “Bones Under the Beach Hut by Simon Brett

  1. I have not read this series, but I tend to think I would have the same reaction to the amateur sleuths. I do have the first in the series and will try it some day.

    However, I read and enjoyed many books in the Charles Paris series that he wrote starting in 1975. And I read a few of the Mrs. Pargeter series and they were OK.

  2. I’ve watched a few episodes on netflix of a series made from his books and was not at all impressed. People do rave about his books, I thought maybe there was something wrong with me:0 I can’t remember the series name, it was old I’m sure it was characters from Brett. There was a criminal lady with an odd name Teacup or something like that.

    • Peggy Ann,
      I’ve not seen anything like that I’m sure. Do people rave about his books, mind you Colin Dexter seemed to, he must have gone off in his old age then!

  3. I haven’t read this book, but I have read some of Simon Brett’s other books. I quite liked the first one I read, which was the fourth in the Fethering series, so I read others when I came across them in the library. I liked the first one of the series best – The Body on the Beach. But I began to go off them with each book I read – the police never seem to get it right, but Jude and Carole do!

    Simon Brett has also written the Blotto, Twinks series. I read the first, Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King’s Daughter, which although I thought it was very silly, I rather liked. It’s silly in the P G Wodehouse style of Jeeves and Wooster silly, full of slang and poking fun at the amateur detective who is an expert in identifying toxins, reading clues and being several steps ahead of the plodding police. But I have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it and I haven’t read any more of that series.

    In fact, I’m not going out of my way to read any more of his books.

    • Margaret,
      I have read him before, I had completely forgotten that he wrote the Blotto and Twink series, but I remember that you said that the one that you read sounded like the one I had read as Blotto overcomes even people with machine guns, just using his trusty cricket bat! Daft but quite amusing, if you’re in that sort of mood.
      Thanks for reminding me.

  4. I was trying to remember where I’d come across his name before, and then Margaret’s comment reminded me. I’d picked up one of the Blotto & Twinks books at the library, but after skimming the first chapter decided it wasn’t for me.

    I did enjoy the Rosemary & Thyme TV series though!

    • Lisa,
      Yes Margaret has some memory for authors, it’s not that long since I read a Blotto and Twink book.

      I should have enjoyed Rosemary and Thyme but the very idea of it made me feel manipulated. I know that a load of TV chaps must have sat and said – what’s most popular in Britain? – murder and gardening, so we’ll combine them!

  5. I don’t mind these books by Brett, I think that is because they are set not far from me and I love how annoying Carole is. That said I have not read any for a while, but they are an easy quick read when you need that sort of thing,

    I disliked Blotto and Twinks and think reading this review, this is a recent one in the Fethering series, so perhaps they have got watered down as the years have gone on.

    • Jo,
      From what I’ve read I think that the Fethering series seems to be fading, perhaps it’s time for him to give it up. I did recognise that type of community although it’s East Sussex which I’m familiar with. Beach huts are a very English thing I think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *