Berkley, Aug 2004, 23.95, 352 pp.
Former model Suzy Longthorne owns the Hopwicke County House Hotel. She was doing quite well until 9/11 caused a major drop in travel. The once exclusive hotel turned to a different type of client to stay afloat. In addition, helping Suzy at times is her friend Jude who fills in when a waitress calls in sick and her pal is short handed.
The last time Jude worked at the hotel, the Pillars of Sussex, an exclusive men's club with plenty of influence, held their meeting there. Nigel Petford, a junior lawyer, is thrilled to be a guest of the illustrious club as he expects membership to be forthcoming. In his celebration, he overindulges with alcohol and Jude has to take the cheerful man to his room. The next day, Jude checks to see if Nigel is okay only to find him dead with a curtain rope around his neck. The police assume suicide, but Jude knows how elated Nigel was and believes it was homicide. Jude obtains the help of her pal Carole as she investigates the club and others, but everyone lies.
Gifted author Simon Brett shows why he is a grandmaster of the amateur sleuth sub-genre with this delightful who-done-it filled with twists, red herrings, and false clues. Jude and Carole are total opposites, but together make quite a team as their solid friendship serves as the bedrock in their dangerous escapade. THE HANGING IN THE HOTEL is full of viable suspects with the opportunity, many of whom are almost untouchable, but what makes the case is finding the motive.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner