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Death Shall Come: A country house murder…

Death Shall Come: A country house murder mystery (An Ishmael Jones Mystery… (edition 2017)

by Simon R. Green (Author)

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273581,718 (3.5)8
Title:Death Shall Come: A country house murder mystery (An Ishmael Jones Mystery Book 4)
Authors:Simon R. Green (Author)
Info:Severn House Digital (2017), Edition: First World Publication, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:urban fantasy, simon r green, 2019 : my reads

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Death Shall Come by Simon R. Green



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Death Shall Come is the fourth entry in the Ishmael Jones mystery series. In books two and three, the super-duper-you-don't-need-to-know-it-exists Organization ('Organization' is its actual name), for whom Jones works sent him on assignments. This one is like book one in that Ishmael's boss, the Colonel, is asking him to help with a mystery that's a family matter -- his wife's family this time.

The current Colonel and Ishmael are both former agents of Black Heir, a government agency that deans with extra-terrestrial aliens. Chloe, the Colonel's wife, still is. The Cardavan family has a security firm attached to Black Heir. They also have one of the largest private collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts. The new acquisition, the mummy of a previously unknown queen, is the problem. The Colonel is wondering if his father-in-law sold Black Heir secrets or tech to afford it. Considering how much it's bothered him that he knows so little about Ishmael Jones, the fact he's having to ask Ishmael for this big favor makes me smile.

Of course Ishmael's energetic partner, the glamorous Penny Belcourt, comes with him. Ishmael's cover story is that he's an expert brought in by his boss to authenticate the mummy. It's boning up time for our hero! To add to the fun, none of the Cardavans, including Chloe, know that the Colonel works for the Organization. They think he's just a civil servant. Well, Chloe has her suspicions....

In book three, Very Important Corpses, the clients insisted on having all electronic security disabled, preferring to rely on body and security guards. George Cardavan, Chloe's father, prefers to rely on electronics. Cardavan House is so remote that it would take a security team an hour to arrive after an alarm goes off. In fact, the place is so secret that we're not even told in what part of the United Kingdom it exists. (No air or boat travel was involved, so I think we may safely rule out Northern Ireland.)

When Ishmael and Penny finally make it to Cardavan House, Ishmael tells us why he doesn't think it's a spiritually healthy place. The family consists of George and his second wife, Marjorie; George's parents, Bernard and Susan, Chloe and Stuart, and Chloe's younger brother and his wife, Nicholas and Caroline. It's only fair to say that Chloe and Nicholas don't approve of their father marrying his pretty blond secretary after their mother died. Bernard has Alzheimer's.. He drifts in and out of lucidity during the book. His Susan is devoted to trying to keep him calm. Bernard is old and his mind is failing, but he's physically strong. You wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of his fists when he gets in one of his rages. It doesn't help that his son is willing to talk about how he had to take over the company because his father was losing money where Bernard can hear him.

The servants put out a cold dinner before they left. The only other outsider in the house is Ancient Egypt expert Professor Samuel Rose, there to catalog the collection. Professor Rose takes exception to having another expert called in, especially one whose name is unknown to him. (I liked the way Ishmael got out of that one.) It didn't help that Ishmael spots two fakes during the tour. Luckily, it was in a section Professor Rose hadn't catalogued yet. Prepare to chuckle at the reason one of the fakes can't be genuine.

An interesting fact about the new mummy is that everyone in the village nearest to where it was found died for no obvious reason. Whatever or whoever killed them starts stalking the persons in Cardavan House. Ishmael doesn't believe in mummy curses. Is there a rational explanation for what's going on?


Chapter 1:

a. Ishmael and the Colonel meet in the Ancient Egyptian rooms of the British Museum.

b. The fact that there were more queens named Cleopatra than one is discussed.

c. Black Heir is brought up as the colonel explains the personal favor he wants from Ishmael.

d. regarding the time Ishmael fought a vampire in a previous book, considering its description, particularly its smell, I'm willing to believe it was a vampire.

Mentions: the British Museum, Egypt, Cleopatra, Mark Anthony, Rome, Ra, ka, Howard Carter, King Tutankhamun [alternate spelling of Tutankhamen]

Chapter 2:

a. Penny has a taste for vintage cars. This one is powder-blue Hillman Super Minx convertible.

b. Ishmael liked the opening sequence to the 1932 film, 'The Mummy'. He also liked the 1959 'The Mummy'.

c. 'Sick Building Syndrome' is a real term: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq

d. The Colonel tells our heroes about Nesmin, the original occupant of a sarcophagus in the entrance hall.

e. We learn the Colonel's real name and his backstory.

f. We meet the Cardavan family and Prof. Rose.

g. Penny wants to know why starships keep crashing on Earth.

h. Nicholas is correct about the Victorians grinding mummies, though apparently more for fertilizer and 'mummy brown' oil paint.

i. We're told the words of the curse that came with George Cardavan's mummy, that the mummy is from the Valley of Sorcerers, how it was found, and what happened to those who found it.

j. The sarcophagus is unlocked and opened.

k. Ishmael spots two fakes.

l. We get some history on the previously unknown first Cleopatra.

Mentions: Hollywood, James Bond, MI6, Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Hammer [Film Productions], Dodge [the city], 'The Addams Family' TV show [1964-1966], Olympic event, Alzheimer's, and the starship Enterprise,

Chapter 3:

a. Ishmael and Chloe spar over Black Heir.

b. Ishmael talks about the last time he was in Egypt.

Mentions: the Marie Celeste, the great pyramid in Giza, and 'Midsomer Murders'

Chapter 4:

a. Ishmael and Penny search the family's and Prof. Rose's rooms.

b. See book one, The Dark Side of the Road, for how Penny's family died.

Mention: Einstein

Chapter 5:

a. Ishmael and Penny discuss the possibility he might have to disappear again someday.

b. The family members were frightened by odd-sounding footsteps.

Chapter 7:

a. Susan talks about Bernard's Alzheimer's.

b. Chloe tries again to find out who Ishmael is.

c. Ishmael and Penny make two interesting discoveries.

Mention: the Egyptian goddess Bast,

Chapter 7:

a. Good thing Marjorie's perfume is so strong.

b. Ishmael is hearing a strange inner alarm he doesn't recognize.

c. Ishmael rehashes Prof, Rose's story about the first Cleopatra and what it might mean.

Chapter 8: The killer asks intriguing questions and makes comments.

Chapter 10:

a. Ishmael thinks up a cover story.

b. Ishmael tells the Colonel what he thinks is the reason so many alien ships come to Earth.

More than a couple of weeks went by between reading this book the first time and deciding to reread it before writing this review because I looked at the cover and couldn't remember what happened at all -- even though we're given a clue about Ishmael's past.

It's still a fun mixed-genre mystery. ( )
  JalenV | Aug 2, 2018 |
Quite a while ago I had read the first book of the author's other series, enjoyed it very much, and somehow never got back into his work. When I saw his name pop up on Netgalley, it seemed like a fine idea to give him a try again – and, thank goodness, it actually was.

The Ishmael Jones series is a slightly mad mélange of genres (say that three times fast). There's a science fiction element, of course, in that Ishmael Jones himself is an alien in human form, with no memory of his previous, extraterrestrial, life. And there is a fantasy element in the circumstances of the murder(s) (though not the fantasy element you might think). Otherwise, regardless of the murder weapon (of which I say no more), this was almost pure English Country House Mystery – locked and unlocked rooms, a dwindling population of characters, endless hallways and staircases and people going off when they oughtn't.

One somewhat small thing that kept this from getting the full five stars was simply a running gag between Ishmael and his lady love, Penny Belcourt. Every now and then she felt an irresistible need to make the same suggestion about the identity of the murderer, to the point that I wanted to throw her down a handy staircase or stuff her in a sarcophagus. I think it was supposed to be cute – that she was playing on Ishmael's tendency to take everything seriously … and this is something that might play much better in an audiobook, where the narrator could make her constant comment 'I still say we shouldn't rule out …' mischievous, with Jones not picking up on the mischief … but I didn't listen to an audiobook, and it drove me up a wall. Along with Jones.

I looked at her. ‘If I offered you a large amount of money, would you stop saying that?’
‘How large?’ said Penny.

It's a fascinating bit of world-building, with a group to clean up after starship crashes, secret even to the secret group Ishmael belongs to. Ishmael seems thoroughly human … except when he's really not. I'm looking forward to going back and starting at the beginning.

The usual disclaimer: I received this book via Netgalley for review. ( )
  Stewartry | Mar 18, 2018 |
As much as I liked this series did I feel that this one did not reach the same level as the previous three books. Honestly, it is starting to feel a bit repeating reading the books, which isn't all that bad since the whole mystery in a house far from everyone is entertaining. But, the problem is when I read this book did it feel like I have already read this story, just with a different kind of setting and motive for the killing. But, all the people felt like ones I read about before, just different names, no point in getting attached since few of them will probably survive. This time is it the Colonel's family that is getting into the problem. Well, the new Colonel since the previous one died in the first book. This could be why it felt so familiar since Ishmael was invited to the Colonels family in the first book as well because of some danger threatening the family,

However, there are things I liked about the book, like Penny's love for mummy movies (I love the Mummy movies with Brendan Fraser too) and her comments about shuffling footsteps in the corridors were amusing. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only amusing comments in the book. Would have loved some more banter between Ishmael and Penny. It was also interesting to get some more information about Ishmael's past.

Death Shall Come is not a bad book. Just not my favorite in the series and I hoped the next one will be a lot better!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! ( )
1 vote MaraBlaise | Dec 14, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Simon R. Greenprimary authorall editionscalculated
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Death shall come to whoever desecrates this tomb.
[Ishmael and Penny are discussing mummies]

[...]'I can't take the movies seriously. The mummies always shuffle along so slowly they couldn't catch a snail with a limp and a bad cough. And what makes them so strong, given that they're just old dead things wrapped in bandages? I don't believe in tanna leaves or mystical energies, or ancient sciences long lost to us.' (chapter one)
[Ismael reacts to his fight sight of Cardavan House]
There was nothing welcoming about the house. It looked like it had been dropped here in the middle of nowhere because nowhere else would have it. Just looking at the building made my skin crawl. It felt ... spiritually unhealthy, as though the life within it had soured and gone off.

[...] 'It certainly does have an oppressive, even soul-destroying quality,' said Penny. 'Could it be Sick Building Syndrome?'

'More like Put This Unnatural Thing out of its Misery Syndrome,' I said.

'Last chance to get the hell out of Dodge, sweetie.'

'No, we go on.'

Penny started singing the theme from the old Addams Family TV show, taking both hands off the steering wheel to do the finger snaps. (chapter two)
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"Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny have been summoned to remote Cardavan House, home of the world's largest private collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts, for the unveiling of George Cardavan's latest acquisition: a bone fide Egyptian mummy. When a bloodstained body is discovered beside the empty sarcophagus, Ishmael is dismissive of the theory that the mummy's curse is to blame. Instead he sets out to uncover the human killer responsible. But how can Ishmael explain the strange, shuffling footsteps that creep along the corridors?"--… (more)

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