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DI Sam Clayton #4

Murder at the Manor

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Has a village feud led to murder? Or is the killer closer to home?

Rupert Iverson is found dead in the swimming pool of his North Norfolk manor house, dressed as Louis XIV.

He was hit over the head with a blunt object and held under the water.

More than one of the twenty-four guests has motive — as do several of the local villagers, who have been feud¬ing with Rupert’s father.

Then one of the villagers is discovered on the beach.

Will Detectives Sam Clayton and Julie Everett uncover a connection or will a third body turn up?

206 pages, ebook

First published August 26, 2021

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About the author

Anne Penketh

7 books33 followers
Lancashire lass now based in London. But not for long.

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5 stars
429 (46%)
4 stars
338 (36%)
3 stars
118 (12%)
2 stars
23 (2%)
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13 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 44 reviews
Profile Image for Linda Strong.
3,880 reviews1,644 followers
August 26, 2021
DI Sam Clayton, along with DS Neil Pringle and DS Julie Everette are charged with investigating when a man's body is found floating face down in the swimming pool of a party house.

The young man, Rupert Iverson, was celebrating his 25th birthday with 24 of his closest friends. This was a costume party with costumes for each of his guests selected by him. It's all about Louis XIV, with wigs and fancy dress.

Who would want this young man dead? Someone not happy with their costume? The current girlfriend he plans on leaving to be with his ex-girlfriend? The old girlfriend who doesn't know? Or is it an attack on the man's father? His wealthy father is a man of importance .. and a man with many enemies? Retaliation? Revenge?

While investigating, another of the villagers falls to her death from the cliffs nearby? Accident? Suicide? Murder? Are the two cases even connected?

Suspense starts on the very first page and only escalates throughout until the very last explosive, unexpected conclusion. Twists and turns abound as many suspects, who all seem to have nefarious motives. Lies and deception are the norm. Although 4th in the series, this can easily be read as a stand alone. I would, however, recommend starting at the beginning as the characters all have backstories that go a long way in explaining how they have become the people they are .. and how it relates to the tough job they do every single day.

Many thanks to the author /Joffe Books / Books n All Book Promotions / Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime fiction. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Profile Image for The Sassy Bookworm.
3,464 reviews2,359 followers
October 13, 2021

This one was just okay. I found it super slow and struggled with it holding my attention. I loved the setting, though. So there is that. 🤷🏻‍♀️

**ARC Via NetGalley**
Profile Image for Alison  Hartley.
78 reviews2 followers
August 19, 2021
The book itself started off full of promise, we were first introduced to the Iverson family and the intriguing fancy dress party being held at the Manor with the theme of The Court of The Sun King. We then move straight on to DI Sam Clayton and DS Julie Everett who are on their way to the Manor after reports of a murder. These first two chapters really set the scene, the language was fluid, not too descriptive and the dialogue was easy to follow, it made me want to read on. But that didn’t last.
For me the storyline went off on a tangent in the middle, the detectives started to investigate an area in their enquiries which was obviously irrelevant and held no purpose to the murder, it became very repetitive. Eventually though it was brought back on track and you couldn’t help wondering why they didn’t follow the obvious route to begin with. I do think a lot more could have been done with the themed party storyline, it was touched upon slightly and it could have given a lot more scope for some twists and turns to be added
This is my first-time reading Anne Penketh, I am not familiar with this series and I found I really struggled with the characters. They didn’t really have any back stories to any of them and I caught myself wondering if I had missed something because they would jump to conclusions without proof. As an example, there is a line in the book where Julie is talking about her boss, she describes him, unfoundedly, as racist ‘like a lot of policemen.’ There is no reasoning given for this and because of lines like this I found the main character Julie to be really annoying, she was very self-absorbed, judgemental and with a huge persecution complex. I found it hard to take to her as the leading character. The other characters in this book were all likeable and served a purpose but they were also flat and two dimensional. I finished the book not knowing a great deal about any of them.
Overall, it was an easy read, a cosy mystery that wraps everything up at the end. It can certainly be read as a standalone book if you haven’t read the other three in the series. However, ‘A gripping crime thriller with a killer twist’ as described on the cover, it really isn’t.
Profile Image for 8stitches 9lives.
2,854 reviews1,644 followers
August 26, 2021
Murder at the Manor is the fourth instalment in the Detective Inspector Sam Clayton Mystery series. DI Clayton and colleague DS Julie Everett have been assigned to investigate the case of a suspicious death that had taken place in their small village of Tideburgh in Norfolk. The prominent Iverson family reside in the spacious Georgian Manor House on the estate known as Iverson Hall and are about to throw a large birthday celebration for their son Rupert. The party was to cater for 24 of Rupert’s closest friends and would be both hosted and paid for by daddy dearest, Dennis Iverson.

Patriarch and hated local resident Dennis ensured there was no expense spared and there isn't really any qualms given to skirting the edge of legality as the family often do. Of course, the situation gets out of hand when you include ample drug use and sexual debauchery, and eventually it ends in murder. With an original and captivating mystery, plenty of distinctive characters, a well-written plot, and twists, turns and misdirection aplenty, there is more than enough to sink your teeth into here. A recommended read.
Profile Image for Betsy.
999 reviews145 followers
September 6, 2021
Did not particularly like either Clayton or Julie. Just a flat story, and it was nearly impossible for me to believe that Suzanna would narc on HER son willingly plus his father. In the end she lost or was soon to lose EVERYTHING but her daughter. Perhaps she had that courage, but I just couldn't buy it.
18 reviews
September 16, 2021
Disappointing read!

Had high hopes for this book and author, but "gripping" mystery, this was NOT! Dragged on and too much mindless detail. Also, enough with the social stereotypes of everyone!
Profile Image for Alyson Read.
866 reviews34 followers
August 28, 2021
This is book number 4 in a series set in the beautiful county of Norfolk. It features DI Sam Clayton, a plain speaking detective who started out in the Lancashire constabulary and has risen up through the ranks to become a DI in Norwich. He is assisted by DS Julie Everett, who came to the team from working in child protection in Ipswich. Sam is divorced from wife Claire, while Julie has also split up from her partner and now raises her son alone. They make a great team. Iverson Hall, a Georgian manor house in the village of Tideburgh in Norfolk owned by Dennis Iversen, is in increasing danger of being washed into the sea by coastal erosion. Unable to sell it he now lives in Norwich and rents it out as a party house, much to the disgust of the narrow-minded locals. The story opens on the night he is holding a 25th birthday party for his son Rupert where 24 guests join him in fancy dress as The Court of the Sun King, with Rupert himself dressed as Louis XIV. The next morning Rupert is found dead, still in costume and floating face down in the swimming pool. DI Sam Clayton and DS Julie Everett from the Anglian Constabulary based in Wymondham are despatched to investigate. The death looks suspicious. Could a partygoer or an intruder be involved? The post mortem shows they are dealing with a case of murder, and working under DCI Bligh together with DC Dave Bullard, the team embarks on an investigation involving a large number of suspects, no motive, a missing murder weapon and a mountain of forensic evidence to check. Then another body turns up, this time on Tidebrugh beach. Is there a connection? Surely two deaths close together in such a small place can’t be coincidence?
This is a great solid and engrossing police procedural involving a dogged search for the truth, with loads of false leads and red herrings. It works fine as a standalone as very little previous history for the main characters is involved that isn’t very adequately explained. All in all, it’s a very entertaining and well written story, and an excellent addition to the series. 5*
Profile Image for Amanda.
2,026 reviews47 followers
August 30, 2021
I have been a fan of Anne’s work for a little while now. In fact I have been a fan of her work ever since I had the good fortune to pick up the first book in the series featuring Detective Inspector Sam Clayton, which is called ‘Murder On The Marsh’. I have read the other two books in the series and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. So when I heard that Anne was due to release another book in the series called ‘Murder At The Manor’, I knew that I had to read it as soon as possible. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Murder At The Manor’ but more about that in a bit.
I was drawn into this story from the synopsis and the story within the covers of the book sealed the deal as it were. As soon as I started reading, I felt as though I was back with the gang so to speak. I was intrigued by the story and I had my own theories as to what was going to happen, so I had to keep reading to see if I was on the right track or if I had wandered down the wrong path entirely. The pages of the book turned increasingly quickly as my desperation to find out what happened grew and grew. All too quickly I reached the end of ‘Murder At The Manor’ and I had to say farewell to DI Sam Clayton and the team. I found ‘Murder At The Manor’ to be a gripping read, which kept me guessing and which kept me on the edge of my seat.
‘Murder At The Manor’ is extremely well written. I loved the way in which Anne entices readers into the story right from the very beginning. For me, the story hit the ground running and maintained a fairly fast pace throughout. I love the way in which Anne makes the reader feel as though they are part of the story themselves an at the heart of the action. Reading ‘Murder At The Manor’ felt like being on a bit of a scary and unpredictable rollercoaster ride with several twists and turns along the way.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Murder At The Manor’ and I would recommend it to other readers. I will certainly be reading more of Anne’s work in the future. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
Profile Image for Julie.
2,109 reviews30 followers
September 9, 2021
4.5 Stars

Midsomer Murders fans will find themselves completely captivated by Anne Penketh’s latest DI Sam Clayton novel, Murder at the Manor. Packed with red herrings, twists and turns and shocking surprises, fans of British-set mysteries are going to love this book.

Rupert Iverson is about to turn twenty-five and he is planning to mark the occasion by hosting a fabulous party at his father’s North Norfolk manor house. Rupert is pulling out all the stops to ensure that his guests will have a night they will never forget and a party that will be the talk of the county. Rupert certainly achieves this goal – only his twenty-fifth is going to be remembered for all the wrong reasons! Rupert’s body is fished out of the pool after he drowns while wearing his Louis XIV costume. Was it an accident? An unavoidable tragedy? Or cold-blooded murder?

Many of his party guests had their own reasons for wanting Rupert dead – as do most of the villagers. With such a huge list of suspects, Detectives Sam Clayton and Julie Everett have got quite a challenge on their hands as they find themselves in a race against time trying to find out who murdered Rupert. However, when one of the villagers is found dead at the bottom of a cliff, the two detectives realise that they cannot afford to lose any more time because who knows who is next in the killer’s sights!

Can the detectives get to the bottom of this mystery? Or will they let a dangerous killer get away with multiple murders?

Crime fiction fans need to add Anne Penketh to their auto-buy list. Murder at the Manor is a brilliantly written and cleverly plotted crime thriller I simply couldn’t read fast enough and which kept me entertained and engrossed from beginning to end.

Witty, tense, absorbing and full of brilliant characters that come to life from the moment they appear on the page, Anne Penketh’s Murder at the Manor is a terrific crime novel readers who enjoy Elly Griffiths and Ann Granger will not to want to miss.
Profile Image for John Derek.
751 reviews26 followers
April 8, 2023
My Review📖🖋
Murder At The Manor by Anne Penketh
Has a village feud led to murder? Or is the killer closer to home?
Rupert Iverson is found dead in a swimming pool of his North Norfolk manor house dressed as Louis XIV. He was hit over the head with a blunt object and held under the water.
More than one of the twenty-four guests has a motive, as do several local villagers who have been feuding with Rupert’s father. Then one of the villagers is discovered on the beach.
Detectives Sam Clayton and Julie Everett are called in to investigate. Can Clayton and Everett uncover a connection, or will a third body turn up?
Murder At The Manor, is the fourth book in the DI Sam Clayton Norfolk Murder Mysteries series.
An interesting theme for a murder inquiry is a fancy-dress party. Not exactly unique, but at least it was a little different from the norm.
This is the first in the series that I have read. Although it can be read as a stand-alone novel, I wish I had read the previous books to get more background information on the main characters.
The main protagonists, DI Sam Clayton and DS Julie Everett were quite realistic. But they both seemed to be going about things in a mundane police procedural way.
Seeming to lack any inventiveness, I found the main storyline soon became a little clichéd. The finding of someone battered and drowned in a pool after a party, red herrings, and misdirection felt a bit old news, a touch cliched.
I loved the idea of the North Norfolk settings, and the dialogue was realistic. The author has done her research well and crafted a decent murder mystery. It covers many current issues which will probably please the PC (politically correct, not police constabulary) brigade.
Murder At The Manor is a fairly decent murder mystery, and as police procedural novels go, not that bad at all.
Profile Image for Kim.
909 reviews9 followers
August 23, 2021
The story opens with DI Sam Clayton and DS Julie Everett tasked to solve a suspicious death in Tideburgh.

There was birthday party for 24 of Rupert Iverson’s closest friends at the family’s Georgian Manor known as Iverson Hall. Hosted and paid for by Rupert’s father, Dennis Iverson, sex drugs all sorts of debauchery reign supreme among the guests and all are partaking of one or the other. The party is a parallel narrative from the court of Versailles during the time of the Sun King, Louis XIV. The players are jumbled around with this gent playing the roll of that lady and vice versa. It is all a bit bizarre but extremely creative if you are able to follow along.

There is so much about to go wrong, not the least of which is Rupert’s murder. Then there is the villager’s supposition that is may well have been a homophobic attack? After all this man is playing the role of a woman but is in fact the lover of another man who is partnered with a different man altogether. Plus the villagers absolutely despise Dennis Iverson who they perceive as the responsible party for allowing houses close to the cliffs to fall into the sea without a chance of being saved or finding compensation for the owner’s losses. There is so much Clayton and Everett need to untangle.

This is a good British police procedural with strong characters, a crafty murder, and a nod to social, class and local politics issues which inevitably cause divisiveness and conflict. Thank you NetGalley and Joffe Books for a copy.
Profile Image for loopyloulaura.
859 reviews15 followers
December 25, 2021
Birthday boy Rupert Iverson is found dead in the swimming pool after his lavish party. The police assume a party guest is responsible but the victim's father insists that local politics provides an alternative motive. This seems more likely as another body is discovered on the beach...
Murder at the Manor is the fourth book to feature Sam Clayton and his police team. I have read and reviewed the third book in the series: Play Dead. Each works well as a stand alone novel as there are no spoilers about events in previous books.
DI Sam Clayton takes a step back for the majority of this book which allows his colleague Julie Everett to take centre stage. Her personal life as well as her professional side in the investigation are described and developed over the course of the book.
There is little violence or graphic forensic detail included despite the seriousness of the crime. I enjoyed the dynamics and authentic banter between the police characters which make them seem more human and relatable.
The initial focus is on the intricate romantic background to the victim and his party guests before moving onto the wider local community. The police need to be systematic and thorough to sort through relevant information which lead to twists and turns in the plot.
Murder at the Manor is an enjoyable police procedural. Although I did miss Sam's prominence in the investigation, I enjoyed getting to know Julie in greter depth.
Profile Image for Kirsty (BookBlogger).
1,170 reviews30 followers
August 20, 2021
Murder at the Manor - Anne Penketh

I received an advance review copy for free thanks to NetGalley and Joffe Books and I am leaving this review voluntarily

Has a village feud led to murder? Or is the killer closer to home?

Rupert Iverson is found dead in the swimming pool of his North Norfolk manor house, dressed as Louis XIV.

He was hit over the head with a blunt object and held under the water.

More than one of the twenty-four guests has motive — as do several of the local villagers, who have been feud¬ing with Rupert’s father.

This book starts out full of promise with a murder at a party. The story seems to drift off at a tangent in the middle into an unrelated investigation. When it is finally brought back on track it is difficult to see why the story just stay on the same plot.

This is my introduction to this series, even though this is book four, so the issues I faced could be down to my lack of familiarity with the author and characters.

Overall it is an easy plot, relatively easy to follow and comes to a satisfying ending.

Rating 3/5
Profile Image for Marion.
350 reviews3 followers
August 29, 2021
Rupert Iverson is celebrating his birthday at Iverson Hall by holding a costume party for 24 guests.
The theme is Louis XIV, the sun king, and his court at Versailles
The morning after finds Rupert face down in the swimming pool, dead, still in costume. He had been hit over the head with a blunt object then held down under the water.
DI Sam Clayton and DS Julie Everett are given the case as it is instantly a murder investigation.
When another body,that of a neighbour Iris Haggett is discovered on the beach below the cliffs they start to look for links between the two deaths.
Iris was involved in a dispute with Ruperts father, Dennis, over her home and the coastal erosion effecting it.
There is lots going on in this mystery and plenty of possible suspects amongst Ruperts guests and local villagers.
Can Clayton and Everett sift through the lies and deceptions to uncover the truth?
I really enjoyed it.
Thanks to Joffe Books for sending me the advance review copy in return for my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Books 'n' All  Promotions.
809 reviews36 followers
September 1, 2021
This is book 4 in the Sam Clayton series but it does work perfectly as stand-alone.

It is Rupert's 25th birthday party and the fancy dress party is going well. A good time is being had by all. His girlfriend Cathy wakes up alone and goes in search of Rupert, what she isn't expecting is to find his body in the pool. There are plenty of suspects among the partygoers but none with a motive after all these were invited by Rupert, his friends, or are they?

As Sam and Julie start to investigate they find they have their work cut out. Everyone seems to know more than they are saying and it soon becomes clear that many secrets are being kept well hidden.

As well as the case we learn more about the personal lives of Sam and his colleague Julie which humanises the characters.

This is a very enjoyable read with enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested and other cases are thrown into the mix to keep the intrigue building and the adrenaline pumping.

I highly recommend this to all readers of crime fiction.
140 reviews1 follower
October 31, 2021
A lady page turner.

Further adventures of Sam and Julie which see Julie coping with her emotional demons and accepting she is ready to pursue greater responsibilities.
Sam is a slightly more mellow character in this fourth adventure. Both are dedicated officers who become embroiled in another murder which seems to stagger around with a lack of clues and purpose.
This is all set against the backdrop of the fate of some of the Norfolk coastline. Well described, scarily real and linked to our on going fears and realities linked to climate change and its outcomes.
I have enjoyed all four titles in this series. The crimes have been well plotted, the characters have been developed gradually. The books are free of gratuitous behaviour and language, which , for me, is always a bonus.
This title has kept me glued from start to finish. Always a convincing reason for 5🌟's.

199 reviews1 follower
November 3, 2021
I certainly wouldn’t describe this book as having "a killer twist" as the blurb does. For me the guilty party was obvious from very early on. The only potential for surprise was the reason behind the reason.

I was thinking that I am still waiting for the team to gel; the partnership isn’t intuitive but then I thought again. It occurred to me that this is probably more congruent. The team work together well enough but they are not good friends and don’t seem to socialise outside of work. I suspect that is more the reality for most work colleagues and the police are no exception.

Whilst I didn’t sit down and read this from cover to cover in one sitting, it was a decent read and I would read more.
Profile Image for Booklover BEV.
1,363 reviews14 followers
August 20, 2021
Iverson Hall village of Tideburgh in Norfolk its Rupert Iverson's fancy dress birthday party for twenty four guests the theme is louis XIV sun king, and the next morning Rupert is found dead in the swimming pool.
D.I.Sam Clayton and D.S. Julie Everett are sent straight over its a murder investigation, with another body of Iris Haggett on the beach who had a dispute over her home with Dennis Iverson are they both linked?
Wow so much happening and unfolding as you read this book. so many Suspects, I loved the story and gives you such a kick so many changes happen throughout, I just loved it, it's brilliant .
Profile Image for Carol.
216 reviews2 followers
August 19, 2021
An interesting psychological murder mystery set in Norfolk, incorporating real life issues. Namely the decline of the large country manor and having to hire the manor out for parties much to the annoyance of the neighbours.
Coastal erosion and the risk of properties falling into the sea and residents whose property is at risk not wanting to leave and a fancy dress party based on Versailles a historical drama series on television.
There is lots of content, intrigue and red herrings which kept me guessing. An intelligent read which stayed with me.
737 reviews
August 20, 2021
Murder at the Manor is the 4th book in the DI Sam Clayton series. Although it would be helpful to read the back story on the characters in the earlier entries, this really does work as a standalone book. There’s a good plot featuring a fancy dress party based on the court of Louis XIV, with meaning attached to who should wear the costume of the characters. The party ends in murder and the police are left to dig past the lies and secrets to discover the murderer. There is also some interesting commentary about eroding coastlines, and how that impacts people.
Profile Image for Susan.
5,644 reviews53 followers
August 23, 2021
DI Sam Clayton and his team investigate when the body of Rupert Iverson is discovered at Iverson Hall after his 25th fancy dress birthday party. Is the motive connected to him or his family. But soon there is another body discovered in the same village, is there a link between the two bodies. Will the answer be found before another body is found.
An entertaining and well-written crime story with some likeable characters.
An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
688 reviews6 followers
August 26, 2021
Overall 4.5*
When the local manor house's son is murdered after his 25th birthday party, all eyes turn to the guests and then his family however there is more to this that at first appears. We are also told about his father's involvement concerning coastal erosion along with his construction business, so was his son the target or a pawn in a dangerous game?
Great story which reads well at a good pace. Lots of twists and turns especially near the end. I didn't guess what was going on nor the murderer which is always a good sign.
Thanks to Joffe books for the ARC to review.
Profile Image for Jan.
4,932 reviews57 followers
September 2, 2021
No lack of suspects or motives! A costumed 25th birthday party for the youngest son of a construction contractor is held in dad's unsalable country house turned party house. The son had more than one enemy, but dad was seriously disliked by everyone along the eroding coastline. The son is found face down in the swimming pool but the post mortem proves a different form of murder. Enter the investigation team, shortly followed by another death. Great read that easily stands alone.
I requested and received a free temporary ebook from Joffe Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
14 reviews
January 14, 2022
This was a good easy read novel that kept me changing my mind. Characters are well defined and I warmed to them quickly. The pace of the novel was just right for a quick read. I needed something that could be read with ease but would stop my mind from drifting. I was able to relax and enjoy the novel with out other worries distracting my focus. The story line and plot were very good at holding my attention.
521 reviews7 followers
August 21, 2021
This is a cosy murder mystery, part of a series but can be read as a standalone and so easy to read. There is lots of content along with so many suspects but, like a jigsaw it all comes together at the end.
A really good read. Thanks to the author and Joffe Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
Profile Image for Rhane.
396 reviews1 follower
September 3, 2021
This book reads like a soap opera

The story of the death of Rupert Iverson spotlights the dark side of cozy village life exposing bigotry, clannish behaviors, jealousy and desperation. Nobody is spared from the injuries of life. Every character is dealing with personal challenges that they overcome to live their daily lives.
188 reviews1 follower
September 18, 2021
DNF at 33% on my Kindle. It is gripping story in a way that it started to suffocate me and I just had to stop. Cookie cutter characters, social stereotypes with (sort of) progressive overtones and unlikable main protagonists deduced all the stars. Sorry too many books and to little time to waste it on this!
1,398 reviews8 followers
October 13, 2021
Cliffs falling into the sea and a wild fun party at the mansion is the start of the murder mystery. Who killed the party birthday boy? The venue sounds fabulous and the party goers are dressed in period wear. The story was interesting. The twist at the end was a big one. Sure didn't see it coming. I liked the book.
218 reviews1 follower
November 25, 2021
Rupert is celebrating his 25th birthday with a fancy dress party at the manor his father owns next morning he is found dead in the pool many of the guest didn't like him or his father so who killed him then an elderly villager is found dead at the bottom of a cliff --are the two deaths connected or not???
209 reviews3 followers
August 18, 2021
MURDER AT THE MANOR presents an inexplicable, horrific discovery. Secrets and lies complicate the mystery. A grim, tragic incident confuses the situation further. This conundrum will zig-zag your mind into bewilderment, unable to guess who or why.

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