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Past Mortem

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  3,936 Ratings  ·  178 Reviews
With old friends like these, who needs enemies?

It's a question mild mannered detective Edward Newson is forced to ask himself when, in romantic desperation, he logs on to the Friends Reunited website in search of the girlfriends of his youth. Newson is not the only member of the Class of take back '88 who has been raking over the ashes of the past. As his old class begins
ebook, 464 pages
Published November 8th 2012 by Transworld Digital (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30)
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Thomas Strömquist
I'm very impressed with Ben Elton's 9th novel. Even though I read him before and now well know that he does other stuff than comedy (and does other stuff than comedy really well), I'm still expecting a comic twist from his narrative. Even after learning of the (very) gruesome murders that are the work of a serial killer (according to Det. Edward Newsome's theory) I still kind of do. Some way into the novel, however, I realized this is serious stuff.

Without trying to reveal too much, the murders
Samyuktha jayaprakash
A very enjoyable light read on an important topic. First Ben elton book , I really like his style.
Characters - Funny , self depreciating and full of annoying tiny flaws. I kept thinking of Ed Sheeran when I read of Ed newson. The villain was hardly developed. Found some characters too drenched in stereotype.

Way of killing - Interesting , gross and relevant to the case.

Motives - Underlying theme of bullying and high school throughout the book. I felt that more dialogue on why killing your high
Jun 17, 2012 port22 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
"Past Mortem" is a mystery which takes place in contemporary England. Edward Newson, a detective inspector from Scotland Yard, together with Natasha Wilkie, a detective sergeant, trace a thread of murders in which victims die from lengthy torture. The scenes of each crime are connected only by a single common element -- the meticulousness and elaborate planning to avoid quick death.

On the surface this would have been a mystery about the psychology of the perpetrator, there is that, but what this
Feb 28, 2009 Dreadlocksmile rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Past Mortem" is Ben Elton's ninth novel which was first published back in 2004. Described on the sleeve as a "heart-stopping thriller and a killer comic romance", having been written by the comedian Ben Elton, you were sure to have a fair amount of comedy within the book.

The novel reads like a black comedy version of a Shaun Hutson thriller novel, being very easy to read, delivering short fast paced chapters that end on miniature cliff hangers throughout the book. The novel follows the life of
Ben Elton is really original and funny.
When some of my friends asked me "what is this book about?" I couldn't answer. Maybe a black novel, maybe a romantic one with a lot of perversion, maybe a little bit of everything... I don't know how to classify this novel, but I don't think it is necessary. It is a great one, with very complicated characters and with a cool story.

I love the writing and the speed of the events. I have hated some of the characters, yes, I have hated them not because of the
Tom Loock
I have read quite a few of Ben Elton's novels and with the exception of Blast from the Past have enjoyed them, some of them (High Society, Chart Throb) very much so.
Past Mortem is an okay mystery very heavy on the message about bullying. It's an important issue and I presume it was personal for Elton. An enjoyable read it is not, but then I suppose it's not meant to be.
Tuba Sayed
Dec 10, 2016 Tuba Sayed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so cool man.
Aug 30, 2008 Nick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As you will see from my other reviews, I generally enjoy reading Mr. Elton's output in the form of novels. 'Past Mortem' disappointed, however. What I normally like is the way he is able to combine wit, social issues and realistic characters into an intriguing storyline. The characaters in this novel were not as well fleshed out as in some others (such as 'Inconceivable'), but they were real enough to keep the plot going. So what didn't I like about this one? First, it was not very funny. That i ...more
David Roberts
Jan 22, 2014 David Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am reviewing the comedy thriller novel Past Mortem by Ben Elton which is a very good book which I bought from a car boot sale. Apparently Ben won the Golden Dagger Award for Popcorn which was a previous comic thriller also by him. People who are squeamish might fight this book a bit off putting although it's well written. The plot is a police inspector is investigating a series of brutal murders where the victims always seem to be unpopular and bullies. At the same time he is have to contend w ...more
Kristi Sawyer
Jan 01, 2015 Kristi Sawyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favourites
The problem with good books is that they never last very long!

Ben Elton is the perfect example of that...although being fairly long, I devour his books so quickly that enjoyment seems over far too fast! This being the second Ben Elton book I have read, I am struck by how vastly different the plots were (Two Brothers was excellently researched historical fiction), but they are both immensely entertaining. This story follows Detective Inspector Newson in his investigation of a series of interestin
Feb 17, 2014 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd forgotten how much I like Ben Elton. I liked his stand-up comedy and I've enjoyed his books thus far. This has been loitering on my bookshelves for years, and I'm rather glad that I inadvertently preserved reading it for the first time!

I've never had the slightest urge to join Friends Reunited. My school days were not the happiest of my life by any stretch of anyone's imagination and I've no overwhelming urge to revisit those with whom I shared them. The subjects of this novel, regardless of
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cat Pick
This was given to me by my Scottish friend who bought it in a UK charity shop. I hadn't ready any Elton before, and I'm really enjoying this. It's basically a police procedural, albeit a more lighthearted one (though the crimes are not at all lighthearted). It's sort of a veddy serious procedural crossed with a Kingsley Amis novel.
Sean Rich
May 21, 2015 Sean Rich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i realy enjoyed this book, even though i did work out who done it about half way through. but there was still plenty of good bits and surprises on the way through. Ben Elton is fast becomeing one of my fav authors, i've read two of his books now and i realy like the way he looks at things, his characters and his wit.
Apr 21, 2016 Mihaelas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2 stars

If you write half of a book, find it crap and keep writing - just stop. I would have rather read nothing. Ew.
May 13, 2014 Ameya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben Elton expertly combines the dread and thrill of a psychologically motivated murder spree with genuinely rib-tickling situations the protagonist regularly experiences. A riveting read.
May 22, 2017 Bindu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bullying people seems the norm for showing power!
It happens in various forms and at various stages of our life. All want revenge and sustain a life long ill feeling for the bully! But can anybody Bully the Bully?! which means he is wanting more power than the bully!
A vicious cycle set in motion by the numerous bullies, comes back to haunt them in the same way, years later - be it 20 or 40!
Ruth Bradbury-Horton
the fact that I read this book in a couple of days says to me how much I enjoyed it. The topic moves from amusement to disturbing and is right on topic with regards to the troubling trait of bullying. That Ben Elton took a different spin on the outcome and effect, made the story a goodread.

What struck me though was how as children we bully and or are bullied in ways that at the time of the 80's and prior were often deemed to be trivial, but yet were not.

James Farrant
only three stars because I knew who dunnit long before the police even considered the same person
This wasn't quite as clever or funny as his usual efforts but still an enjoyable read about an unlikely detective cracking a murderer intent on inflicting revenge on school bullies.
Aug 11, 2011 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I had never read a Ben Elton book before but have always liked his screen work. I can honestly say that this book was not what I was expecting but with my previous experience of his work being Blackadder, The Thin Blue Line and Maybe Baby that came as little surprise. This book was an absoulute gripping thriller and a prime example of how talented a writer Ben Elton is as he is able to pen this thriller novel which quite rightly ranks alongside the work of some of the full-time thriller writers ...more
Geoff Greene
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Des Hunt
Feb 20, 2017 Des Hunt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this except for some very kinky sex
Alan Perry
Aug 31, 2007 Alan Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ben Elton has managed to wrap a very tough subject up in a intricate plot. Detective Inspector Ed Newson is investigating a high profile murder, while at the same delving into his own past through Friends Reunited. The two situations start to merge together, linking other unsolved murders together, while also discovering that his memories of his schooldays were far from similar to anyone elses in his class. It starts to emerge that the murderer is after class bullies, and it's not until Ed's old ...more
Nov 17, 2016 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, funny, whodunnit
Beginning with a detailed description of a gruesome murder (the first of several..), Ben Elton leaves you in no doubt that this is a tale with few holds barred. Anyone who knows his writing won't be particularly surprised at that. There's also lots of lusting, a bit of graphic sex, some nasty bullying, self harm and swearing, but hey ho...

Story centers around a group of thirty somethings who grew up in the 1980's and come together again, via Friends Reunited, for a school reunion. Whether they w
James Perkins
Jun 23, 2012 James Perkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After his stand-up career stalled, Mr Elton turned to writing comic novels, and in my opinion, he is much more talented in that vein. He may air similar opinions, but somehow controversial issues are more acceptable on paper rather than in an outraged spoken rant. This particular effort involves young Detective Inspector Edward Newson and his attractive sidekick Detective Sergeant Natasha Wilkie as they investigate a series of bizarre and very gruesome murders. In his spare time, D.I. Newson is ...more
Dec 25, 2010 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
There's no doubt that this is an entertaining thriller that is easy to read, but the book also has a bitter and somewhat mean-spirited undercurrent that I always thought underpinned a lot of Elton's comedy. While most of his characters are likeable and therefore soften the impact of what is being portrayed, I think that many readers will be switched off by the key plot devices that are used to carry the story. There is also one sex scene that is almost stomach-churning in what it depicts, and wi ...more
May 24, 2012 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who enjoyed the Brit-coms "Blackadder" and "Thin Blue Line" on PBS in past years is familiar with Ben Elton's brand of humor. He is one of the few writers who can make me laugh out loud, and he did that several times in this murder mystery, based on school bullying and how it affects peoples' later lives. A serial killer is on the loose, torturing his victims for hours in horrible and bizarre ways before he finally kills them. If you hate detailed descriptions of this sort of thing, you s ...more
Dec 10, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was expecting the usual Ben Elton comedy, but this murder whodunit addresses the subject of bullying and it’s long lasting impact on the lives of both parties and proves to be a very enjoyable read.

D.I. Newton, the investigating officer and the central character, is someone single / divorced men over the age of 30 can identify with, unrequited love, wondering where the next physical encounter is going to surface. When he does have sex for the first time in months, it is more than he bargained fo
May 17, 2008 Karschtl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A novel about the very important topic of bullying, in particular bullying between teenagers (although abusive behaviour by a partner is also a side-theme). Some eccentric murder cases are presented here, and after the third or so the pattern is made clear to Det. Edward Newson. Each one of the murdered ppl has been a bully in his youth (and some have never grown out of it) and died the same way he/she once tormented a classmate.
Although the topic is taken just as serious as it is, at the same
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Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977.

His career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memo
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