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The Celtic Dagger

(Alistair Fitzjohn #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,358 ratings  ·  137 reviews
University professor Alex Wearing is found murdered in his study by the Post Graduate Co-coordinator, Vera Trenbath, a nosey interfering busybody. Assigned to the case is Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn. Fitzjohn is a detective from the old guard, whose methodical, painstaking methods are viewed by some as archaic. His relentless pursuit for the killer zeros in ...more
Kindle Edition, Second Edition, 198 pages
Published October 14th 2012 by Jill Henderson (first published October 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  1,358 ratings  ·  137 reviews

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Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
The surprise here was that the book purported to be an Alistair Fitzjohn mystery yet he barely made his presence felt throughout the whole book. Instead the brother of the victim did all the detective work and occupied almost every page. Still it was a good story and a pleasant read.
A few silly spelling mistakes popped up - somebody walking with an unusual "gate" created an amusing mental picture for a few moments. I did enjoy all the references to Sydney and other Australian places, but I
James Wearing has never worked out why he and his brother, Alex have never gotten along, but after their latest argument, James is left feeling a little uneasy. James is expected in Melbourne for a conference in two days time, but decides to take an earlier flight.

Not long after he arrives, James catches up with Claudio Perona, a friend and colleague from Centre for Classics and Archaeology at the University of Melbourne. It's later that afternoon whilst in Claudio's office that, James gets a
I like crime novels with a strong male lead. So when I saw this I was delighted! The start of the novel is great - and I like the character of Alistair Fitzjohn, but ... sigh, most of the detective work in the story seems to be done by the brother of the murder victim. Fitzjohn plays a very minor part really, to the extent that we don't get a decent understanding of him. He is just 'there', the copper who gets assigned to the case.

Shame really, because I wanted to read more about him.
Dialogue. It's something I'm increasingly aware of, as it should be part of the way that an author can show (as opposed to tell) the reader what the characters are seeing, thinking, considering, experiencing. Combine really good dialogue with a feasible plot and an author can transport the reader to the world that they are building within the book. Poor dialogue on the other hand yanks the reader out of the immersion experience and makes a book a less enjoyable experience. Obviously the problem ...more
James Wearing flew to Melbourne from Sydney after the dinner at the University concluded. He had a paper to present two days later, and decided to go earlier after another uncomfortable argument with his brother Alex. They had been at odds their whole lives, and James always found Alex’s behaviour strange, but just could not get on with him. He was starting to feel he should move from Sydney and working with his brother, as since his wife Louise had died in a car accident two years earlier, the ...more
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
A Fitzjohn Mystery is written on the cover. I'm not sure why it is called so, because contrary to the title, Fitzjohn barely made his presence, leaving the brother of the victim to do all the detective work and solving the case. The story was good but certainly no mystery was present.
Diane Challenor
An enjoyable cozy mystery with likeable characters and best of all it is set in Sydney, my city. I look forward to the second book in the series.
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melisende by: Goodreads
Was lucky to win a copy of Jill's book in a GR giveawy - so looking forward to this unexpected Christmas Present.

Many thanks to Jill and GR!

Happy festive season!
Dec 20, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, first-reads
An eminent University Professor is murdered with an antique Celtic Dagger and with the Professor’s brother James Wearing being prime suspect, the race is on to clear his name. The premise is intriguing but Jill Paterson has presented us with a murder mystery which unfortunately does not deliver.

The plot itself is workable, but each plot pointer is only briefly touched upon, leaving the reader with no sense of anticipation or drama. The third person narrator is used like a bad director and even
Lynda Kelly
Oct 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: deleted
I've heard great things about this series but I tried this one and got to 13% and packed it in. It isn't for me. I hadn't known it was Australian for starters. Not a biggie but I don't know much about the place and therefore have no clue how far Sydney is from Melbourne, for example, which I should have known for the answer to a question I had near the beginning.
Plus it seems to be set way back in time. I know it isn't as there was mention of a mobile phone but it all seemed very old-fashioned
Dec 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just received my book and I am so excited, looking forward to starting it today. The author Jill Paterson autographed and included a note card that was very thoughtful and greatly appreciated.

What a great book! It caught my interest from the very first page, and held it through out the whole story. The story flowed very well, and I was never bored. I enjoyed meeting the vast array of characters, and would love to see more about them in print.
Val Watkinson
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story begins with a murder. Simple? Inspector Fitzjohn maybe thought so until his principal suspect is joined by numerous others. We have the mystery of disappearing antiques, revealing family intrigues and relationships, workplace politics and the continued presence of the victims brother - the chief suspect. This story keeps the reader 'solving' the crime until the very end when the murderer is revealed. I am now awaiting Inspector Fitzjohns next case.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A traditional detective 'whodunit' set in Australia. Carefully paced and almost 'gentle' murder mystery that keeps you intrigued to the final revelation. This is not the easiest kind of book to write and I think the author did a good job in developing the mystery while keeping the writing to the point and the characters well-drawn. Detective novels are not my favourite in general but I liked the spare and direct style and the story kept me focused to the end.
Melanie Barbarito
Jun 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
It was okay. I read the whole thing, but I'm not sure why it is called a Fitzjohn Mystery. Fitzjohn hardly solved the murder at all. One of the other main characters did all. The work, with Fitzjohn being called in when police were needed to verify and give credibility to what was discovered. But it was a good enough story that I'll venture on to the next one.
Sonja Bristow
Quick read with some strange nuances that I couldn't get past. Slipshod mentionings that did little to add to the story. Contrary to the title, I expected the actual inspector to investigate, when in fact, it was the suspect doing all the leg work. Fitzjohn made a rare appearance and added nothing. I was disappointed.
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
When University professor Alex Wearing is found dead Detective Chief Inspector Alistair Fitzjohn is assigned the case.
When Wearing's brother James believes he is the prime suspect he starts his own investigation. Leading to the discovery of stolen artifacts and blackmail.
An enjoyable enough read
I found this novel to be predictable and stilted. The story is filled with action, beginning with a murder and 3 missing artifacts, but in-depth details are scant.
Chaplain Stanley Chapin

It would have been better if there were more of the chief detective (Fitzjohn) and less academic mish mash relationship
Harry Lane
May 03, 2015 rated it liked it
An entertaining, easy read. Police procedural, but in this story, Fitzjohn has the assistance of an interested civilian. As always, the Australian scene provides an additional dimension to the tale.
Michele Yannuzzi
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery. I couldn't predict the killer and it kept me interested the entire read. I'd like to read more books with these characters.
Alice Boni
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of The Celtic Dagger by Jill Patterson. I really enjoyed this book . It had a great story line and being set in Australia added to my enjoyment. This is the 1st book in the Fitzjohn mystery series and features Inspector Fritzjohn and his Sgt. Betts in an investigation of a high profile murder of the college staff Alex Wearing. There are many threads woven into the story but each seems to blend perfectly into the story. There is murder, art theft, assults and attempted ...more
Gaiil Stetson
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
At first I was a little disappointed as the blurb led me to believe this was more of an old school cozy police procedural. However, the incredible skill of this author quickly overcame it. Every character was well-drawn. The plot had a number of twists, all skillfully done, no contrivance. Best of all was the ability of the author to set a scene. Not dark and stormy night, more someone entering a room and the temperature dropping due to dislike. I also appreciated the pace of the book. The ...more
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is supposedly a police procedural, but there is very little police work involved. Instead, the brother of the victim, who is also a suspect, does all of the investigating. The plot is unbelievably complicated, with robbery, murder, blackmail, family secrets, murder for hire, cold case hit and run, cold case auto accident, international art theft and on and on...all somehow connected to the original murder. This is the first book in a series and I finished it without having a clue who the ...more
Judith Baxter
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book and it’s introduction to Fitzjohn. I have read all of the subsequent books which feature the Inspector in a more stellar capacity. I decided to start at the beginning and this time read them in the order they were published.The characters are believable and interesting. There are enough of them to make the brain work to try and determine the killer. James the brother of the murdered Alex Wearing, plays the main part in the story, with Inspector Fitzjohn hovering in the ...more
Liz Etnyre
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really good little mystery. Not earth shattering, but nice twists. Likeable characters. Suspected who did it about 3/4 of the way through, but wasn't 100% sure until the denouement. Enjoyed the read. Will read on in the series.
Lori Henrich
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I started out really liking this story. But there were so many errors in the digital copy I had that it turned me off rather quickly. If I didn't already have so many books that I wanted to read I might keep going but I think I will just move on.
June Gooding
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This will keep you up way past bedtime

I enjoyed this book so much and got so involved in it that I stayed up until 4AM reading it. I've read all the books in the series and can't wait for her to write another one
Patricia Gulley
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Set in Australia in the cold winter of July. The main character, Fitzjohn, didn't do much detecting here. Mostly, it was the brother of the first victim. That said, it was an interesting and twisted plot.
Beth Haskins
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it

Kept you guessing until the very last minute. You don't know who to trust because each character has their own secrets. A couple of red herrings, a case of art theft and murder.
Fiona Zakka
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A classic who done it

The Celtic dagger by Lillian Paterson is a classic mystery with a twist. The detective in charge is largely the silent type that leaves another character to do most of the sleuthing. The story is filled with action and a pleasant read.
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Jill Paterson is best known for her popular Fitzjohn Mystery Series. Set in the city of Sydney and its environs, it features DCI Alistair Fitzjohn. A police officer of the old guard, Fitzjohn's methodical, painstaking methods are viewed by some as archaic. Nevertheless, over the years, they have brought him success as well as the respect of all but one of his colleagues; Chief Superintendent ...more

Other books in the series

Alistair Fitzjohn (8 books)
  • Murder at the Rocks (Alistair Fitzjohn, #2)
  • Once Upon a Lie (Alistair Fitzjohn, #3)
  • Lane's End (Alistair Fitzjohn, #4)
  • Deadly Investment (Alistair Fitzjohn, #5)
  • Poisoned Palette (Alistair Fitzjohn, #6)
  • The Fourth String (Alistair Fitzjohn, #7)
  • Rose Scented Murder (A Fitzjohn Mystery Book 8)