A Colorful Death by Carola Dunn, sequel to Manna from Hades, set in Cornwall, focuses on local artists, first and foremost Nick Gresham, neighbor to Eleanor Trewynn. Nick returns joyfully from a trip to an important gallery in London that has requested to display his artwork for sale, only to find that several of his major pieces have been slashed by a fellow artist in jealousy over Nick’s success. Furious over the destruction of the work he has put so much effort into creating, Nick determines to confront Geoffrey Clarke. Insisting on going along as an experienced life-long diplomat, Eleanor joins Nick in traveling to Geoff’s studio, only to find the artist stabbed in the back, surrounded by bright red that looks like blood. Immediately, Geoff’s lover comes in and screams that Nick has stand Geoff, claiming she witnessed Nick stabbing Geoff.
The police immediately drag Nick off to jail, with the deputy’s just barely glancing at the scene without even checking to verify that Geoff is really dead. With really poor quality interviews, the inspector does not even talk with Eleanor. Instead, he sends her to spend the night at the artists’ community, often called a commune incorrectly by those in the rest of the region, despite the fact that the tenants could be suspects. Nick has to spend the night in the lock-up. The next morning, Eleanor’s niece, Detective Sergeant Megan Pencarrow, gets a call to pick up her boss, Detective Inspector Scumble since the case has been handed over to them because the original inspector is certain he has an open and shut case against Nick. But once the crime scene people’s report comes in, it becomes clear that Geoff was dead long before Nick found him, clearing him of the murder. Now it is up to Megan and her boss to find the real murderer.
When I read a mystery book, I am less interested in trying to solve the case myself than in enjoying the journey of investigation. This book did not do a particularly good job of hiding the identity of the murderer, though it seems to attempt to do so. Thus, if you care about trying to ferret out the criminal through a maze of clues, you may be disappointed. But the path to finding the solution still caught my attention.
I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed getting to see the artists’ community and all the ways that each works. Even though I don’t care about art in general, I found the discussion of art pieces and even the process of making pottery fascinating. I also enjoyed the characters and the relationships among them, especially as DI Scumble starts to come to respect Eleanor, who drove him crazy in the first book.
The audio version of this book is narrated by Wanda McCaddon. She gives a good performance, including good jobs with different accents. I liked her voices and the way she delivered her role.
A Colourful Death kept my attention throughout, even despite a severe migraine. In fact, it helped me a lot to distract me from the pain I was experiencing and entertained me. I give this book four stars.
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