Death at Monksrest

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
61 Pages
Reviewed on 07/29/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Carmen Tenorio for Readers' Favorite

Allan Cook's Death at Monksrest centers on a journey to England that Liz Reid, an L.A.-based financial fraud investigator, historian, and Chaucer enthusiast, couldn't resist taking. She immediately flew to London to meet her colleague Charlie, who whisked her off to Monksrest estate, located in the countryside near the English Channel. She was not only there to enjoy the English heritage and the breathtaking places it offered. More importantly, she was to help in solving the mystery of an ancient monk's curse and its supposed role in the murder of the estate owner Lord Oliver Wheatley's daughter, Emma. Staying at the place certainly gave Liz a taste of the '60s lifestyle of the gentry and their inherited wealth, seeing both their generous, genteel, and cheery persona and, unfortunately, their more dangerous, brutish, and vicious sides as well.

Death at Monksrest is a well-written novella and Alan Cook is a skilled writer as the structure and flow of his style smoothly transition from one thought or event to another without sacrificing important information needed to build the story. His keen attention to detail also helps in developing an atmosphere of suspense and he uses character unfolding that leads to the deeper, astonishing truth. It is a captivating work for mystery buffs like me and a readable yarn of intrigue, excitement, or even in-depth human behavior for others. It's great writing and a recommended read.

Ron Hull

Death at Monksrest is the third novel in his series of Elizabeth Reed and Charles Ebersole mysteries. Liz and Charlie are financial investigators in a major financial firm in Los Angeles. They find themselves going a bit beyond mere finances with their adventures.

The story starts out innocently enough, with Charlie taking vacation to walk the British Isles from the South of Wales to the tip of Scotland. Along the way, he plans to stop to see a former college roommate and buddy, Reggie Wheatley lives in an aging, but regal manor house that his family has owned for centuries. But in the 1960s the old aristocrats in England are giving up their lordships largely because their estates are really too expensive to maintain.

When Charlie arrives the manor is in disarray. Emma, Reggie's sister has been murdered. Charlie feels too close to be of any help and reaches out to Liz in LA because the police do not seem to be doing anything about solving the case. When Liz arrives she suspects that the killer may be a part of the extended family and begins learning as much as she can from them. Of course, along the way she finds out about various possible love affairs and intrigues that may or may not have anything to do with the murder.

One of the clues involves a legend of a curse caused by the murder of monks who had stopped at a stream on the property in the 15th century, giving the manor its name, Monksrest. Whether the curse had anything to do with the murder was also a subject of investigation.

The story takes a rather straightforward, easy to read, approach where all of the characters are well defined and easy for the reader to keep in mind on a first name basis. In fact, the story goes directly to the murderer without much deviation except for the twist that always comes.

It has a flavor of many whodunits with multiple suspects in large houses that dates back to Sherlock Holmes.

I will recommend it to those who like a good, easy-to-read and understand murder mystery that they can read in one sitting on their Kindle.

Ronald W. Hull is the author of Hanging by a Thread and 14 other books, short stories and poetry