Book Review: The Man Who was Death by Pat Herbert

Dave Allison is a man with a secret, several secrets, none of them pleasant.

The year is 1968. The Reverend Paltoquet takes on the handsome Dave as his gardener to tend the graveyard as well as the vicarage gardens, and very soon he has the female population in a tizzy, not least among them the vicar’s usually imperturbable housekeeper, Mrs Harper. To outward appearances, he has everything going for him, but there is a dark side to his character. He has the ability to see people’s auras, and whenever he sees a black one around a person’s head, he knows that person will die.

Four years prior to working for the vicar of St Stephen’s in the borough of Wandsworth, he was employed as gardener to Lord and Lady Mountjoy at Mountjoy Court in a small Kent village. Following the demise of the lord of the manor in suspicious circumstances and the equally suspicious death of Lady Mountjoy’s lover, Paul Brierley, Dave is forced to leave and pick up any odd jobs he can to survive.

So, with his new family, he sets up home in Tooting and is soon working in and around the area, and this is when he comes to the attention of Bernard Paltoquet who is looking to replace his old gardener who is well past retirement age.

Dave is popular everywhere he goes, especially with the women, but he is a married man now with a little boy on whom he dotes. But back into his life comes Lady Mountjoy and with her his sordid past rears its ugly head.

Dr Robbie MacTavish, Bernard’s close friend, falls for the charms of Lady Mountjoy when she appears on the scene, unaware that she is a cold-blooded killer.

Slowly the story of Dave and Lady Mountjoy unravels, culminating in both getting their just desserts.

Titles in the Reverend Paltoquet Mystery Series are:

The Bockhampton Road Murders
Haunted Christmas
The Possession of November Jones
The Witches of Wandsworth
So Long at the Fair
The Man Who Was Death
The Dark Side of the Mirror 

Amazon.UK * Amazon.com

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is the sixth book in the Reverend Paltoquet series. I’ve read them all and enjoy them. They have a bit of a dark side and a touch of paranormal along with some quirky regular characters. The other characters in The Man Who Was Death are rather pitiful.

The regulars: Bernie (Reverend Paltoquet) can be a bit selfish, but he usually realizes that and tries to change and be more Christian-like. Robbie is a good doctor and believes himself to be a ladies’ man. My favorite recurring character is Mrs. Aitch. She seems cantankerous, but those close to her know that she’s got a big heart. I love that she speaks her mind no matter the consequences.

The other characters in The Man Who Was Death include Lord Mountjoy, his wife, his housekeeper, and his gardener. Theirs is a tragic story but it was hard for me to feel sorry the Mountjoys. They not only ruin their lives but the lives of the housekeeper and gardener as well. The gardener, Jed, is the one to pity the most. He is a good man, but death is always nearby. He loses his parents at a young age, and that’s just the beginning of his grief. What makes it worse is that he can see a black aura around someone if they’re going to die.

The ending was quite a surprise although it was the right ending for this book. I definitely recommend the Reverend Paltoquet books. They do stand alone but I enjoy them even more because I feel like I know the main characters well.

Book Review: The Possession of November Jones by Pat Herbert

Book 3 (Revised Edition) in the Rev. Paltoquet Supernatural Murder Mystery series

 

About the Book:

Towards the end of the 19th Century, two young mothers meet violent ends in a large South London house. Reverend Bernard Paltoquet and Dr Robbie MacTavish, together with their friend, clairvoyant Dorothy Plunkett, are drawn into these tragic events, when young November Jones walks into Robbie’s surgery in the late autumn of 1962. What is the mystery surrounding her and why is a restless spirit trying to communicate through her?

The disused cellar in the house she rents seems to hold the answer.

Meanwhile, two senior citizens are wandering in and out of Bernard’s vicarage trying to find answers of their own.

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My Review

I’m in the process of reading the Bernard Paltoquet books in order. I enjoy the stories and this one was no exception. I like seeing how the relationships evolve between Bernard and his friends Robbie and Dorothy as well as his housekeeper. And there’s always a mystery that includes the paranormal which makes it an interesting read. Even better, this book would also stand on its own.

The Possession of November Jones starts in the late 1880s with a couple of unsolved murders. Then it fast forwards to the 1960s with the possession of November (Nova) Jones who is living in the same house where the murders occurred. It takes Nova and Bernard and his friends as well as a couple of elderly women who have been living on the street to figure out who is possessing Nova and why.

The characters are interesting and well developed. The friendship between Bernie and Robbie is very close. They have gotten to the point that they can discuss just about anything. Robbie has accepted the fact that Dorothy just considers him a friend and encourages Bernie to step up and propose to her. Now that she’s back after 14 years, will they finally get together?

The characters in the 1880s aren’t complex like the characters in the 1960s. The girls are naïve which is ironic since they had been working on the streets. On the other hand, the men are evil.

I enjoyed The Possession of November Jones and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

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OTHER NOVELS IN THE REVEREND PALTOQUET MYSTERY SERIES:

The Bockhampton Road Murders

Haunted Christmas

The Witches of Wandsworth

So Long at the Fair

The Man Who Was Death

The Dark Side of the Mirror

Sleeping With the Dead

The Corpse Wore Red

Seeing Double

 

THE BARNEY CARMICHAEL CRIME SERIES:

Getting Away With Murder

The Murder in Weeping Lane

The Mop and Bucket Murders

 

Also by Pat Herbert:

Death Comes Gift Wrapped

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About the Author:

 

Pat Herbert lives in London, England.  She worked as a typist for a publishing company, based in Blackfriars, then trained to become a Chartered Librarian before working for British Gypsum in London’s West End.  She was always interested in returning to publishing and took on the job of PA to the Managing Director of Thomson Books, which owned publishers including Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph and Sphere at the time, before they were taken over by Penguin.

Since then, Pat worked in recruitment and she is currently working part-time for a private cardiac clinic, and writes during her spare time (with her boss’s permission, of course).

Pat loves reading modern crime novels mainly (Peter James, Peter Robinson, Ruth Rendell) and she has an extensive film library. She was brought up in a cinema as her mother was an usherette, and many of her novels lend themselves to the big screen.

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THE POSSESSION OF NOVEMBER JONES can be ordered in paperback from Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Possession-November-Reverend-Paltoquet-supernatural/dp/1944156690

 

THE POSSESSION OF NOVEMBER JONES can also be downloaded as an e-book from Amazon at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Possession-November-Reverend-Paltoquet-supernatural-ebook/dp/B07GPXP97R

 

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Press/media Contact Details:

Literary Agent:

Darin Jewell
Managing Director
The Inspira Group Literary Agency
5 Bradley Road, Enfield, England  EN3 6ES
Tel.  0208 292 5163

E-mail:  darin@theinspiragroup.com