Bewrite Books, 2007
Reviewed by Sally Roddom
BLOODY HAM is the third book in a mystery series that follows the
adventures of ex-pat Australian Belinda Lawrence. Pressured to make a
commitment by her gorgeous boyfriend Mark, Belinda flies to visit her
family in Australia to give the relationship serious thought. Here she
meets up with an old friend. Brad seems to be everything Mark is not and
Belinda returns to England in a state of emotional confusion. She is
immediately plunged into another adventure.
Hazel, Belinda’s business partner and best friend, runs an antique
business. A film company is filming a historical movie at the nearby Ham
House and have hired some of Hazel’s antique silver for the banquet scene.
The vampy Hazel has collected yet another younger man, Tim, to console
herself after being rejected by her ex-husband for a younger woman. Tim is
a film editor for the movie. Belinda and Hazel are invited to the set
while the banqueting scenes are filmed – both are shocked to witness the
death of the leading lady. A new actress takes over the part within days
and filming proceeds. Belinda is asked to be the stand-in for the new
actress, which she accepts because it will give her a chance to snoop and
solve the murder. A second murder quickly follows and this time Belinda is
a suspect as her fingerprints are all over the murder weapon.
I adore Belinda. She is a strong and independent character – in total
control of herself. She is in charge of her romantic life, and does not
bat an eyelid when Brad turns up in England and she has dinner with him
and her English beau, Mark. Since her first appearance in CAPABLE OF
MURDER Belinda has grown as a character. Growth is good. Hazel has also
changed; at the end of this book she is questioning the way she lives her
life. She is questioning just who she is hurting by her love ‘em and leave
'em attitude? Author Brian Kavanagh doesn’t dwell on the relationship
issues of the two women. The issues are there, but the emphasis is on
solving the mystery. In this wonderful story twists, turns, suspects,
ghosts, romance, and red herrings abound before a satisfactory conclusion.
Kavanagh has many years' experience in the Australian Film Industry in the
areas of production, direction, editing and writing. He received a
Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Film Editors Guild. One of
the ‘rules’ drummed into you at writing school is to write about what you
know. Kavanagh knows the film industry, and BLOODY HAM is an
authoritative, and humorous, peep behind the scenes.
I have heard a whisper that Brian Kavanagh is working on a yet to be
titled fourth Belinda Lawrence story, to be set in Australia. Let us hope
we don’t have to wait too long for it.
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