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The Young Widow (Phillip Bethancourt and Jack Gibbons Mysteries #1)
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The Young Widow (Phillip Bethancourt and Jack Gibbons Mysteries #1)

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  157 ratings  ·  34 reviews
As if by magic, Annette Berowne seems capable of dazzling men from the moment she meets them. But when Annette becomes the primary suspect in her husband’s poisoning death, she arouses entirely different feelings. Now some men feel sorry for her while others are convinced she’s guilty.

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Minotaur Books
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Mike Gabor
As if by magic, Annette Berowne seems capable of dazzling men from the moment she meets them. But when Annette becomes the primary suspect in her husband’s poisoning death, she arouses entirely different feelings. Now some men feel sorry for her while others are convinced she’s guilty.

Jack Gibbons is a by-the-book, rising star at Scotland Yard. His friend Phillip Bethancourt is a smart, devil-may-care type with a good heart and a razor-sharp sense of people. When they reach the Berowne manor in
I thought this mystery was well written. I liked that it was light hearted and easy to read. For some reason I am attracted to British works of fiction; I just find them really interesting and I think this fact played a large role in why I enjoyed this book so much.
MB (What she read)
The lack of professionalism, personal integrity, and common sense shown by two of the main characters (detectives) made this book a wall-banger for me.
One day I will meet someone who enjoyed this book. Then there will be a murder worth investigating.
Emma (Miss Print)
"Annette Berowne had a sweet, heart-shaped face. She had honey-blond hair and wide brown eyes. She was not beautiful, and certainly not glamorous, but only Phillip Bethancourt noticed that."

So begins Cassandra Chan's debut novel, The Young Widow, in her debut mystery series of Phillip Bethancourt and Jack Gibbons mysteries (clearly this book is a CLW review because of the author and not the main characters). But before discussing Annette Berowne, it is important to know about Gibbons and Bethanc
I saw Cassandra Chan's Bethancourt-Gibbons mysteries recommended on LJ and decided to check them out--and wound up being very glad I did. The style of the series is very akin to Dorothy Sayers, enough that unless you're paying attention it's easy to mistake these books for period mysteries; they aren't. That it takes a bit to realize this in Book 1, even with such obvious technological markers as cell phones and the Internet, is one of the reasons the series takes a bit to get its feet under it. ...more
I liked this better than the three-star rating may indicate; as others have mentioned, it offers a delightful (in my opinion) confusion of setting, in that if you blink at the right times, you could mistake this for a mystery set in Victorian England. It actually takes place in modern times, but unlike many contemporary tales I've encountered, doesn't focus at all on the forensic/CSI angle or on any hysterical suspense plots of nationwide terror, or even a serial killer. No, it's an old man who' ...more
This is neither here nor there, but I could not for the life of me figure out when this book was set. From the cover and the description on the back and the fact that it's about a "rising star at Scotland Yard," I thought, ah, classic Victorian London detective! I revised this estimate when I got a couple pages in and the girlfriend of one of the main characters was sleeping over in a manner that sounded a measure more modern. So, maybe we're in the hardboiled detective era, '30s-'50s or so. I o ...more
Jill Hutchinson
This is a fun little mystery, the first entry in a series....I like it because, although set in modern times, it seems like it is set in 1920-30s England. It reminds the reader of the Lord Peter Wimsey books....the main characters are a rich, rather indolent young man and his Scotland Yard detective friend who allows him to tag along on the latest case.
A wealthy older man is murdered (in a very strange manner) and his young second wife, hated by the rest of the family, seems a likely suspect sin
I liked it. Between Gibbons and Bethancourt, another mystery solved.
In this classic English country house mystery, Scotland Yard detective Jack Gibbons investigates the poisoning of rich businessman. He his helped by his aristocratic friend, Phillip Bethancourt. The prime suspect is the young widow, who has previously lost two other husbands, both wealthy and elderly. The book has little to add to this well worn genre and the involvement of Bethancourt, supposedly a homage to Dorothy Sayers, simply stretches incredulity.
This is the first in the Bethancourt and Gibbon mystery series. I should've started with this one instead of reading the other two. The relationship between the two men is very complementary. They work well together to sort out what's what in a very complicated, detailed mystery.

Chan has an easy, but traditional style of writing. It's full of rich detail and interesting characters, which is always a great way to tell a story.
I wasn't overly impressed. The characters were somewhat wanly drawn, and I couldn't bring myself to invest any emotions into their fates. I'm fine with an omniscient narrator (I actually prefer it, in most cases) but there was something curiously off about the tone. I think it was a bit too American for the setting (English aristocratic country house murder). I finished the book, but won't be getting any more.
A fun introduction to a modern pair of detectives who fit in with the classic English cozy tradition. Fans of Sayers, Tey, Marsh, etc will probably like this series from Cassandra Chan. Well-placed clues made it fun to "play along"-- some may call that "being predictable" but I personally prefer that style to the hero miraculously solving the mystery with information the reader was never given.
I really like this author. This apparently is her first, but I've read a couple others already. The writing is good & crisp, the plot is engaging and clever, the characters are interesting and likable. In this one, the policeman gets involved with the prime murder suspect, which is an unusual twist, and one I did not particularly like.
Very interesting characters in this mystery. Having an American author write a British mystery about a Scotland Yard Detective Sergeant with a gentleman amateur sleuth as a sidekick was an interesting concept.

There were also enough plot twists to keep me interested throughout the novel.
The two protagonists are not particularly admirable. The mystery is resolved not through detection but rather through witnesses updating their previous statements. A light read, but not one that particularly makes me want to read book #2 with any speed.
Oct 14, 2009 Barbara rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: dnf
I got about half way through this and realized that I didn't like any of the characters, the author's writing, the plot and so on. So I closed the book, returned it to the library and scratched the author off my list.
Loved the way the characters have been drawn - no cliches. And the subtle humor. Loved the understated interlude between Uncle Phillip and young nephew. Glad that I stumbled on this book.
I really enjoyed 'The Young Widow' and look forward to reading the rest of the series. I loved Philip Bethancourt and Jack Gibbons. Great pairing!
If you like Dorthy Sayers books about Lord Peter Wimsey I think you'll like this book: I did. I just checked the next 2 out of the library.
Folks looking for a more contemporary Christie or Sayers novel would enjoy Chan's take on the policeman/aristocrat detective pairing.
Louise Parr
Good, Unfortunately the library doesn't own any more of them. I'm not sure I like them enough to ask the library to ILL them. Phoo
Boring. But read some other reviews which said that book two in the series was better. Will give this author another try.
Jul 31, 2011 Julie added it
Shelves: british-mystery
i read her second book first and really liked it. this one was okay, but not as good as the second, 'village affairs'.
Let's say 3 1/2; I didn't get the who done it until close to the end, but it was a bit ponderous....
Jenn Estepp
pretty mediocre mystery. passed the time but nothing too special about it and super, incredibly predictable.
A cute, rather mindless cozy read. I was looking for something very light and this fit the bill.
Very English, comfy, locked door sort of mysteries in this series. Light and amusing.
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Cassandra Chan has published four novels, most recently A Spider on the Stairs, and several short stories featuring Gibbons and Bethancourt. She lives in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
More about Cassandra Chan...
Village Affairs (Phillip Bethancourt and Jack Gibbons Mysteries #2) A Spider on the Stairs (Phillip Bethancourt and Jack Gibbons Mysteries, #4) Trick of the Mind (Phillip Bethancourt and Jack Gibbons Mysteries #3)

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