Bones in the Belfry
Suzette A. Hill
Soho, Aug 2008, $24.95
In Molehill, Surrey, Vicar Reverend Francis Oughterard feels remorse and guilt for choking to death a parishioner (see A LOAD OF OLD BONES). He beat the rap thanks to his brilliant pets Maurice the cat and Bouncer the dog who removed revealing evidence from the crime scene.
When his former theology classmate, Nicholas Ingaza Oughterard asks him to hide stolen art in the vicarage, Francis reluctantly agrees; not out of some college loyalty but because Nicholas gave him his phony alibi. However, a true crime writer obtains permission to look around the church and belfry forcing the beleaguered clergy to relocate the paintings in his sister’s home. Things turn worse when one of the masterpieces is put up for fundraising.
BONES IN THE BELFRY is an amusing British crime caper that older readers will think of Terry Thomas starring as the helpless beleaguered Vicar who seems to somehow find himself trapped in criminal activities. This time his saviors Maurice and Bouncer realize there is very little they can do to keep the hands that feed them out of jail. The two pets makes the tale fun to read with their resigned feline and canine sense of inevitability in which their human pet will be locked up; if not this time, perhaps the next time. Purist mystery fans need to pass as there is no detecting, but those readers who appreciate the antics of a humorous bungler supported by an eccentric cast of human fumblers and two loyal brilliant animals will want to read the lighthearted BONES IN THE BELFRY.