4 stars out of 5
This book is my introduction to Scottish barrister Rex Graves. In fact, I was surprised to learn after I'd finished that it's something like the ninth book in the series. That said, it stands alone well; yes, I might have gained a few insights by reading previous editions, but at no time did I feel disadvantaged.
Also after the fact, I also noticed the words "cozy mystery" in the description of the series - and that doesn't surprise me. This book, and I assume all the others, is written in a rather mild-mannered, laid-back style. At several points, I was reminded of the Stuart Woods Stone Barrington series; no matter what happens, nobody gets terribly excited about it (that's an observation, not a criticism, by the way).
The book begins as the esteemed Rex learns that a former judge, Lord Gordon Murgatroyd, has died. Known as "Judge Murder" because of his severity on the bench, he's not missed by many - but along the way he did, for some reason, befriend Rex. Because of that (and perhaps a because of a personal interest in the presumably unattached Rex), the judge's daughter Phoebe calls him in when she suspects her father's death was anything but natural.
Rex complies with her request, but he's not totally convinced that the judge was murdered (and, since he's engaged to the woman he loves, he's less than thrilled to think Phoebe has set her romantic sights on him). But then he's attacked by a suspect with whom he agreed to meet, and he and his very proper but likable friend Alistair decide to investigate further. Besides that, a young girl has been abducted - perhaps tied to an earlier murder of another abducted girl. Are the cases related? Rex looks into the possibility, putting his own life on the line in the process.
It all comes together in the end, of course, making for a rather fun, easy read. Many thanks to the author and publisher, via NetGalley, for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Judgment of Murder by C.S. Challinor (Midnight Ink, November 2016); 216 pp.