A Fatal Mistake (2018) by Faith Martin

Summer in Oxford, 1960, and as term ends, the students celebrate in the sunshine, in particular on punts on the river. But the party soon turns to tragedy as a student is found floating in the river, drowned.

Coroner Clement Ryder can’t bring himself to give a verdict of accidental death, as the witnesses’ stories all seem a little too… rehearsed. Recruiting Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday, he begins his own investigation. But one of the great and the good of the land, Lord Jeremy Littlejohn, arranged the party on the river for his acolytes, and given the secrets he wants to hide, he is determined to keep the truth from getting out.

Just a quick review – this is the second book from Faith Martin in this series. She seems to be something of an ebook sensation, as her Hillary Greene series has recently been rebranded and re-released to a good deal of success, and her Jenny Starling series, originally released under the name Joyce Cato, is also seeing a new lease of life. As far as I can see, this is the series that she is currently writing. I reviewed the first one, A Fatal Obsession, and really enjoyed it so as I was after a fairly quick read – these aren’t particularly long books – I thought I’d give the second one a try.

I’ve definitely read too many mysteries as the importance of one aspect of the plot was, for me, too obvious. I thought something was mentioned a little too obviously, and when that inconsequential fact was mentioned again, Sherlock Puzzle Doctor’s alarm bells were ringing. Of course, I missed the other part of the solution…

This was still a good read despite that. The characters are strong – Ryder is battling Parkinson’s Disease, the reason he moved from surgery to coroner, but is keeping that secret from his sort-of partner. Trudy’s boss is also an interesting character, reluctant to give her opportunities but still willing to back her up when necessary.

So, an entertaining whodunit, with those… what are they called? Oh yes, clues! Don’t dismiss this as a cosy series, these are well constructed mysteries and enjoyable reads. Looking forward to the next one.


  1. Great review. I read all of the Hillary Greene series and loved it, but was disappointed with the Jenny Starlings. Having read the 1st in this series (and enjoying it) I was wondering if the next would be as good.


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