Murder Before Evensong: The instant no. 1 Sunday Times bestseller (Canon Clement Mystery)

(46 customer reviews)

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‘Britain’s favourite vicar might be hanging up the dog collar, but in Murder Before Evensong he proves to be the unlikely heir to Barbara Pym’


‘I’ve been waiting for a novel with vicars, rude old ladies, murder and sausage dogs … et voila!’


‘Coles does a wonderful job of bringing his congregation to life… [and] moves seamlessly between humour and something deeper… Charming and funny, it is just what you’d expect from the excellent Coles’

OBSERVER, Thriller of the Month

‘Whodunnit fans can give praise and rejoice’


‘A cunning whodunnit… This wise and often beautifully written novel remains most memorable as a sharp but sympathetic portrayal of everyday life in a small community and a clergyman’s role within it’


‘A warm funny joy from start to finish’


‘Cosy crime with a cutting edge’


‘You’ll want to take a front row pew in Champton while this delicious series unfolds’


‘A good old page-turner with brilliantly drawn characters… and dachshunds so real you can almost smell them’

SAGA, Book of the Month

‘An absolute joy from cover to cover – funny, clever and wonderfully plotted. Praise be!’


‘Coles’ murderous take on a quintessentially English parish makes for a likeable, cosy crime caper’


‘Champton joins St Mary Mead and Midsomer in the great atlas of fictional English villages where the crimes are as dastardly as the residents delightful. Only Richard Coles could pull this off so joyfully and with such style’


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, long-buried secrets come dangerously close to destroying the apparent calm of the village.

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 is the only one who can try and keep his fractured community together… and catch a killer.

46 reviews for Murder Before Evensong: The instant no. 1 Sunday Times bestseller (Canon Clement Mystery)

  1. Judith Knight (verified owner)

    Lovely chill out story !

    Full of Church of England cameos! This book may never be a Booker shortlist, but who cares! If you want an escapist mix of Rev/Vicar of Dibley and Midsummer this is quintessentially lovely – Richard captures it all !

  2. wendy (verified owner)


    I did enjoy this book, but found the religious terms and details difficult to understand and it is written on the assumption that everyone would.

  3. Ellie (verified owner)

    Love Richard Coles…..

    Preordered this I love Richard Coles he is so gifted in his story telling. Have read few chapters then decided to put away for my holiday read. Can’t wait to see how it ends.

  4. Graham Way (verified owner)

    Superbly observed

    A riveting read and a tale told well. This charming tale of murder in a bucolic Engkush country parish will have you hooked. A real page turner with characters and scenarios that are utterly believable, not to be missed.

  5. Sue 1222 (verified owner)

    Not surprised it’s in the best seller list

    Set in the English countryside, a brutal murder and tea at the vicarage. wpwhat more could you want? Loved this first novel by the Reverend Richard Coles. Now looking forward to the next in the series.

  6. P. A. Moncaster (verified owner)

    It was okay but won’t be waiting for sequel

    No racing attention grabbing narrative; after several pages I was left wondering when or if a murder was going to take place. The tussle between PCC and congregarion does not introduce a motive or lead you on to wonder who has murder in their hearts. Plot is very thin.A bit like the Richard Osman Thursday Club Murders okay but I suspect would not have been published if an unknown author not already famous for doing something else.

  7. Willow (verified owner)


    It is really what I expected. Lighthearted, a book to read on holiday, or in the garden on a nice day.It is in a similar vein to Richard Osman’s books. I will pass my copy round amongst my friends, but it won’t have a permanent place in my bookshelf.I suspect that it will be bought as a Christmas present for fans of Richard Coles.

  8. Hamper (verified owner)

    Slow burner

    When I started sook I wasn’t sure that I was going to continue. At first I found it too full of ecclesiastical terms an references. Yes, I appreciate it is both about and written by a vicar but there was quite a lot of terminology that seemed to be given too much emphasis.However, I persevered and really warmed to the characters and the odd references to Richard’s previous life as a pop star. The story was interesting and the depth given to the history of how people were as they now were was well researched.Really looking forward to the next instalment!

  9. Tralala (verified owner)

    Trollope with added murder

    Like many others I do have some objection to the ease with which celebrities can get average books published but I have to say I quite enjoyed this. As others have said the build up is very slow and at first the characters difficult to distinguish but I became increasingly engaged. As might be expected the book was heavy on the rituals and concerns of the church which although a non believer, I found interesting. I actually enjoyed his references to theological ideas and also his bold use of language knowing ,as he must, that some readers are alienated by words and ideas they do not understand. I actually enjoy having recourse to a bit of Google when I’m reading. What’s the point of only coming across things you already know? I did find it all a bit snobbish though he did try work on that for example by not entirely insisting that lavatory or loo are the only acceptable words for what most of us call the toilet. Daniel came across as very Marple-like with his slow burn deductions and his musings on morality. I think The Rev writes very well, certainly it is a style I quite enjoy. Just one continuity nit pick. What happened to the Hobnobs Richard?

  10. Munch (verified owner)

    Osman meets Midsomer Murders meets the Church – Fun opening book of series – can’t wait for more

    In the spirit of the Thursday murder club and Midsomer Murders comes Richard Coles opening gambit for fun murder mystery series set in the English countryside.Written beautifully and interspersed with challenging words even Susie Dent might need to look up – English teachers across the UK rejoice!Authors write with passion when they write on something they know – so adding the religious element to the book is a triumph (and I’m an agnostic).Certainly promising start to a series and cant wait for the TV adaptations. Will certainly add this series to my list.I love listening to Richard Coles on the TV and radio – so to have extended insight into his extraordinary mind in print is a privilege.

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