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Summary

Canon Daniel Clement is rector of Champton. He has been there for eight years, living at the rectory alongside his widowed mother—opinionated, fearless, ever-so-slightly annoying Audrey—and his two dachshunds, Cosmo and Hilda.

When Daniel announces a plan to install a lavatory in church, the parish is suddenly (and unexpectedly) divided: as lines are drawn in the community, long-buried secrets come dangerously close to destroying the apparent calm of Champton. 

And then Anthony Bowness—cousin to Bernard de Floures, patron of Champton—is found dead at the back of the church, stabbed in the neck with a pair of secateurs.

As the police moves in and the bodies start piling up, Daniel Clement is the only one who can try and keep his fractured community together...and catch a killer.

©2022 Richard Coles (P)2022 Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Critic reviews

"I've been waiting for a novel with vicars, rude old ladies, murder and sausage dogs...et voila!" (Dawn French)

"Whodunnit fans can give praise and rejoice." (Ian Rankin)

"A warm funny joy from start to finish." (Sarah Millican)

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What listeners say about Murder Before Evensong

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An enjoyable listen!

This story was beautifully narrated by the author and I heard it in one sitting! The story comes together finally and the quirks and words of the Anglican Church are necessary, but ladled on too thickly. There is need for a cast of thousands, but the first third is introducing us to the people and they are not formed enough to make them stick. HOWEVER, when things get going, things move forward a pace and are much more enjoyable, but beware of the body count! Presumably in the next book Daniel may have a larger flock to shepherd. Looking forward to it already

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The book holds one’s interest

I liked this whodunnit enough to listen to it to the end. I particularly like the central character, Daniel and am interested to read more if we get a second book. But I am sorry that Richard Coles read this himself even though he and his voice are so well known and liked. I feel a skilled actor could have brought more life and differentiation to the other characters.
I found the references to the spiritual and pastoral care practice of the rector and the ritual and practice of the Anglican Church interesting and absorbing. I know very little about the Anglican Church, although I am a member of the Christian Community. This gave me a little, living picture.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I wanted to love this book,

I was looking forward to this book, and wanted so much to love it. Rev Richard Coles read it well, as expected.
The first few chapters introduced a host of characters, which became confusing at times. I ended up listening to the chapters a few times to try and work out who was who. As the book went on the characters didn't really develop and apart from Cosmo, Hilda and Audrey I didn't really care much who was murdered or who did it.
Lots of in-depth descriptions about the dynamics of the church, which was interesting to a point. The crime and detection side of the book was thin on description.
I was hoping for more, and did listen to the end, but wont be preordering the next book.


5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Lovely idea for a story

I returned the book about half way through. Rev. Coles should have allowed an actor to narrate as his voice is so monotonous and soporific, I kept zoning out. The plot is full of so many characters that I lost the plot, literally. A pity because I was rooting for the book to be enjoyable.

4 people found this helpful

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Boring story about nothing

I don’t normally write reviews but I feel I have to warn you not to waste a credit on this. This story could have been over and done with in once chapter. I listened right until the end because I kept expecting it to improve but sadly it didn’t. Lots of unnecessary tales and stories also get in the way about characters who had nothing to do with the story. Nothing like the Thursday murder club as suggested.

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointing Narration

The book was nice however I think authors shouldn’t always narrate their own books. The Reverend Coles has a great speaking voice but is perhaps better suited to preaching sermons.
Otherwise an enjoyable murder mystery.

3 people found this helpful

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A solid cozy mystery from Reverend Coles

To be honest I wasn't sure what to expect, I am not religious but have great respect for Reverend Coles and have enjoyed listening to him in interviews and on QI. This was very enjoyable it wasn't boring and there was some bad language that was very much appreciated! I did get a bit lost a couple of times about what year this was set in there were references that surprised me... Coles narration was very good but I think his next book will be better with more practice of voices. Although Nathaniel Parker would be wonderful as the narrator, I love him on the Bunburry series. The story was obviously very religious but the knowledge and understanding of this world is very impressive. At one point it felt like I was listening to a documentary. I look forward to seeing what Rev Coles next book will be.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A better curate’s egg

This made me think - mainly about my own mortality, how we perceive memory and how the eighties would have hated to be seen as such simpler times. Characters were well developed without any fuss or faff and I loved the slow, steady progress of the story.
Narration was just right - and I had been worried about that - but the denouement was rather sudden.
Very much looking forward to Volume 2.

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable and informative

I learned a huge amount about C of E liturgy, clergy and church architecture and met a set of interesting characters including the Rector himself, his Mum, various parishioners and his dogs ... I enjoyed this Audiobook but couldn't help wishing that the author had not narrated it himself - I think a "professional" would have given the text more animation and emphasised the jokes and comical sections a little more ...

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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I so wanted to like this

I wanted to love this as it had all the hallmarks of a great murder mystery, but sadly I just couldn’t finish it. The characters are unlikeable, the plot is extremely thin and while I appreciate that it’s written by a Vicar the huge amount of Bible verse is jarring and dull. There’s so little going on that I felt I was waiting for the story to start long past the half way point, I didn’t finish it as I couldn’t care enough and I’ll be returning it.

1 person found this helpful