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1960, Oxford As the city of Oxford prepares itself for the inaugural Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant at The Old Swan Theatre, excitement is in the air. But when one of the leading contestants is found dead, suspicion hangs over the competition. Poisoned, the authorities assume her death was suicide. But after a malicious series of pranks and blackmail attempts are reported, 1960, Oxford As the city of Oxford prepares itself for the inaugural Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant at The Old Swan Theatre, excitement is in the air. But when one of the leading contestants is found dead, suspicion hangs over the competition. Poisoned, the authorities assume her death was suicide. But after a malicious series of pranks and blackmail attempts are reported, WPC Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder are called upon to solve the case. In an atmosphere of fierce competition, the list of suspects is endless. Could what have started as harmless fun become a deadly race to win the prize? With time running out, the duo need to spot the killer before tragedy strikes again…


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1960, Oxford As the city of Oxford prepares itself for the inaugural Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant at The Old Swan Theatre, excitement is in the air. But when one of the leading contestants is found dead, suspicion hangs over the competition. Poisoned, the authorities assume her death was suicide. But after a malicious series of pranks and blackmail attempts are reported, 1960, Oxford As the city of Oxford prepares itself for the inaugural Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant at The Old Swan Theatre, excitement is in the air. But when one of the leading contestants is found dead, suspicion hangs over the competition. Poisoned, the authorities assume her death was suicide. But after a malicious series of pranks and blackmail attempts are reported, WPC Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder are called upon to solve the case. In an atmosphere of fierce competition, the list of suspects is endless. Could what have started as harmless fun become a deadly race to win the prize? With time running out, the duo need to spot the killer before tragedy strikes again…

30 review for A Fatal Flaw

  1. 4 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    The Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant has been interviewing lovely ladies from near and far. When one of the leading contestants is found dead, it is thought that the young lady took her own life ... by ingesting poison. WPC Loveday gets a visit from an old friend who works for the pageant. She tells Trudy that there are scary things happening ... maybe just pranks, but maybe more serious. She also believes that the poison victim was murdered and she wants Trudy to investigate. Loveday and Coroner The Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant has been interviewing lovely ladies from near and far. When one of the leading contestants is found dead, it is thought that the young lady took her own life ... by ingesting poison. WPC Loveday gets a visit from an old friend who works for the pageant. She tells Trudy that there are scary things happening ... maybe just pranks, but maybe more serious. She also believes that the poison victim was murdered and she wants Trudy to investigate. Loveday and Coroner Ryder once again join forces to see what's what. To Trudy's embarrassment, she is to go undercover as one of the contestants. What she finds undercover is that all the contestants have a motive for getting rid of the leading contestant. The competition is fierce and most of them will do whatever it takes to win. And then there's another death ... another contestant. Another accident? Or is this, too, murder? There are plenty of suspects, motives galore, but without any solid evidence, Loveday and Ryder are going to have to dig deep and find the killer before another young woman dies. This is a terrific series ... a mystery set in the 60s in the days before smart phones and DNA evidence and CSI solving murders in 60 minutes or less. What it takes is good old fashioned police work, using brains and feet to investigate. I really enjoy the characters of Loveday and Ryder and how they interact with each other. There is humor and Ryder is always aware of Loveday's diving into murder cases with theories of all kinds. He's more a mentor to her and they have a deep respect for each other. Although third in this series, it is easily read as a stand alone. However, I do recommend starting at the beginning for your reading pleasure. Many thanks to the author / HQ Digital / Netgalley for the digital copy of this most interesting mystery. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alan Cotterell

    Disappointing First of all I have to say that I love Ryder and Loveday . They have different backgrounds, are totally different ages and have different abilities and experience. But despite all that they work well together, and the first 2 books were extremely well written. However this book has lost something, it still has the atmosphere and attitudes of the period that I loved so much before. But this book seems to just go through the motions, there just wasn't the edge we had before. Having sai Disappointing First of all I have to say that I love Ryder and Loveday . They have different backgrounds, are totally different ages and have different abilities and experience. But despite all that they work well together, and the first 2 books were extremely well written. However this book has lost something, it still has the atmosphere and attitudes of the period that I loved so much before. But this book seems to just go through the motions, there just wasn't the edge we had before. Having said all that, I will be reading book 4, as I believe (hope) that this was a blip in the series.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gail C.

    Thank you to NetGalley and H O Digital Publishing for this advance digital read copy of A FATAL FLAW by Faith Martin. This is the third in her Ryder and Loveday series featuring Coroner Clement Ryder and WPC Trudy Loveday. This series takes place in the 1960’s and offers a picture of the treatment of women in that era. It also touches on the fact that women were not welcome by many of the policemen who were part of the establishment, and often given only work that was deemed fitting for a woman Thank you to NetGalley and H O Digital Publishing for this advance digital read copy of A FATAL FLAW by Faith Martin. This is the third in her Ryder and Loveday series featuring Coroner Clement Ryder and WPC Trudy Loveday. This series takes place in the 1960’s and offers a picture of the treatment of women in that era. It also touches on the fact that women were not welcome by many of the policemen who were part of the establishment, and often given only work that was deemed fitting for a woman such as searching handbags or chaperoning woman who had come in contact with the police. Trudy is determined to make a success of her chosen profession and Dr. Ryder sees her as having more intelligence and potential than is being put to use by her supervisor. This forms the basis of their partnership. In this book, Trudy is approached by Grace, a friend from school who says she has suspicions about the death of a girl in the upcoming Miss Oxford Honey contest, sponsored by Grace’s employer. From the beginning the reader is made aware that Grace has information and motivation she isn’t sharing with Trudy, however these are not revealed until well into the book. Trudy takes information from Grace to Dr. Ryder who is the coroner presiding over the inquest. Based on her information and the lack of conclusive evidence, he urges the jury to issue an open verdict. Once that is accomplished, he and Trudy begin an investigation of their own with Trudy going undercover as a contestant and Dr. Ryder being named a judge. It is clear to the reader from the outset that there is a murderer at work, although the motive for the murder isn’t clear. The book is punctuated in spots by short chapters that are dedicated to the murderer’s thoughts and plans for the future, however they are done so without revealing information about the murderer in terms of gender, motivation, or other identifying data. There is a second murder which causes Trudy’s superior to assign the case to a more senior officer, although he agrees to let Trudy remain in her undercover capacity. His decision is largely attributed to his desire to have Trudy anywhere other than at the police station, as he doesn’t feel women are suitable for the force. The book is well paced with some good clues and reasons to suspect several of the characters in the book. While I was correct in my assessment of who the murderer was, it wasn’t until Trudy and Dr. Ryder revealed the motive that I understood why the person committed murder. This is a relatively non-violent police procedural which dwells more on the investigation and spends little time describing dead bodies or setting traps that might endanger the detectives. I enjoy this more than the heart pounding type of mystery, however if you are looking for one that is filled with danger, tension, mayhem, and murder you may think this one is too mile. While I enjoyed the book, I did not care for the ending which was a bit of a cliff-hanger seemingly designed to encourage the reader to get the next book in the series. The murder itself is resolved, but the reader will need to continue reading the next book in the series to learn how the situation is resolved. I have not read the first two books in the series, so I do not know if this is a regular ploy used in this series.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jannelies

    I'm sorry for having to say it, but this is the first Faith Martin title that I couldn't bring myself to finish. I really love the Hillary Greene series; I think the Jenny Starling series comes a good second. But this... I have some books that were written in the 1940's and 1950's, books my mother read as a young teenager and woman. A Fatal Flaw has the same style of writing and the same atmosphere. And where this is endearing in those old books, here, it makes the book read as a parody on Agatha I'm sorry for having to say it, but this is the first Faith Martin title that I couldn't bring myself to finish. I really love the Hillary Greene series; I think the Jenny Starling series comes a good second. But this... I have some books that were written in the 1940's and 1950's, books my mother read as a young teenager and woman. A Fatal Flaw has the same style of writing and the same atmosphere. And where this is endearing in those old books, here, it makes the book read as a parody on Agatha Christie. The best word I can find is 'frumpy'. It reads like the first book of a 16-year old with writing aspirations. I hope Mrs. Martin will finish her next Jenny Starling book soon, so I can read it to make me forget this 'fatal flaw'.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    I first discovered the author, Faith Martin a few months ago, when I read two of her books from the ‘Jenny Starling’ series, both of which I totally adored. I have not read any books from the series featuring Hillary Greene. “A Fatal Flaw” is the first book I’ve read from this series featuring WPC Trudy Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder, though it is actually the third in the series and is published by HQ. So far, I have taken great delight in each book that Faith Martin has released. “A Fatal F I first discovered the author, Faith Martin a few months ago, when I read two of her books from the ‘Jenny Starling’ series, both of which I totally adored. I have not read any books from the series featuring Hillary Greene. “A Fatal Flaw” is the first book I’ve read from this series featuring WPC Trudy Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder, though it is actually the third in the series and is published by HQ. So far, I have taken great delight in each book that Faith Martin has released. “A Fatal Flaw” has proven to be no exception. I loved Faith Martin’s characterisation of WPC Trudy Loveday who was enthusiastic, feisty, considerate and, at times stubborn. Also quite special was the author’s portrayal of Clement Ryder, who was the area coroner. Ryder was a man who has experienced his fair share of life - someone of a certain age who has lived a little. The duo, Trudy, always eager to learn and Ryder, worked really well together and being a probationary WPC, Trudy was determined to draw on Ryder’s wealth of experience. For his part, Ryder knew the potential in Trudy and their great partnership complemented the story beautifully. “A Fatal Flaw” is so wonderfully well-written and the writing style was really comfortable for me, helping to tempt me into the story. There was plenty going on which kept my attention throughout and I never once felt bored. I found this mystery to be totally addictive once I had started to read it, so much so that I was hooked before I even had the chance to scroll to the second page! Faith Martin’s writing was so convincing that I could have been another in their team. I thought “A Fatal Flaw” was a superb read and a real winner. I would recommend it to other mystery readers. I am looking forward to my next book by Faith Martin, whether that will be something new or a book I’ve never yet read from an existing series. My thanks to #NetGalley, HQ Digital and the author for providing me with a free advanced copy of #AFatalFlaw.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    I enjoyed Faith Martin's Hillary Greene series and when it ended, I was glad to see she had also written the Ryder and Lovejoy series. A Fatal Flaw finds WPC Lovejoy reaching out to Coroner Ryder after her childhood friend Grace comes to visit. Grace is helping to organize a beauty pageant where pranks are being played on the contestants, which may or may not be someone's idea of 'fun'. Grace's friend Abby is found dead and she does not believe that Abby would have killed herself( she was determ I enjoyed Faith Martin's Hillary Greene series and when it ended, I was glad to see she had also written the Ryder and Lovejoy series. A Fatal Flaw finds WPC Lovejoy reaching out to Coroner Ryder after her childhood friend Grace comes to visit. Grace is helping to organize a beauty pageant where pranks are being played on the contestants, which may or may not be someone's idea of 'fun'. Grace's friend Abby is found dead and she does not believe that Abby would have killed herself( she was determined to win the pageant), so she asks Trudy to use her police connections to find out what really happened. Trudy enlists Ryder's help and we are off following clues and trying to determine whodunit and why. This is a cozy mystery set in the 1960s and even though there is death, it is not a gory tale. The prejudice and preconceived notions of the time are present, as female police officers are treated poorly, and the 'upper class' looks down at anyone born to a lower station. The plot was interesting and moved along, though without entering spoiler territory, I will say I was surprised at how this ended. Trudy wants to succeed in a world where her gender hinders her, and I like the fact that Ryder sees her intelligence and potential and doesn't talk down to her just because she is female. This certainly isn't a heavy series, but it does expose quite a bit about what life was like in the 1960s and I would love to see it last long enough for Trudy to be taken seriously by her coworkers. A nice read for a cold Sunday afternoon.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bebe (Sarah) Brechner

    I love this series by the wonderful Faith Martin. This is the third story of the young probationary policewoman Trudy Loveday and her mentor, coroner Dr. Clement Ryder. Set in London during the early 1960s, the author skillfully depicts the emerging talents of Trudy, who sees herself wanting something more than marriage and family, to the puzzlement of her family and the displeasure of her workplace. Dr. Ryder takes her under his crippled wing, hiding his increasing feebleness while teaching Tru I love this series by the wonderful Faith Martin. This is the third story of the young probationary policewoman Trudy Loveday and her mentor, coroner Dr. Clement Ryder. Set in London during the early 1960s, the author skillfully depicts the emerging talents of Trudy, who sees herself wanting something more than marriage and family, to the puzzlement of her family and the displeasure of her workplace. Dr. Ryder takes her under his crippled wing, hiding his increasing feebleness while teaching Trudy the ropes of criminal investigation, but also benefiting from Trudy's energy and natural skills. The plot centers around a local, minor beauty pageant. Martin is such an able writer! What would be almost banal becomes a remarkable story of greed, desire, and ambition, complete with great suspense and continual action that makes this, as with all of Martin's books, an absolute page-turner. Don't expect to get much done when you pick up a Martin book - all else fades as you rip through the story! Well done!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and HQ Digital for and advance copy of Fatal Flaw, the third novel set in Oxford in 1960 to feature probationary WPC Trudy Loveday and coroner Dr Clement Ryder. When Abigail Trent dies from yew berry poisoning most people assume it was suicide but Grace Farley doesn’t and take her concerns to her old friend Trudy. Abby, she explains, was excited about the amateur beauty contest she’d entered and saw it as the gateway to a better life for herself. Dr Ryder is the co I would like to thank Netgalley and HQ Digital for and advance copy of Fatal Flaw, the third novel set in Oxford in 1960 to feature probationary WPC Trudy Loveday and coroner Dr Clement Ryder. When Abigail Trent dies from yew berry poisoning most people assume it was suicide but Grace Farley doesn’t and take her concerns to her old friend Trudy. Abby, she explains, was excited about the amateur beauty contest she’d entered and saw it as the gateway to a better life for herself. Dr Ryder is the coroner and he takes Grace’s concerns seriously, adjourning the inquest to give him and Trudy time to investigate. I thoroughly enjoyed A Fatal Flaw which has a good mystery, engaging characters and a setting I had almost forgotten about, the unlamented beauty contest. The plot is cosy in nature with Abby’s death the culmination of a series of nasty pranks which in turn lead to Trudy going undercover at the contest rehearsals. The murder has a hint of the Golden Age with the method of death which seems fitting. There are plenty of happenings over the course of the novel to keep the reader interested and turning the pages so it held my interest throughout. I particularly enjoyed the 1960 setting. I wasn’t born then but as a child of the sixties it brings back so many memories of how life was. To me Ms Martin gets it right from the attitudes to the small details, like phones in houses being a sign of wealth and placing it in a beauty contest is a master stroke. The thought, nowadays, of women lining up to be judged on their appearance and listed by number rather than name is beyond grotesque and yet it was all the rage with the Miss World contest televised for years. It sums up the era perfectly. The characters of Trudy and Dr Ryder are very likeable. She’s a smart if naïve young woman who probably won’t go far in the police as she’s a woman. He’s a world weary curmudgeon who is slowing down with Parkinson’s after a glittering career. It shouldn’t work but it does as she learns from him and he is spurred on by her vitality. A Fatal Flaw is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane Hunt

    A lovely example of an unusual pairing working in the world of crime detection. Loveday and Ryder bring youthful naivety and aged wisdom to solve a clever crime, against a background of sixties prejudice, chauvinism and social class divide. Although this is the third book in the series, the other’s being ‘ A Fatal Obsession’ and ‘A Fatal Mistake’, this is the first book I have read. The setting is authentic but takes a little getting used to. The characters are interesting, but if you get the cha A lovely example of an unusual pairing working in the world of crime detection. Loveday and Ryder bring youthful naivety and aged wisdom to solve a clever crime, against a background of sixties prejudice, chauvinism and social class divide. Although this is the third book in the series, the other’s being ‘ A Fatal Obsession’ and ‘A Fatal Mistake’, this is the first book I have read. The setting is authentic but takes a little getting used to. The characters are interesting, but if you get the chance, read the other stories first, to get to know the character’s stories. The story revolves around a suspicious death and a beauty contest, there are numerous suspects and secrets and the crime-detecting is subtle. The ending is realistic and leaves the reader with a cliffhanger and a moral dilemma for Loveday. Worth reading if you like retro crime novels with a murder mystery theme. I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lel Budge

    This is Book 3 in the Ryder and Loveday series, set in 1960’s Oxford. Dr Clement Ryder and PC Trudy Loveday are again in partnership. Loveday is underestimated as usual by her male dominated workplace….the Police Station. This story centre around murder at a beauty pageant with plenty of twists and red herrings to keep you guessing to the end…. Faith Martin’s writing is so good, the characters are well rounded and immensely likeable. A clever mix of relatively recent historical fiction and police This is Book 3 in the Ryder and Loveday series, set in 1960’s Oxford. Dr Clement Ryder and PC Trudy Loveday are again in partnership. Loveday is underestimated as usual by her male dominated workplace….the Police Station. This story centre around murder at a beauty pageant with plenty of twists and red herrings to keep you guessing to the end…. Faith Martin’s writing is so good, the characters are well rounded and immensely likeable. A clever mix of relatively recent historical fiction and police procedural that continues to entertain…I’m already looking forward to the next in the series. I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tony Hisgett

    I still like the relationship between Trudy and Dr Ryder, but I didn’t think much else in the story worked that well. Trudy’s position as the station’s dogsbody has become annoying and unfortunately the investigation based around a cheap beauty contest meant that the cast of characters wasn’t very inspiring. I’m afraid I also found the author continually referring to the murderer as ‘the picker of yew berries’ became very irritating.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Helena Jonas

    Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC of A Fatal Flaw, I really enjoyed reading this story. Faith Martin is a new author for me and, though this genre isn't usually my cup of tea, I found the comfortable and easy-reading nature of this whodunnit really refreshing and enjoyable to page-turn. The characters are a well-drawn, likeable bunch and the setting of a beauty pageant made for some fun descriptions. The mystery was intriguing and kept me hooked! I can see why this series has been so well-receive Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC of A Fatal Flaw, I really enjoyed reading this story. Faith Martin is a new author for me and, though this genre isn't usually my cup of tea, I found the comfortable and easy-reading nature of this whodunnit really refreshing and enjoyable to page-turn. The characters are a well-drawn, likeable bunch and the setting of a beauty pageant made for some fun descriptions. The mystery was intriguing and kept me hooked! I can see why this series has been so well-received.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Renita D'Silva

    Wonderful

  14. 5 out of 5

    Farshana ❤️rainnbooks❤️

    Thank You Net Galley, HQ Digital and Faith Martin for A Fatal Flaw. I am undoubtedly becoming a huge fan of Faith Martin. This is my 2nd book of hers and her writing is really flawless. The mystery is set in 1960's which itself made me so happy. It is fascinating to read about the painstaking police work required to catch a killer at an age when the forensics is not as advanced as today and of course with no CCTV. Trudy Loveday is a young WPC so when her friend asks her help to look into the appa Thank You Net Galley, HQ Digital and Faith Martin for A Fatal Flaw. I am undoubtedly becoming a huge fan of Faith Martin. This is my 2nd book of hers and her writing is really flawless. The mystery is set in 1960's which itself made me so happy. It is fascinating to read about the painstaking police work required to catch a killer at an age when the forensics is not as advanced as today and of course with no CCTV. Trudy Loveday is a young WPC so when her friend asks her help to look into the apparent suicide of a beauty pageant contestant, it seems simple and easy. But when Trudy herself becomes a contestant to learn the truths of the mysterious prankster or murderer among them, things start taking a sinister turn with the death of another contestant. With the aid of the coroner Clement Ryder, the mystery of the very devious and cunning killer is untangled. This is book #3 in the series of Trudy and Ryder but can be easily read as standalone.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Most people have found the Ryder & Loveday mysteries by way of the DI Hillary Greene series, and I was no exception. Faith Martin wrote seventeen mostly-excellent police procedural murder mysteries featuring an outstanding heroine in DI Greene, and I very much looked forward to these new mysteries. This series has a bit of a different flavor. Like the DI Greene series, they're set around Oxford, but unlike that series, Ryder & Loveday are set in 1960. Both of our heroes—sexagenarian coroner Dr. C Most people have found the Ryder & Loveday mysteries by way of the DI Hillary Greene series, and I was no exception. Faith Martin wrote seventeen mostly-excellent police procedural murder mysteries featuring an outstanding heroine in DI Greene, and I very much looked forward to these new mysteries. This series has a bit of a different flavor. Like the DI Greene series, they're set around Oxford, but unlike that series, Ryder & Loveday are set in 1960. Both of our heroes—sexagenarian coroner Dr. Clement Ryder, hiding a medical secret, and probationary WPC Trudy Loveday, whose all-male station house co-workers continually underestimate her—are excellent, well-rounded characters; easy to root for without making either of them goody-two-shoes. The differences in the culture are pronounced as well, especially in terms of gender dynamics, but in the first two books of the series, it never overpowered the story. In A Fatal Flaw, the third book of this series, gender dynamics are at the foré, as the murders take place around a beauty pageant. The book gets awfully close to Making A Point in a few spots, but while it gets close to the line, it never crosses it. The murder investigation itself, of one of the pageant contestants, is a masterful piece of misdirection that never quite feels like misdirection. The red herrings are well done, never leaving me feeling like I just wasted my time, and when the reveal comes, it's much different than in the first two books—and while I had suspected who the murderer was, the way the plot unfolds near the end is satisfying. Martin is a talented writer indeed: even though what I suspected would happen came to pass, I was still on the edge of my seat. However, I have to dock the book a star because of narrative tricks in the constantly shifting point of view. We see the perspective of the unnamed (and even ungendered) murderer, going inside their head—and not just with the opening chapter, but throughout the book. We also, at various times, hopscotch into the heads of the different pageant contestants and judges. The vast majority of the other books are told in third person, usually from the point of view of either Ryder or Loveday; there are occasional chapters where the reader sees something neither main character does, but it's usually very consistent. But jumping heads in this book doesn't seem to add much to the narrative, nor to the buildup of suspense. Being in the murderer's head in Chapter One means that we know the death of the pageant contestant is a murder, not an accident, from the get-go. In addition, we see the murderer's thoughts—but Martin doesn't actually show us their real thoughts. After the reveal, we know what the murderer is thinking about when planning the murders, but that isn't shown to the reader when we're in their head. It's obvious that it's a narrative trick, and I found myself more frustrated than intrigued—and after the reveal, it definitely feels like those sections were inauthentic. Still, the ending is so good—and the characters of Ryder & Loveday so compelling—that one star is all that gets docked, and I look forward anxiously to the release of the next book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I have been a fan of Faith Martin’s books for quite a while now. I absolutely loved the series featuring Hilary Greene, which is published by Joffe Books and I absolutely love the Jenny Starling series, which is also published by Joffe Books. ‘A Fatal Flaw’ is the third book in the series featuring WPC Trudy Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder and is published by HQ. I eagerly devour and love each book that Faith releases. ‘ A Fatal Flaw’ is no exception to that. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Fa I have been a fan of Faith Martin’s books for quite a while now. I absolutely loved the series featuring Hilary Greene, which is published by Joffe Books and I absolutely love the Jenny Starling series, which is also published by Joffe Books. ‘A Fatal Flaw’ is the third book in the series featuring WPC Trudy Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder and is published by HQ. I eagerly devour and love each book that Faith releases. ‘ A Fatal Flaw’ is no exception to that. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Fatal Flaw’ but more about that in a bit. I love the pairing of probationary WPC Trudy Loveday and Clement Ryder, who is the coroner for the area. Trudy is determined to become a police officer and nothing will put her off the idea. Even the fact that she is given all the crappy jobs to do doesn’t change her mind. Trudy is feisty, determined, brave, kind, compassionate and at times stubborn. Trudy is also eager to learn and when she works with Ryder, she is determined to draw on his experience. Ryder is slightly different. He is a man of a particular age who has seen it all and done it all. Ryder sees the potential in Loveday and takes her under his wing, which doesn’t exactly go down very well. Loveday and Ryder work well together and what one of them lacks, the other one provides if that makes sense? The partnership between them is very strong and formidable. I have to say that it didn’t take me very long at all to get into this book. By the time I got to the end of the first page, I was hooked. This book proved to be addictive reading. I just couldn’t put the book down as I was enjoying the story and the characters so much. The further I got into the book, the more addicted to the story I became. I tried to ration how much I read at any one time because I wanted to prolong my enjoyment of the book but those attempts were soon thrown out of the window because I couldn’t stop reading. In fact reading this book felt as though I was reuniting with old friends in the shape of Loveday and Ryder. The author writes so realistically and convincingly that I did feel as though I was the third person in their team. I even began to interact with the book as if the characters could hear me. I know, I know I get far too involved in books that I enjoy. I would definitely say that ‘A Fatal Flaw’ is well written. The author has a writing style that is easy to get used to and tempts you in to the story. There’s enough going on to keep your attention all the way through. She has created characters that are likeable and storylines that are realistic and plausible. I also like the fact that the story is set during the 1960s which is an era that fascinates me. In short I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Fatal Flaw’ and I would recommend it to other readers. For me, this is the best book of the series so far. I can’t wait to read what comes next from the pen of Faith Martin. Here’s hoping that we don’t have too long to wait. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Oxford, 1960. An unexplained death, a pair of investigators, a beauty contest. There are so many wonderful things to enjoy in this book, a must for fans of “Endeavour”, that I thoroughly recommend it. Faith Martin revels in creating an atmosphere that combines the domestic realities of daily life in 1960 with the problems of a mystery that defies an easy explanation. The characters are tremendously realistic, and each nuance of their appearance, behaviour and reactions are lovingly written. As a Oxford, 1960. An unexplained death, a pair of investigators, a beauty contest. There are so many wonderful things to enjoy in this book, a must for fans of “Endeavour”, that I thoroughly recommend it. Faith Martin revels in creating an atmosphere that combines the domestic realities of daily life in 1960 with the problems of a mystery that defies an easy explanation. The characters are tremendously realistic, and each nuance of their appearance, behaviour and reactions are lovingly written. As a novel it is fascinating, as a mystery it is intriguing, and I was extremely glad to receive a special copy of this book, the second in a series featuring some of these characters. This novel opens with a mysterious figure collecting yew berries for an unknown purpose, a fact that soon gets lost as Trudy Lovelace, new Woman Police Constable, is consulted by her old school friend Grace Farley. Grace is working for the fierce Mrs Dunbar, whose husband is organising the promotional “Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant”, and who insists that Grace organises the contestants as her husband shows too much interest in the young women. This scenario is so much of its time, yet gives a perfect backdrop for young women to be sharing dressing rooms and to present a target for pranksters and worse. Trudy is unsure whether a lowly constable such as herself will be allowed to investigate, so she approaches her former colleague, the coroner Dr Clement Ryder. A man with his own secret, Ryder agrees to facilitate an undercover investigation while posing as a judge. Trudy goes undercover as a contestant, much as she is reluctant to walk the catwalk. As more is explored about the world of the competition, the families of various girls are revealed in their settings. This has the effect of humanising these young woman, some of whom are determined to win the contest or other prizes. The narrative style of this book in the third person reveals much about the time, the characters and the mystery at the heart of the novel. It is gentle, thoughtful and yet has a strong undertone. I greatly enjoyed the development of the story and the revelation of the characters, as it is sometimes funny, always to the purpose and satisfactorily concluded. This is the sort of book which kept me awake as I found it quietly compelling, and I was keen to find out what would happen next. Clement Ryder is a fascinating character, as he pulls strings and makes possible an investigation even though there is some doubt about if there was an actual crime committed. It is a sign of how far times have changed that Trudy’s reluctant fascination with the clothes involved in the competition is innocent rather than indignant, and that she knows that given half a chance she would be relegated to family liaison and dealing with female offenders. This is an historical crime novel written with a lot of feeling for the time, and I would be keen to read other adventures of Trudy and Clement.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    This is third in Faith Martin’s new series featuring probationary WPC Trudy Lovejoy and Coroner Clement Ryder. This series, like most of Ms Martin’s crime novels, is set in 1960’s Oxford which allows her to interject some interesting and pertinent social elements into the stories. Oxford born and raised she is able to bring the important element of authenticity to her descriptions of middle class townies. WPC Trudy is the only girl on the Oxford Constabulary. Her boss DI Jennings and much of the This is third in Faith Martin’s new series featuring probationary WPC Trudy Lovejoy and Coroner Clement Ryder. This series, like most of Ms Martin’s crime novels, is set in 1960’s Oxford which allows her to interject some interesting and pertinent social elements into the stories. Oxford born and raised she is able to bring the important element of authenticity to her descriptions of middle class townies. WPC Trudy is the only girl on the Oxford Constabulary. Her boss DI Jennings and much of the staff there are not welcoming to the incursion of women, and this specific young woman, into their policing world. This pushes her in the direction of Coroner Ryder, who, while desperate to conceal his early stage Parkinson’s, also relishes the company of a lively young woman – no hanky-panky – just a genuine mentoring. Trudy’s school friend Grace Farley, un-willing manager of the Miss Oxford Honey beauty pageant asks her to look into disturbing pranks that are being played on the participants, as well as the death of one of the girls, Abby Trent, that had been dismissed as suicide. We, the readers, have been given a hint that this may indeed be the case. A prologue has already telescoped that someone with malicious intent has been gathering deadly yew tree berries from the churchyard. Trudy reluctantly agrees to Grace’s request, going undercover as a last minute competitor, setting in motion an escapade that takes in all the fluff and glitter of a small town beauty competition, as well as scheming contestants, lecherous judges and revengeful broken hearts. Faith Martin is a prolific, Oxford born author who writes under 4 names. Her novels have consistently enjoyed a high degree of success and Fatal Flaw should prove to be no exception. Well written and well plotted, this is an excellent example of what has come to be known as ‘a cosy mystery’. There are none of the menacing overtones that are a feature of ‘noir’ There is a murder – 2 actually, a handful of scheming, disagreeable individuals and a sprinkling of very nice and likeable characters that include WPC Trudy and her coroner mentor. At 149 pages, this provided a pleasant way to spend a snowy weekend inside. 4****

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl M-M

    This is the third book in the Ryder and Loveday series, a cosy crime series with an unusual crime fighting duo. Loveday is a probationary WPC and Ryder is a coroner, many years her senior. Loveday has to suffer the misogynistic and sexist attitudes of her male colleagues. She is relegated to making tea, searching female suspects and family liaison. She would rather be at the forefront of crime like her colleagues, which is why she doesn't say no when a potential crime falls into her lap. Ryder has This is the third book in the Ryder and Loveday series, a cosy crime series with an unusual crime fighting duo. Loveday is a probationary WPC and Ryder is a coroner, many years her senior. Loveday has to suffer the misogynistic and sexist attitudes of her male colleagues. She is relegated to making tea, searching female suspects and family liaison. She would rather be at the forefront of crime like her colleagues, which is why she doesn't say no when a potential crime falls into her lap. Ryder has become Loveday's inadvertent sidekick, but does so with great pleasure. He is busy trying to hide the fact he has a medical condition, which could end his career. Hiding the physical impairments of his Parkinson's disease is becoming increasingly difficult, and are being mistaken for alcohol related incidents. The combination of the two of them gives the story a light-hearted and comfortable feel, despite the crime element. Ryder gives Loveday the platform to evolve professionally and Loveday connects with Ryder in an almost familial way. There are plenty of cosy crime books, but what Martin does is slide an element of modern crime in with the easy flow. You get an early Jane Tennison feel, which addresses the difficult aspect of being a woman in the police force, and the discriminatory treatment of people with medical issues and gender inequality. It might seem a strange thing to say about a crime story, but the relationship between Ryder and Loveday gives it a feel-good element, despite the murders. Martin mixes the more nefarious aspects of human nature with an entertaining crime-solving duo. This is what happens when conscience and empathy meets murderous intention. *Copy received via NetGalley*

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    A Fatal Flaw by Faith Martin is a gripping historical crime novel set in Oxford in 1960. Once again the reader gets caught up in the crime solving exploits of unlikely duo of an aging experienced coroner and a probationary WPC. The book is a thrilling read as I tried to piece together the clues to solve the crime. This Ryder and Loveday series is a fabulous one. The books are very reminiscent of ITV’s Endeavour and Morse. Definitely a thinking man’s novel as the clues are cleverly laid out. 1960 i A Fatal Flaw by Faith Martin is a gripping historical crime novel set in Oxford in 1960. Once again the reader gets caught up in the crime solving exploits of unlikely duo of an aging experienced coroner and a probationary WPC. The book is a thrilling read as I tried to piece together the clues to solve the crime. This Ryder and Loveday series is a fabulous one. The books are very reminiscent of ITV’s Endeavour and Morse. Definitely a thinking man’s novel as the clues are cleverly laid out. 1960 is the dawn of a new era for women as they try to break out of their traditional roles. WPC’s are new to the force and often seen as only good for making tea and comforting women. WPC Loveday proves she has brains and ambition, much to the astonishment of her superiors. The action is set around a beauty pageant – very sexist and frowned on in today’s world but in 1960 many young women aspired to be the next Miss World and didn’t mind what they had to do to get there. The reader ‘meets’ the murderer as the novel opens and again at periodic times throughout the novel. We wonder who owns the menacing voice. I really love the pairing of Ryder and Loveday. They are the perfect mix of age verses enthusiasm. As the coroner imparts wisdom, it is soaked up like a sponge. A pure delight to witness the interactions. Faith Martin’s Ryder and Loveday novels are an escape to a bygone age. They would translate perfectly into ITV’s Sunday night viewing. I can picture Joanne Frogatt as Loveday and Martin Shaw as Ryder. Any producers out there please take note. Fabulously entertaining. I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Read

    Set in the 1960's this is the third in the series featuring Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday and Coroner Dr Clement Ryder. Although there are murders and deaths, the stories are more cosy than gory, making them suitable for a variety of readers. In this book Oxford is preparing for a beauty pageant, namely Miss Oxford Honey, organised by Mr and Mrs Dunbar to promote their honey and other preserves. One of the contestants, Abigail Trent, is found dead from yew berry poisoning and whilst most are be Set in the 1960's this is the third in the series featuring Probationary WPC Trudy Loveday and Coroner Dr Clement Ryder. Although there are murders and deaths, the stories are more cosy than gory, making them suitable for a variety of readers. In this book Oxford is preparing for a beauty pageant, namely Miss Oxford Honey, organised by Mr and Mrs Dunbar to promote their honey and other preserves. One of the contestants, Abigail Trent, is found dead from yew berry poisoning and whilst most are believing that it was suicide or a terrible accident, an old friend of Trudy's does not and takes her concerns to the young policewoman. This friend, Grace Farley, is involved with running the pageant for the Dunbars and has concerns that the prankster who has been playing nasty tricks on the contestants has now gone a step too far. Trudy shares the details with Dr Ryder who is due to conduct the inquest and he takes these concerns seriously enough to persuade the police to conduct an undercover investigation. With of course only one suitable officer to pose as a contestant! This is a great plot with plenty of suitable suspects and motives which kept me engrossed to the end. The author shows great accuracy for the time period in everything from attitudes, class status and belongings through to the very different way a case could be investigated. Both the lead characters are very likeable and compliment each other well, Trudy learning from the experienced doctor and Ryder spurred on by her enthusiasm. Being left on somewhat of a cliff hanger I am looking forward to book number four.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary C

    This was my first experience of Faith Martin's work, and I didn't realize until I had gotten some way into it that this was not the first in the series. So, I have nothing to compare it to, but I found it an enjoyable read. I did not feel at a disadvantage by not knowing the previous books. I was surprised that one of the character's was diagnosed with Parkinson's (I have someone in my family with the disease) and will be interested to see how that plays into the next in the series. I like the pe This was my first experience of Faith Martin's work, and I didn't realize until I had gotten some way into it that this was not the first in the series. So, I have nothing to compare it to, but I found it an enjoyable read. I did not feel at a disadvantage by not knowing the previous books. I was surprised that one of the character's was diagnosed with Parkinson's (I have someone in my family with the disease) and will be interested to see how that plays into the next in the series. I like the period and the setting and think Ms Martin does a good job with that. This is not a book with corpses and gore, more of a traditional police procedural,. Overall, I like her style except for her overuse (to my way of thinking) of exclamation points!! I did feel a bit let down at the end of the book - it felt like a teaser for the next one. There are some authors that do this consistently and it annoys me no end. As I said, I haven't read any other of her books, so I'm hoping this isn't typical of her. I plan to read the others in this series, and possibly other series from her, assuming I don't find teaser endings in them. Thanks to NetGallery, the publisher and author for providing me a copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marion

    This is the third book in the Ryder Loveday mystery series . Trudy Loveday, a probationary WPC, is still struggling for acceptance in her chosen profession. When she is approached by her old friend Grace Farley who tells her that a young woman has died in suspicious circumstances Trudy cant not get involved. Grace`s employer is sponsoring a beauty pageant in the hopes of promoting one of his companys, Dunbar`s Jams Honey and Marmalade,products One of the girls, Abby Trent,one of the favourites to This is the third book in the Ryder Loveday mystery series . Trudy Loveday, a probationary WPC, is still struggling for acceptance in her chosen profession. When she is approached by her old friend Grace Farley who tells her that a young woman has died in suspicious circumstances Trudy cant not get involved. Grace`s employer is sponsoring a beauty pageant in the hopes of promoting one of his companys, Dunbar`s Jams Honey and Marmalade,products One of the girls, Abby Trent,one of the favourites to win the Miss Oxford Honey contest has died and Grace is convinced it cannot be suicide as is generally accepted. When Trudy finds that her old friend Dr Clement Ryder is presiding over the inquest into her death she decides to ask him for his help. With his help her boss Di Jennings agrees to allow Trudy to go undercover as a contestant in the competition. A well thought out plot involving not one but two murders, petty jealousies and lies. A host of characters, some likeable some not and one intent on revenge. An all round enjoyable read. Thanks to Netgalley and HQ Digital for the chance to read this as an ARC in return for an honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alan Snow

    This is the third of Ryder and Loveday series by Faith Martin and a really enjoyable book. I find the Faith Martin series of books are easy to read and well researched, even to the toxicity of yew berries. It was a very intriguing plot that had me guessing until the very end who the “Picker of Yew Berries” actually was. The end was not quite what I expected but probably predictable when I reviewed the scenario in my own mind. Again, Faith Martin has undertaken some pretty good research into life in This is the third of Ryder and Loveday series by Faith Martin and a really enjoyable book. I find the Faith Martin series of books are easy to read and well researched, even to the toxicity of yew berries. It was a very intriguing plot that had me guessing until the very end who the “Picker of Yew Berries” actually was. The end was not quite what I expected but probably predictable when I reviewed the scenario in my own mind. Again, Faith Martin has undertaken some pretty good research into life in the sixties with some interesting insights, particularly about the fashion parade at a time when they were very much the norm. I particularly liked the way that the working relationship and understanding between the wily old Ryder and the young inexperienced Loveday develops through the series and continues through A Fatal Flaw. I hope the next book in the series is currently on the word processor.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gail Gassen

    Wonderful reading!í Another five star reading from me. These are just so intriguing stories, and this one is no different. Who could be the murderer, if these deaths are truly murder. Both the coroner and families believe the deaths were just misadventures. There no evidence at all to show that a crime was committed. Except for one person going to Trudy, as they'd once been in school together, asked if she'd talk to someone who about the death of a friend. Saying it couldn't be suicide because th Wonderful reading!í Another five star reading from me. These are just so intriguing stories, and this one is no different. Who could be the murderer, if these deaths are truly murder. Both the coroner and families believe the deaths were just misadventures. There no evidence at all to show that a crime was committed. Except for one person going to Trudy, as they'd once been in school together, asked if she'd talk to someone who about the death of a friend. Saying it couldn't be suicide because the friend would never do that. As it get more and more complicated & Trudy go undercover to try and catch this prankster, she doesn't see a way to find out who it was. Hope you enjoy this book, it has so many twists it keeps you guessing who could be the murderer, and how in the world could it be proven?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jane Irish Nelson

    Probably at least 3.5 stars. It's 1960 and Trudy Loveday is a WPC in Oxford, pretty much unwanted by her boss and most of her male colleagues. But when her friend Grace seeks her advice regarding the death of a contestant in a beauty contest sponsored by Grace's employer, Trudy agrees to to tell coroner Bernard Ryder about her concerns. After the inquest, where Ryder steers the jury into an open verdict, Trudy ends up going undercover as a beauty pageant contestant, while Ryder becomes one of th Probably at least 3.5 stars. It's 1960 and Trudy Loveday is a WPC in Oxford, pretty much unwanted by her boss and most of her male colleagues. But when her friend Grace seeks her advice regarding the death of a contestant in a beauty contest sponsored by Grace's employer, Trudy agrees to to tell coroner Bernard Ryder about her concerns. After the inquest, where Ryder steers the jury into an open verdict, Trudy ends up going undercover as a beauty pageant contestant, while Ryder becomes one of the contest judges, thus placing them both in position to not only investigate Abigail's death, but also the pranks being played on various contestants. A fascinating depiction of a variety of young women in what was still a male-dominated world. Interesting characters, with some flaws, and an imaginative plot create a very thought-provoking story. Recommended.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Radley

    I have tried and tried to get into this series as the mystery and where it’s set are fascinating also the author has a vivid and good use of descriptors in describing the surroundings of Oxford. But she falls down on her characters and how they connect with each other her main character just feels wrong, as in a modern girl set in 1960s she just doesn’t fit in and at times takes you out of the story and leaves you wondering a what the hell she is doing? Why she is doing that? And just it baffles I have tried and tried to get into this series as the mystery and where it’s set are fascinating also the author has a vivid and good use of descriptors in describing the surroundings of Oxford. But she falls down on her characters and how they connect with each other her main character just feels wrong, as in a modern girl set in 1960s she just doesn’t fit in and at times takes you out of the story and leaves you wondering a what the hell she is doing? Why she is doing that? And just it baffles me. Also it feels way too melodramatic and almost bordering on the vaudeville style shows. Very disappointing not going to read any more from her. Sorry if you read any of her books be warned they are utter rubbish.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 1960, Oxford As the city of Oxford prepares itself for the inaugural Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant at The Old Swan Theatre, excitement is in the air. But when one of the leading contestants is found dead, suspicion hangs over the competition. Poisoned, the authorities assume her death was suicide. But after a malicious series of pranks and blackmail attempts are reported, WPC Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder are called upon to solve the case. In an atmosphere of fierce competition, the list of s 1960, Oxford As the city of Oxford prepares itself for the inaugural Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant at The Old Swan Theatre, excitement is in the air. But when one of the leading contestants is found dead, suspicion hangs over the competition. Poisoned, the authorities assume her death was suicide. But after a malicious series of pranks and blackmail attempts are reported, WPC Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder are called upon to solve the case. In an atmosphere of fierce competition, the list of suspects is endless. Could what have started as harmless fun become a deadly race to win the prize? With time running out, the duo need to spot the killer before tragedy strikes again. Don't think I finished it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    A gentle mystery set in 1960s Oxford but with a topical issue at its core. A beauty contestant is presumed to have committed suicide but WPC Trudy Ryder's friend Grace thinks there's something more so Trudy persuades (and it doesn't take much) her friend the coroner to look further. This could have been more a social commentary on how female police (Trudy is the only one) were treated in the 1960s but Martin instead has her go undercover at the pageant to find out the truth. Thanks to Netgalley A gentle mystery set in 1960s Oxford but with a topical issue at its core. A beauty contestant is presumed to have committed suicide but WPC Trudy Ryder's friend Grace thinks there's something more so Trudy persuades (and it doesn't take much) her friend the coroner to look further. This could have been more a social commentary on how female police (Trudy is the only one) were treated in the 1960s but Martin instead has her go undercover at the pageant to find out the truth. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. No fireworks here but still a good read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lynda Birch

    This is the second Ryder & Loveday Mystery that I have read (The other was A Fatal Mistake) and I found this one more enjoyable to read. Maybe because I am now familiar with the characters but this story was easy to get into and held my interest. Intrepid Trudy finds herself in the Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant to help Coroner Ryder prove that an apparent suicide was actually murder. Their investigation reveals that many involved in the pageant are not as sweet as they would have you believe.

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