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A Shadowed Livery (Inspector James Given Investigations #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  40 reviews
The first book in a page-turning historical mystery series! Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Philip Kerr and Andrew Taylor.

War is on the horizon…

Warwickshire, England, 1938

While Hitler and Chamberlain are preparing to sign the Munich agreement, the murderer of a Jewish shopkeeper is being hanged in Birmingham.

After witnessing the execution,
Kindle Edition, 276 pages
Published August 19th 2019 by Sapere Books (first published April 1st 2015)
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Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sometimes you receive more than you expect when you choose a book ... I hoped for a decent read, however, Mr Garratt offered me much more - a real treat!
England 1938. The story of a seemingly obvious murder and two suicides in the depth of the English countryside arises some suspicion in Inspector James Given. Acting on a hunch, he uncovers long hidden truth. The plot sounds very much like Agatha Christie, and the novel is written in the style which reminds us of Old Masters of the genre. The
This is a historical mystery in the tradition of the golden age of crime, with the country house and a host of suspects, set in Warwickshire in the troubled times before WW2 in 1938. It begins with DI James Given witnessing the hanging of one of two men he had arrested for beating a Jewish butcher to death. There is more work to be done on the case, but Given is moved to another inquiry by Superintendent Dyer, one which requires him to evaluate whether the police were correct in laying to rest ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Two suspects in the murder of a Jewish butcher are found guilty and sentenced to death. Unfortunately, the unknown man giving the orders to kill is still at large. Before he can continue his investigation, Inspector James Given is pulled off the case to look into another murder which is getting attention from the press. It looked like a clear-cut case of murder-suicide, followed by another suicide in the household at Grovestock House. However, as Given starts asking questions. he finds not all ...more
Elaine Tomasso
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I would like to thank Sapere Books for an advance copy of A Shadowed Livery, the first novel to feature DI James Given, set in 1938 Warwickshire.

DI Given has just watched a man hang for the murder of a Jewish shopkeeper and is wondering how to find the ringleaders when he is sent to Grovestock House to re-investigate three deaths which had been quickly written off as a murder and two suicides, much to the disgust of the press. With no resources except the local bobby, John Sawyer, it is viewed
Gianna Lorandi
This historical murder mystery is set in 1938 in the brink of WWII. It has the trademarks of the golden age of murder mysteries - a country house, a detective w a complex personality, questionable murders, family secrets and some good old investigation work.

It gripped me from the start and kept my attention until the end with great narrative, nice flow, plots and sub plots. You could sense the intrigue all the way through.

I’m looking forward to reading more Inspector Given’s murder mysteries!

Cathy Geha
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Shadowed Livery by Charlie Garratt
Inspector James Given #1

Hanging by the neck till you are dead can’t be pleasant but it is not pleasant for the observer either. When Detective Inspector James Given leaves the hanging of a man he brought to justice he is unsettled even though he knew the man was guilty of murder. Returning to the office he is sent off to find out what happened at a country home though his boss believes it is just a matter of looking things over, agreeing and writing the three
Rose Weiss
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Could not put this book down and finished it in two days.
It begins with the witnessing of a hanging of a man convicted of beating to death a Jewish shopkeeper in a small town in England. Watching the hanging is Detective Given who has been assigned this case and following the spread of anti Semitic activity. However he is pulled off this case and instead told to investigate and close another case involving a rich family with murder and suicide. Of course things are not as clear as first seen and
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-reviews
1938 and after capturing and witnessing the hanging of two criminals, Detective Inspector James Given's next case is to review a recently closed one. There has recently been one murder and two suicides at Gravestock House in Warwickshire. His job is to make sure that nothing has been missed. The verdict is that Lady Isabelle Barleigh killed her son Tom, and then committed suicide, and then his fiancee Jenny Barnford was so distraught that she killed herself. So will he agree with this ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
On the brink of war, Inspector Given is trying to deal with the wave of Anti Antisemitism sweeping the United Kingdom. Two people who were caught in the latest killing are being hanged though the masterminds behind the attack are still free and very much pursuing constant attacks against Jewish businesses.

Surprisingly he is taken off the case and given another one - a triple murder cum suicide (apparently) for the flimsiest of reasons. Suspicious about the reasoning behind the murders and
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2019
I could not put this book down! I thought it was well written and kept me guessing who did it til the very end! It reminded me of the P.D.James detective series I use to read. I will be looking for more in this series! Definitely recommend! Thanks to Sapere books for the early copy
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have not read any books from this author before and realised upon some research that this appears to be the authors first book When I do a review I genuinely do not like to give away any details that might have the prospective reader to guess who did it before reading the book.

So with this in mind I am going to say WHAT A GREAT BOOK, the author writes this from the perspective of the Inspector in charge of the investigation and whilst doing this manages to weave a good story, with some great
John Bayliss
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent 'whodunit' with a setting that would be familiar to all lovers of 'Golden Age' crime fiction: a country house murder mystery on the eve of World War II. Author Charlie Garrett expertly integrates all the usual elements from the genre – family secrets, class snobbery, intrigue both below and above stairs – into an original and satisfying read.

What I particularly like about this novel is that it doesn't shy away from the real life issues that were prevalent at the time, such
Carol Peters
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this novel. Loads of twists and turns and an exciting page turner. I found the short chapters added to a sense of suspense with plot and characters gently moving towards a process of revelation. The releasing of information throughout the novel generates mystery and this is paralleled by the first person narration (James Given) internal struggle to keep aspects of his own identity hidden. I liked the complexity of characters and how each had their own 'shadiness'. The solving of ...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

In late September 1938, Peter Bishop was hanged for his crimes with six people in attendance. One was Inspector James Given who arrested him for kicking a shopkeeper to death in the street. Given has been investigating the spate of beatings again Jewish people.

Superintendent Henry Dyer takes Inspector Given off the case and hands him a different sort of puzzle. Grovestock House is the home of a very influential and wealthy family named Barleigh. There has been a murder and two suicides.
Joanne Wood
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Shadowed Livery by Charlie Garratt (Inspector Given book 1)

Netgalley disclaimer blah, blah….

Does it really alter anyone’s review? A rubbish book is a rubbish book and a good book is a good book.

This, in case you’re wondering, IS a good book. Apparently based on real events (haven’t tracked the case down as yet), it’s the story of Inspector James Given (aka Jacob Geffen) and his investigation in to an apparent double suicide and murder among the upper classes.

Did Lady Isabelle kill her stepson?
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one.

Inspector Given is a well-formed, nuanced character who keeps surprising the reader as bits of his past bleed into the present, the present being 1938 Warwickshire and the world of grand country houses. War is on its way but it's the previous war that casts its shadow over this particular mansion.

There's been a bit of carnage at Grovestock House, with 3 bodies sprawled around the place, but Given isn't convinced that it's all done-and-dusted. The pressure being exerted
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
While Hitler and Chamberlain are preparing to sign the Munich agreement, the murderer of a Jewish shopkeeper is being hanged in Birmingham. After witnessing the execution, Inspector James Given, who brought the killer to justice, is surprised to find he has been taken off the investigation to pursue something completely different.
Grovestock House, owned by the wealthy Barleigh family has witnessed a triple death. With the terrible events neatly written off as a murder and a double suicide,
Cathy Morgan
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Inspector James Given is sent to re-investigate a supposed murder-and-double-suicide when the public complains that it wasn't looked into properly - but though he gradually comes to realise that it can't have happened the way that was originally supposed, finding the actual killer or killers and proof to convict is difficult. To complicate things further, his family is facing difficulties that lead to additional unauthorised contact with a witness, and one of the suspects is the girl he had ...more
Michael Bully
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A well written 'Whodunnit' set round a country house in 1938. A disabled wealthy young man confined to a wheelchair has been seemingly murdered by his mother , who kills herself, then the distraught fiance of said chap also commits suicide. An actual scenario the writer found reported , albeit in a different age.
The Inspector gradually untangles the whole scenario. He fights his own inner demons and frustrations, and some dangerous external foes. The weeks between the Munich Conference and the
A Shadowed Livery is a police procedural very much in the vein of an Agatha Christie novel. It’s set in 1938, just as the rumblings of war begin and National Socialism and Fascism raise their heads in Germany. DI James Givens has been pulled off the case that he was working on (the murder of a Jewish butcher - the guilty men have been hanged, but there’s still work to be done) and sent to a small village in the English countryside, to wrap up the deaths of three people (mother, son and fiancée) ...more
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Inspector James Given is, if his debut is anything to go by, going to become one of my favourite detectives. Jewish by birth but living as a gentile, he is experiencing the sharp end of the rise of anti-semitism during the 1930’s and struggling to reconcile his heritage with his job and his personal life. This book is well plotted, well researched and well written, with an intriguing case and a cast of fascinating characters, many of whom I hope will make an appearance in future books. In the ...more
Juliette Lewington
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who doesn’t love a good whodunit to keep us guessing? The Shadow Livery is a crime mystery interwoven with historical facts.

Set in Warwickshire in 1938 against the backdrop of anti-Semitism and the political unrest in Europe just before WWII.
Inspector James Given witnesses the hanging of the man he convicted, for beating to death a Jewish shopkeeper. He is suddenly assigned to a new case, the shootings of three people at Grovestock House, the home of the wealthy Barleigh Family.
As he starts
Sue K
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Given is handed the investigation of the death of a mother, son and son’s fiancée in a country mansion. At first it is thought the deaths are suicides but Given delves further with the help of local Constable John Sawyer. This is written in the period before the start of WW11 and it’s becoming a worrying period for Inspector Given as he is hiding his Jewish ancestry from the Police Force and he has family that are living in Germany under greater threats from Hitler.
Also thrown in is James
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Antisemitism in the 1930's was not confined to Germany. England had its share of fascists (Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists) and other far right prejudices. The increasing number of refugees from Germany only exacerbated the feelings of resentment from certain elements of the population.

The book begins with Inspector James Givens witnessing the execution of a man who murdered a Jewish shopkeeper.

Although Givens had been investigating the increasing number of attacks on Jews, his
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has everything I love about golden age mysteries, country house setting, cast of varied characters all hiding something, murder and deceit, crime and a satisfying payoff. There are several interwoven subplots and the characters (and their imperfections and foibles) are three dimensional and believable in the context of the book.

I like that the author didn't shy away from the antisemitism of England in 1938. The history and background were well researched and I didn't find any egregious
Danielle P
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This dialogue-driven crime novel includes traditional elements of old-fashioned crime fiction — a stately home complete with servants, a large cast of suspects, a long list of possible motives, family secrets — but features a detective who will be familiar to modern-day readers: an alcoholic with a hair-trigger temper, a problematic love life, and a difficult relationship with his father. The historical context, which drives James Given to hide his Jewish heritage, adds a welcome layer of ...more
Heather Wamboldt
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Shadowed Livery is the first book in the Inspector James Given Investigations series. I found this to be a fascinating story that grips you from the beginning. I also enjoyed the mixture of fiction with historical facts. The author has obviously done his research. The narratives are well written and engaging.

Taking place in England in 1938 and the rise of anti-Semitism, Givens' hidden background comes into play. Givens is now investigating a case of murder and double suicide all taking place
Bob Hurley
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable, first time I have read a Charlie Garret novel. Key characters of James Given and John Sawyer lead us through a seemingly obvious suicide/mercy killing combination set just before the onset of WWII which as DI Given sees fairly early on is not as “obvious” as it seems to appear. As I am from Coventry the book it set around the county I love, Warwickshire, with both Leamington and Kenilworth playing a lead role. The area and countryside descriptions in the book are perfect. With ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is set in England in the days before WW2, so it's a real change from the modern day mysteries in which the 'cast' have the advantages of mobile 'phones and life seemed so much simpler. Detective Given was asked to review a recently investigated case, almost as a break from the stress of a gruesome court case that he had just completed.
Initially the deaths of a young man, his mother and fiancee on a local estate look like suicides, but all is not what it seems.
I enjoyed the book, and it
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Sapere books for this ARC.

I was interested in reading this as I liked the description of it being an old time mystery. I was not disappointed. This was a great mystery story that kept you guessing until the end. I loved all the characters and the quirks of the main character as well. The twists and turns were fun and just when you thought you had it figured out, you didn't.

The setting and description were well done and I felt that I was right there with the characters in 1930's
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Reading the Detec...: Classic golden-age 5 26 Aug 23, 2019 11:40PM  

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Charlie Garratt is author and co-author of a number of books and guides on community participation, and author of a large number of short stories. In 2016, three of Charlie's short stories were included in a collection, Wild Atlantic Words, fifteen tales drawing from life along the west coast of Ireland.

His first novel, A Shadowed Livery, a murder mystery set in Warwickshire, is now on pre-order
“Birmingham’s sweatshops supply caps to factory workers in Lancashire and plus-fours to gentleman anglers on the River Tweed, hats to titled ladies and waistcoats to farm labourers. An odd kind of equality in an unequal world.” 0 likes
“His clothes were poor quality, though his shirt collar was clean and well pressed. The single exception to this was his shoes. My mother once told me to always buy good shoes and a good bed, because if you’re not in one you’re in the other.” 0 likes
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