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BOTTOM LINE Very good cosy police procedural, British style, from an author not much remembered now, unfortunately The first of eight featuring Inspector Ben Jurnet, in tone and setting Haymon s style is similar to another of my favorites from the same period, Dorothy Simpson both feature quiet movement of a well worked out plot, sharp characterizations, and rural settings, focused upon a nice, not pretentious, policeman Look forward to 2 RITUAL MURDER, 1982 The little village of Mauthen BOTTOM LINE Very good cosy police procedural, British style, from an author not much remembered now, unfortunately The first of eight featuring Inspector Ben Jurnet, in tone and setting Haymon s style is similar to another of my favorites from the same period, Dorothy Simpson both feature quiet movement of a well worked out plot, sharp characterizations, and rural settings, focused upon a nice, not pretentious, policeman Look forward to 2 RITUAL MURDER, 1982 The little village of Mauthen Barbary in Norfolk has got itself a sensation a large wooden statue from the early 16th century that was recently recovered, thought lost when Henry VIII dissolved the monestaries It s finder, local squire Charles Griffen, has set up a shrine to the statue, a fascinatingly different rendition of a pregnant Virgin Mary, which was, and now appears to be again, a magnet for those wishing to conceive a child During the dedication of the new shrine one of the local young women most concerned with the proceedings is killed, but the general concensus seems to be that she was practically a saint Nonetheless, she is dead And was pregnant Old history and newer happenings overlap as motives, alibis and attitudes are examined, and Jurnet and his men try to sift through the information a grudging local populace has given them Nicely set out plot, very well defined characters, and a basic rural village setting, combined with a gentle police inspector that I rather liked, made this a very good read And a bit of sly humor was appreciated as well Jurnet seems a mite prone to navel gazing, but not to the point of annoyance, so far A very strong first novel Solid British police mystery, first in a series Murder comes to a village in Norfolk Not a cozy Complex plot, wide range of characters, interesting and highly competent detective I will definitely readin the series. The start of the tale isn t great to modern readers, as it s composed of several conversations between a husband and wife on their way to their holiday home in Norfolk and pottering about the village Show, don t tell Once the telling of the story gets properly under way the details are excellent, and the reader becomes absorbed A large, heavy, wooden statue of Mary while pregnant is a site of pilgrimage in the village this statue was rediscovered after having been lost, presumed destroyed by The start of the tale isn t great to modern readers, as it s composed of several conversations between a husband and wife on their way to their holiday home in Norfolk and pottering about the village Show, don t tell Once the telling of the story gets properly under way the details are excellent, and the reader becomes absorbed A large, heavy, wooden statue of Mary while pregnant is a site of pilgrimage in the village this statue was rediscovered after having been lost, presumed destroyed by Henry the Eighth s edict, but actually secreted underground Sadly after a procession around the area, a young woman is discovered dead in the cloisters The police detective who arrived on holiday now gets involved in the investigation We meet all the village characters and another death follows The end is a lengthy sputter of confession which isn t realistic, and didn t follow a police caution But the tale is nicely tied up for us Like a manuscript, perhaps I enjoyed the weaving of the past history with the tale of 1980 This is an unbiased review This is the first book I ve read by S J Haymon and I shall definitely be reading her others Death and the Pregnant Virgin is a crime novel in the mould of the Golden Age of British crime stories written by such authors as Ngaio Marsh and Agatha Christie The Norfolk village of Mauthen Barbery regularly sees an influx of pilgrims to a shrine which is supposed to promote fertility and helps the infertile to conceive Rachel Case is masterminding the current festival and when she is found murdered This is the first book I ve read by S J Haymon and I shall definitely be reading her others Death and the Pregnant Virgin is a crime novel in the mould of the Golden Age of British crime stories written by such authors as Ngaio Marsh and Agatha Christie The Norfolk village of Mauthen Barbery regularly sees an influx of pilgrims to a shrine which is supposed to promote fertility and helps the infertile to conceive Rachel Case is masterminding the current festival and when she is found murdered in front of the shrine it seems as though strange influences may have been at work.Detective Benjamin Jurnet gets caught up in the procession which is parading through the village and is forced to leave his car and wait for the end of the parade before he can continue his journey He is in the right place at the right time when the murder is discovered There will bedeaths before the mystery of Rachel s death is uncovered and Ben Jurnet will be treading on a great many toes before he manages to uncover what is really going on.I enjoyed this well written mystery with its interesting characters and historical and religious background There are many touches of humour and the dialogue is believable and the motivations of the characters convincing I liked the Norfolk village background as well If you enjoy your crime novels in the form of mysteries to be solved then you may enjoy this author The first of the series featuring DI Benjamin Jurnet In this series opener, the village of Mauthen Barbary is in the midst of a pilgrimage It seems that one of the local squires had earlier dug up a valuable wooden statue known as Our Lady of Promise to this statue women would come and pray for a child This had been going on for centuries one of its most famous petitioners was none other than Henry VIII and his then wife, Jane Seymour So now, there are about 4000 people who ve come to make The first of the series featuring DI Benjamin Jurnet In this series opener, the village of Mauthen Barbary is in the midst of a pilgrimage It seems that one of the local squires had earlier dug up a valuable wooden statue known as Our Lady of Promise to this statue women would come and pray for a child This had been going on for centuries one of its most famous petitioners was none other than Henry VIII and his then wife, Jane Seymour So now, there are about 4000 people who ve come to make the pilgrimage to visit this statue But after the procession is over, and the statue is taken back to its shrine, the doors are opened and inside is found the body of a young woman, one of the 12 virgins who was supposed to have been walking with the procession Except this virgin is pregnant and very dead, and clutching an odd golden cross Inspector Jurnet, who just happened to be traveling through the area on his way home, is on the scene at once He is convinced this is a local crime, and it turns out that his intuition is correct when there is a second murder.For a first in a series, this one was really quite well done The mystery was plotted well, there were a lot of suspects, many possible motives, and I could t figure it out But at the very end, after the crime is solved, I didn t like the religious speculation on the girl s pregnancy by her relatives I thought this most unnecessary Otherwise, good enough for me to continue the series.read 3 18 2007 I thoroughly enjoyed this old style British procedural It had fine rich characters and intriguing twists without any gore or violence However, the beginning was SO SLOW I almost stopped reading because it was so wordy and slow I will be readingof this series just because I enjoy Jurnet. |READ E-PUB ☻ Death and the Pregnant Virgin ♴ The picturesque village of Mauthen Barbary offered weary Londoners a quiet retreatuntil elderly Charles Griffin and his dog, Chloe, accidentally dug up the ancient statue of Our Lady of Promise Overnight the little Norfolk town acquired busloads of prayerful pilgrims, chanting virgins clad in blue, a chapel lit by flickering candles and a corpse Someone had brutally murdered a saintly young woman at the very foot of the Virgin s shrine It was up to Inspector Ben Jutnet to solve this cleverly difficult case There were just three clues to the killer a dying swan, a stolen crucifix, and a gold cross clutched in the dead girl hand A mystery involving a medieval relic Count me in I enjoyed this story and was kept guessing until the end The characters were well drawn and believable, except, to me, for the detective Jurnet was rather a boring figure who could have been replaced just as well with anyone else Still, I would recommend this to anyone who likes English mysteries. A rollicking good read As others have commented, somewhat dated in style but this adds to its charm I shall definitely read Sylvia Haymon s other Ben Jurnett books They are of particular interest as I live where they are set.If you enjoy Agatha Christie, you ll enjoy the Benefits Jurnett series. A bit dated now, thirty years after its publication and I think that it was set in a time earlier than that but enjoyable.