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The Gentle Art of Murder

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One late-summer's evening, before the beginning of the new term, Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, are guests at Sherebury University art department's drinks party to introduce the new teaching assistant, sculptress Gillian Roberts. However, tragedy strikes on a tour of the sculpture department, when the lift breaks down and a corpse is One late-summer's evening, before the beginning of the new term, Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, are guests at Sherebury University art department's drinks party to introduce the new teaching assistant, sculptress Gillian Roberts. However, tragedy strikes on a tour of the sculpture department, when the lift breaks down and a corpse is discovered at the bottom of the lift shaft. Dorothy and Alan become involved in the ensuing investigation, putting their local knowledge and sleuthing skills to good use once again.


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One late-summer's evening, before the beginning of the new term, Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, are guests at Sherebury University art department's drinks party to introduce the new teaching assistant, sculptress Gillian Roberts. However, tragedy strikes on a tour of the sculpture department, when the lift breaks down and a corpse is One late-summer's evening, before the beginning of the new term, Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired police detective Alan Nesbitt, are guests at Sherebury University art department's drinks party to introduce the new teaching assistant, sculptress Gillian Roberts. However, tragedy strikes on a tour of the sculpture department, when the lift breaks down and a corpse is discovered at the bottom of the lift shaft. Dorothy and Alan become involved in the ensuing investigation, putting their local knowledge and sleuthing skills to good use once again.

30 review for The Gentle Art of Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine

    Sherebury, England. Present day. Jeanne M Dams’ The Gentle Art of Murder (Dorothy Martin, #16) finds ex-pat Dorothy Martin and her British husband, retired police detective, Alan Nesbitt checking into crimes, even a possible murder, at their hometown Sherebury University art department. Enter: corpse located “at the bottom of lift shaft.” Dorothy and Alan employ their ‘sleuthing skills’ and their hometown knowledge to assist the local law officials as the crimes continue tied only to the art dep Sherebury, England. Present day. Jeanne M Dams’ The Gentle Art of Murder (Dorothy Martin, #16) finds ex-pat Dorothy Martin and her British husband, retired police detective, Alan Nesbitt checking into crimes, even a possible murder, at their hometown Sherebury University art department. Enter: corpse located “at the bottom of lift shaft.” Dorothy and Alan employ their ‘sleuthing skills’ and their hometown knowledge to assist the local law officials as the crimes continue tied only to the art department. I felt that this mystery is solved with much discussion, personal viewpoints versus actual investigation. It seemed tedious to me. There is one part where Dorothy gets sick with flu-type symptoms, and this part served no purpose to me regarding solving this local mystery unless I completely missed the point which I do not believe I did. It reminded me when my teacher would write ‘rambling’ or ‘unnecessary’ on my paper. I do enjoy this series, but this was, obviously, not a favorite of mine. 3.5 stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    One of my favorite series. The only thing stopping me from giving 5 stars is the rather hurried conclusion of the book with an inadequate (to me) explanation of how a certain event came about. I actually went back to re-read the last three pages in the back just in case I'd missed it. Here's to #17! One of my favorite series. The only thing stopping me from giving 5 stars is the rather hurried conclusion of the book with an inadequate (to me) explanation of how a certain event came about. I actually went back to re-read the last three pages in the back just in case I'd missed it. Here's to #17!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    The Gentle Art of Murder by Jeanne M. Dams. There's a party at the Sherebury University in the Art Dept. to which Dorothy and Alan have been invited. Gillian Roberts is being introduced as the new teaching assistant in the sculpting dept. Dorothy soon finds that all is not a bed of roses in the university due to some ill feelings towards John Chandler Dept. head. It seems there are going to be major cut backs that will put difficult limits on all the art depts. During a tour Dorothy finds herself The Gentle Art of Murder by Jeanne M. Dams. There's a party at the Sherebury University in the Art Dept. to which Dorothy and Alan have been invited. Gillian Roberts is being introduced as the new teaching assistant in the sculpting dept. Dorothy soon finds that all is not a bed of roses in the university due to some ill feelings towards John Chandler Dept. head. It seems there are going to be major cut backs that will put difficult limits on all the art depts. During a tour Dorothy finds herself in an elevator stuck between floors which brings on her claustrophobia almost causing her to panic. Soon, but not soon enough for Dorothy, they are rescued from their enclosure to find a body at the bottom of the elevator shaft. And so Dorothy and Alan ,retired Police chief, find themselves involved in another baffling murder case. An excellent addition to a wonderful series. True to life characters and family life situations.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    There are times when I really enjoy a book in this series but give it 4 stars because I feel the solution comes too suddenly in the end if you know what I mean. I can't say that about The Gentle Art of Murder as the ending was really so logical and the bit in the plot I queried had a rational explanation a couple of pages later. Jeanne always finds slightly different settings for her tales although nearly always set in or around the same geographical area but her explanations and descriptions bri There are times when I really enjoy a book in this series but give it 4 stars because I feel the solution comes too suddenly in the end if you know what I mean. I can't say that about The Gentle Art of Murder as the ending was really so logical and the bit in the plot I queried had a rational explanation a couple of pages later. Jeanne always finds slightly different settings for her tales although nearly always set in or around the same geographical area but her explanations and descriptions bring everything to life so well that you don't get tired of the similarities which are there. Her backgrounds are always relevant and integral to the story and the time she spends in research of so many different subjects is obvious. This book is set in an artistic background where resources have been cut to the bone and the head of faculty is found dead at the bottom of a lift shaft. There are reasons why anyone of the current not to mention former staff could have been to blame since he was obnoxious to everyone he dealt with. An added mystery is the time of death as it indicates that he had been missing for several weeks first. All is not as it seems however.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Gooding

    Fun story line. A bit dry, but it was a good English mystery

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    I love the Dorothy Martin mysteries! This read did not disappoint!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mayda

    Like any business, universities must make money to survive, and departments that bring in the most money are favored above those which don’t. Even worse are departments that themselves need money to maintain their standards. Such is the case in the art department at Sherebury University. Declaring that funding to some of the programs would be cut and suggesting that they make do with inferior supplies did not win any accolades for the department head. But still, a new person was added to the sta Like any business, universities must make money to survive, and departments that bring in the most money are favored above those which don’t. Even worse are departments that themselves need money to maintain their standards. Such is the case in the art department at Sherebury University. Declaring that funding to some of the programs would be cut and suggesting that they make do with inferior supplies did not win any accolades for the department head. But still, a new person was added to the staff. As guests at a party to welcome this new member, Dorothy and her husband Alan find more than nibbles and drinks at the affair: a body is discovered at the bottom of the lift shaft. Off on another sleuthing adventure, this one is full of twists and turns along the way before things are finally sorted out. With the delightful characters we have come to know and love in this series, this mystery is highly entertaining, even if a few ends are left dangling. Suffice it so say that truth will out and crime does not pay.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

    Not very good at all, in my opinion. A poor person's Agatha Christie. As well as suffering from lacklustre plotting, dull characterisation and plodding prose, I have difficulty with writing that can't get even clichés correct: 'just deserts' instead of 'just desserts'. Wouldn't bother with it or anything else by this author. Not very good at all, in my opinion. A poor person's Agatha Christie. As well as suffering from lacklustre plotting, dull characterisation and plodding prose, I have difficulty with writing that can't get even clichés correct: 'just deserts' instead of 'just desserts'. Wouldn't bother with it or anything else by this author.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    I have enjoyed her other mysteries much more. The author left holes in the conclusion of the mystery. She never explains how a certain event could have happened.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dianne Hoerter

    I really enjoyed this book, but I missed who attacked Braithwaite.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anam Cara

    I love reading anything by Jeanne Dams and this book was no exception. It is so hard to put them aside when life tells me I must preform some of my obligatory tasks. And as usual, there is wonderful prose that I don't want to forget. This time Dorothy and Alan are there when the body of the head of the fine arts department at a college is found at the bottom of an elevator shaft. As he was slashing the budgets of each department, he was VERY unpopular and there are any number of people who might w I love reading anything by Jeanne Dams and this book was no exception. It is so hard to put them aside when life tells me I must preform some of my obligatory tasks. And as usual, there is wonderful prose that I don't want to forget. This time Dorothy and Alan are there when the body of the head of the fine arts department at a college is found at the bottom of an elevator shaft. As he was slashing the budgets of each department, he was VERY unpopular and there are any number of people who might want to murder him. They take under their wing a TA who is in danger and shortly after another instructor disappears. Fortunately, they have contacts in many various areas who are able to help them shed light on parts of the puzzle. There is only one problem with the story and I don't want to give away any spoilers. But one of the attacks on people in the book is never fully explained. I can speculate, but can't know for certain. That being said, another winner of a book. At some point I need to make a list of all Ms. Dams's Dorothy Martin Mysteries and check off what I have read and what I haven't as I need to find all the rest. Two passages from this book that I found worth recording as I believe them but could never state so beautifully: There is no music at the early Eucharist. I love our superb choir, but there are times of simple solemnity of the lovely old Book of Common Prayer is exactly what I need. Then, too, there is profound peace in a place where God has been worshipped for centuries. Whatever cares and woes have been brought to this place in the past hundreds of years are cured now, their sufferers at rest in the church yard, or in heaven, depending on one’s beliefs. Certainly they are in distress no more. The short years of a human lifetime are as nothing compared to the enduring stones of the great church. ~ p. 72 Aeons ago when I was in high school, I read an assigned book of which I remember almost nothing.One thing stuck with me though. The author mused about the nature of time, and its lack of consistency. It flows at different rates, depending upon the circumstances. The approach of something dreaded makes the clock whirl. Awaiting something desired slows times to a near stop. When one is bored the day passes endlessly, but a week of boring days is gone in the blink of an eye. ~ p. 187

  12. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    Mystery upon mystery in this cozy series. Jeanne M. Dams makes her villains villainous and her sleuths likeable. Hats off to her for not taking pot shots at religion, which is always so easy to do in this day and age. Dorothy Martin, as always, finds respite in the Cathedral and pleasure in things ancient. This story centres on the local university where a baffling death disrupts the functioning at the college for art. This series is not always believable...what police force in the world would t Mystery upon mystery in this cozy series. Jeanne M. Dams makes her villains villainous and her sleuths likeable. Hats off to her for not taking pot shots at religion, which is always so easy to do in this day and age. Dorothy Martin, as always, finds respite in the Cathedral and pleasure in things ancient. This story centres on the local university where a baffling death disrupts the functioning at the college for art. This series is not always believable...what police force in the world would tolerate help from a former police superintendent, let alone his unlicensed amateur sleuth of a wife? I don't care. These books are an escape.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Dorothy Martin and her husband are invited to a small reception for new teachers at the local art college, and are present when a dead body is found. The police have trouble determining how the man died. He had so many enemies it doesn't seem plausible that he died of natural causes; besides, there's a tool sticking out of his back. The really odd thing is that he seems to have been in Greece during the time he was being murdered, if murder it was, in England. The totally bewildering stunt that Dorothy Martin and her husband are invited to a small reception for new teachers at the local art college, and are present when a dead body is found. The police have trouble determining how the man died. He had so many enemies it doesn't seem plausible that he died of natural causes; besides, there's a tool sticking out of his back. The really odd thing is that he seems to have been in Greece during the time he was being murdered, if murder it was, in England. The totally bewildering stunt that has both police and amateurs stumped didn't seem too obscure to me, nor did the ending satisfy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Although I'm obviously jumping in to a familiar series, it was easy to enjoy myself among the retired school teacher and her ex-cop husband as they enjoy life in an English town. Small details of places and people kept the story grounded, and the pets were cute. It amused me to see the end -- I was smug that I had solved the key mystery ages ago, and then the villain confessed to all as he cracked up. So not a great "mystery" story, but an enjoyable cosy. Although I'm obviously jumping in to a familiar series, it was easy to enjoy myself among the retired school teacher and her ex-cop husband as they enjoy life in an English town. Small details of places and people kept the story grounded, and the pets were cute. It amused me to see the end -- I was smug that I had solved the key mystery ages ago, and then the villain confessed to all as he cracked up. So not a great "mystery" story, but an enjoyable cosy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Millie

    Just when you think you got it...here comes a fork in the road You think, "I know where this is going", then, maybe not. Another fine mess! As usual Alan and Dorothy have lots of clues but no proof! Again, as usual, I learn more about the UK. I can envision the vistas,ancient buildings! And I learned a lot about Fine Art! Where will Dorothy and Allan take me next?? Just when you think you got it...here comes a fork in the road You think, "I know where this is going", then, maybe not. Another fine mess! As usual Alan and Dorothy have lots of clues but no proof! Again, as usual, I learn more about the UK. I can envision the vistas,ancient buildings! And I learned a lot about Fine Art! Where will Dorothy and Allan take me next??

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mae

    Art Wins I have read many of the books about Dorothy, now. Always delightful, interesting stories Nice, clean stories, that may leave you puzzled, but often, you know who you want to be the ‘bad’ guy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marie Shirley Griffin

    Excellent I am so/so fan of this series, so I judge each one individually. This one is quite good. Yes, there are red herrings, which I am not fond of, but what are you going to do?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen Merritt

    Such excellence and elegance once again! The plots continue to twist and turn with each book. The characters are marvelous, and how dearly, how very dearly I would treasure Tea with Jeanne M. Dams. Cheers!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Not one of the better ones. I had a hard time getting into this one and the last one. All the other previous ones were great. The last two not so much. I hope the last few are better.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    An amazing interesting read. I liked the characters, however I was disappointed in the ending.

  21. 5 out of 5

    V Brewster

    Great read Another brilliant story. Full of red herrings. Looking forward to the next book. Would highly recommend Dorothy Martin mystery books.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elainebowden

    Wonderful This book is brilliant,I really enjoyed the story,the characters are so well written, I loved all the red herrings, I didn't guess the murderer. Wonderful This book is brilliant,I really enjoyed the story,the characters are so well written, I loved all the red herrings, I didn't guess the murderer.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Why did the author give an incomplete ending? Who attacked the person who turned out to be most involved in the story action?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lee Wilkinson

    The usual clever story and intresting crooked characters! I am ready to see the next ones!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kasturi Vaska

    It was a bit rambling initially but became interesting in the later chapters !

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eileen A Johns

    A High Five! Once again a book that I couldn't put down. I love reading an "English" story. A way to travel without a ticket. A peek into the lives of the British world. A High Five! Once again a book that I couldn't put down. I love reading an "English" story. A way to travel without a ticket. A peek into the lives of the British world.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carole

    Loved this one. So enjoying this series of books. Love the depth of the characters, old and new.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mate Beth

    I hope she is a prolific writer. I have read all up to this one and will finish whatever of the series she publishes. She has created a character who is clever, endearing and often frustrating to me as a reader. But above all, enjoyable.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Van Court

    Not really many twists It was slow, but fair, until the end. I'm not a fan of mysteries that rely on confession to reach the conclusion. And the plot line about budget shortfalls just sort of evaporated. The writing was good, but the story was about half baked. Not really many twists It was slow, but fair, until the end. I'm not a fan of mysteries that rely on confession to reach the conclusion. And the plot line about budget shortfalls just sort of evaporated. The writing was good, but the story was about half baked.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Janet Phillips

    Colorful intrigue Alan and Dorothy are aligned in more than one murder. The conditions are no where near optimum to solve either of them. Follow the crumbs as they are dropped to a surprising conclusion.

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