When Anthony Rathe Investigates

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Sep 2018

Member Reviews

This is a very gentle book a bit too light for me.  It consists of four separate stories linked by the two main characters, the lawyer turned investigator and the police officer.  It is well written and the stories are interesting but I am no lover of short stories, particularly for investigations because I feel that too much of the trail leading to the conclusion is necessarily omitted.  I enjoyed the way the characters developed, how their relationship changed and how the main character - a disillusioned barrister - tries to find redemption.
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A different edge to this book.  A good introduction to the main two characters whose friendship seems to be a start to a new series. I would be interested to see that happen.
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This book consists of four short stories, featuring the eponymous Anthony Rathe as a guilt-ridden ex-lawyer, attempting to alleviate his personal martyrdom by questing for justice on behalf of the wrongfully accused.

Having given up his legal career due to a personal crisis of faith, Rathe takes an amateur interest in a number of local murder cases and assists the police (or interferes) to ensure that the correct suspect gets the blame.

The story style is that of traditional amateur sleuth narratives: a puzzle is posed, with a reasonable number of hints and clues provided, and the reader and investigator attempt to piece together the pieces before the innocent suffer further.

I particularly enjoyed the puzzle element of these stories as I felt the author ‘played fair’ with the number and presentation of clues, so I managed an even success rate in identifying the killer before the characters did!  I also enjoyed the changing and developing relationship between Rathe and his police contact frenemy.

I was much less keen on the framing narrative in which Rathe repeatedly encounters the mother of the man he helped to wrongfully imprison.  I felt that the initial conversation was enough to give the reader a sense of the setup for the main character, and that repeatedly returning to the same scene felt unnecessary.  I found it hard to empathise with the calm acceptance on the one side, and the (in my mind) excessive sackcloth-and-ashing that Rathe indulges in on the other.

In general these are great short mysteries, perfect for crime readers looking for a light bite.  To tempt me into a longer novel featuring the same lead character I would want some reassurance that he is able to ease up on the self-flagellation a little!

 

For a moment, he was incapable of registering anything other than the sight and smell of blood.  But then, as if from some place far away, he heard the whimper of a voice, but oddly childish in its terrified pitch.  Healey broke free from his blood-spattered spell and looked at the other man in the church.  Not the horrible thing which had once been a man, but the undeniably human form which was standing over the corpse.  He was staring at the vicar with the wild eyes of a madman, his face twisted in some emotion which might have been fear, panic, or guilt.  Perhaps it was a mixture of them all.  His hands were outstretched to Healey and at once the vicar was again conscious of the presence of blood.  This time, it was smeared over those outstretched palms, as though begging the holy man to cleanse them.  As the stranger took a step towards him, Healey made an instinctive move backwards.  The man seemed bewildered by the vicar’s movement, frowning in confusion into the light of the torch’s beam.  Then, as though his senses told him what was in the vicar’s mind, the man began to shake his head.  A finger snaked out and pointed towards the body beside him.
“I didn’t do this,” he stammered.

– Matthew Booth, When Anthony Rathe Investigates

Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
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Well, this was a little different. Set in the present but written in a style that suggests a much earlier time setting. So much so that, for me, I slipped into the past and then was jolted back to the present by some mention of technology. This made for an interesting read!
So, what we have here is four shortish stories all connected by one concept. Anthony Rathe considers himself guilty of the death of a young, troubled man who, upon being found guilty and sentenced, subsequently killed himself in prison. Rathe finds out later that he was actually innocent of the crime he was imprisoned for and so visits his grave often throughout the book and, despite assurance from the boy's mother, still holds himself responsible. To try and gain some redemption, he makes it his mission to solve other injustices. Whether they be current or historical, he teams up with Inspector Cook and together they do their best to prove innocence, or otherwise, of several characters throughout the book. 
I am not the biggest fan of short stories but I do like anthologies and even though, with the brevity of the tale being told, there is not much wriggle room for the usual twists and turns you find in longer forms of crime fiction, I found that there was just enough for me to get my teeth into with these. Yes, they were occasionally a little bit obvious at times, but I mostly put that down to my voracious devouring of the genre rather than anything the author did. 
Slightly annoying angst aside, I did like Rathe as a character and I thought that his relationship with Cook was well done. They don't really like each other initially but have a mutual respect for one another and it was interesting to see their relationship develop throughout the book. 
As with the relationship between the two main characters, I thought that the stores they embroiled themselves in also got better through the book. The final one being my favourite, and also the most shocking; cause and effect anyone! 
All in all, a nice anthology containing four interesting stories, played out by some well rounded characters, written in an interesting old-feeling style. Hopefully there will be more to come in the series, I'll definitely be up for that! My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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This was a collection of mystery short stories, all of them interesting and quite enjoyable. Anthony Rathe leaves his legal career behind after a wrongly accused man commits suicide and takes on cases in his almost obsessive attempt to unveil the truth, help those he knows, and find a way to forgive himself for his past errors. 

The mysteries were interesting but quite short. The only downside to that is that there's no real room for a lot of red herrings. I was pleased with failing to discover the culprit too early on for most of these stories (only one exception). 

The stories are written in third person omniscient, which I don't usually mind, but I found I don't prefer for mysteries. Getting into the head of everyone involved takes a bit away from the mystery. 

All in all, an enjoyable mystery collection. My overall rating is 3.5.
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Short form crime fiction is difficult. The author cannot rely on red herrings, a host of possible suspects, or deeply technical sleuthing. The scene, character and plot must come immediately. The four novellas of this book are masterpieces of their kind.

Meet Anthony Rathe, a barrister who abruptly retired from practice when a brilliant prosecution resulted in an innocent man's conviction and subsequent suicide. He is now a shade of his former self, haunting the cemetery staring at gravestones meditating on justice. Until, that is, he is forced to consider (not investigate really) four different murders, one for each novella.

Rathe is a handsome, wealthy, cultured, yet empathetic man who listens to his intuition. Each story is different and enjoyable, if a bit reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes written by Martin Gatiss. However, I must say that the final story is overly shocking. The murder victim should have been someone else.
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Great storyline with good strong characters.  Very well written.  I would recommend this book to anyone.
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Four stories concerning ex-barrister Anthony Rathe, trying to appease his guilty conscience, by investigating four cases with the help of Detective Inspector Cooke. 
Though well-written I didn't really feel engaged with the characters. I would give three stars to the first three stories and a four star for The Quick and the Dead.
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A good book of shorter stories featuring a lawyer who after helping convict an innocent man who later committed suicide. Said lawyer - Rathe - overcome with guilt and despair finds himself continually helping a policeman in intriguing cases that help draw him out of his despair. Well written and definitely worth the read.
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He investigates now because he's driven by guilt.  One of his cases went badly and he can't forgive himself.  So he is going try to find justice for those cases he's asked to help on.

Sparkling Books Limited and Net Galley let me read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published September 18th.

These are short stories of several cases, all of them sad.  Trying to prove who the real villain is can be hard and unrewarding but Rathe doesn't give up.  He's trying to balance the scale and make his life feel right again.

The stories aren't easy to figure out but Rathe does it.  I don't think I'd like I'd like him breathing down my back either.  Give it a read.  It'll make you think about life...
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Rathe was a defense lawyer who decided to prosecute a case. The defendent was found guilty, sentenced, then committed suicide. After the defendent’s death, Rathe finds out the defendent was innocent. Rathe is racked by guilt and leaves the bar. He becomes a reluctant investigator. The book consists of short stories on cases he investigates, interacting with a police detective. The stories and characters are well-developed.
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This had a perfect balance of deduction and soul searching to make the main character compelling. The mysteries were well written with refreshing style but a few typos and lapses. I received this as a LibraryThing Early Reviewer. NB: I believe the mistakes I noticed have been corrected in the latest version.
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I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  
From the publisher --- 
The original Anthony Rathe stories of courtroom criminal cases appeared on American public radio, syndicated by the late Jim French through his Imagination Theater. When Anthony Rathe Investigates continues where the radio stories finished.

Prosecuting criminal cases, barrister Anthony Rathe convinced a jury to imprison an innocent man, who subsequently took his own life. Horrified at his mistake, Rathe abandons his glittering legal career, vowing to truly serve justice. A series of cases come his way.

These four stories, linked by how Rathe is racked with guilt over the suicide, explore crime from a different angle: a determination to find the truth, no matter how inconvenient to the investigating officer, Inspector Cook. The first story, Burial for the Dead, exposes sordid family history that led to a murder in a church. In A Question of Proof, Inspector Cook needs Rathe to unravel an underworld murder; in Ties that Bind Rathe solves a crime of passion; and in The Quick and the Dead, modern slavery intrudes into his own personal life.  The reader is invited to join Rathe in solving these complex mysteries.

I just could not get into this book. I did not enjoy the author’s style of writing so I decided to not finish the book: I could barely get into the first ten pages. As a librarian, if I do not learn something new or get engaged in the characters I do not finish the book as there are too many good ones out there to read and review. If you love foggy, smoggy English crime novellas, this is your thing. (That’s the honesty coming out! Sorry!!)
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Didn't realize it wasn't just one long story but was several short stories about Anthony Rathe investigations. I found him a bit angst prone which has a tendency to annoy me. It seems he almost magically deducted the perp within one interview. Relationship with his police partner was interesting and evolved nicely. For those who like short detective stories this would probably be appreciated. Personally I like the Agatha Cristie type story where you learn a bit more about the players. Other than that I do appreciate receiving a copy of the book and getting a chance to read it.
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I didn't know the prosecuting criminal cases, barrister Anthony Rathe character prior to reading the collection When Anthony Rathe Investigates by Matthew Booth. The original Anthony Rathe stories of courtroom criminal cases appeared on American public radio, syndicated by the late Jim French through his Imagination Theater. The book continuous where the radio stories finished. Four stories focus on the quest for truth and justice, no matter how inconvenient.  To build up trust and tension Rathe's private investigations are contrasted to Inspector Cook. The stories read like a classic crime story on TV, concise, and conversations to look into the investigator's line of thought to solve the whodunnit puzzle. Burial for the Dead kicks off with a brutal murder in a church where a priest gave the key to a visitor that wanted to confess his deepest sin. The second story, A Question of Proof, Cook and Rathe collaborate in an underworld murder case. A crime of passion is investigated in Ties that Bind Rathe, while in the last story, The Quick and the Dead, modern slavery is addressed.
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This was not my usual read but I enjoyed it. I liked the character Rathe very much. This felt more like a gentlemanly approach to crime detection. The fact that Rathe was trying almost to redeem himself from his previous behaviour made him even more appealing. Each case was self contained and fairly succinct. I enjoyed the change in pace from more grisly stories.
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This gripping collection of detective stories is an excellent blend of contemporary and traditional crime drama.  Each story is tightly plotted, exciting, and each with a satisfying twist at the end.  There is a variety to the stories, ranging from dark secrets being exposed to genuinely tragic family secrets coming to light.  

But the real success of these stories are the two main characters and their relationship.  Rathe is a fascinating and original character, a troubled man trying to make sense of his life in the wake of a tragedy which still haunts him.  Contrasted with Rathe’s private quest for redemption is Inspector Cook, a man with his own troubles, trying to come to terms with the violence he sees in his everyday life in the best way he can.    

The contrast between the two of them is set off against their mutual desire to find the truth and it forms the basis of an uneasy alliance.  It is their uncertain partnership which sets these stories aside.  It is not the usual detective duo combination and this amiable hostility between them is a welcome change.  Rathe and Cook are wary of each other but what these stories show so well is the slow building of trust and respect between them as they investigate the crimes at the centre of these four excellent stories.  A sequel can’t come soon enough.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book and marvelled at both its pace and great character in Anthony Rathe with its intriguing twists and turns in four great imaginative tales.
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