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Death and the Assassin's Blade

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It was meant to be high drama, not murder, but someone’s switched the daggers. The man’s death, in plain view of two serving police officers. The man was not meant to die; the daggers were only theatrical props, plastic and harmless. A summer’s night, a production of Julius Caesar among the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon fort. Detective Inspector Tremayne is there with his ser It was meant to be high drama, not murder, but someone’s switched the daggers. The man’s death, in plain view of two serving police officers. The man was not meant to die; the daggers were only theatrical props, plastic and harmless. A summer’s night, a production of Julius Caesar among the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon fort. Detective Inspector Tremayne is there with his sergeant, Clare Yarwood. The assassination scene, the man collapses to the ground, Brutus defending his actions, Mark Antony’s rebuke. They’re a disparate group, the amateur actors. One’s an estate agent, another, an accountant. And then there is the teenage man, the gay, the funeral director, the commodities trader. And what about the women? They could be involved. They’ve all got a secret, but which of those on the stage wanted Gordon Mason, the actor who had portrayed Caesar, dead?


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It was meant to be high drama, not murder, but someone’s switched the daggers. The man’s death, in plain view of two serving police officers. The man was not meant to die; the daggers were only theatrical props, plastic and harmless. A summer’s night, a production of Julius Caesar among the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon fort. Detective Inspector Tremayne is there with his ser It was meant to be high drama, not murder, but someone’s switched the daggers. The man’s death, in plain view of two serving police officers. The man was not meant to die; the daggers were only theatrical props, plastic and harmless. A summer’s night, a production of Julius Caesar among the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon fort. Detective Inspector Tremayne is there with his sergeant, Clare Yarwood. The assassination scene, the man collapses to the ground, Brutus defending his actions, Mark Antony’s rebuke. They’re a disparate group, the amateur actors. One’s an estate agent, another, an accountant. And then there is the teenage man, the gay, the funeral director, the commodities trader. And what about the women? They could be involved. They’ve all got a secret, but which of those on the stage wanted Gordon Mason, the actor who had portrayed Caesar, dead?

30 review for Death and the Assassin's Blade

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ted Tayler

    "The devil is in the detail" If you love the police procedural genre then this will be right up your street. Detectives Tremayne and Yarwood have hardly recovered from their clash with the pagan worshippers, and Yarwood's emotions are still very raw. The first death scene is played out in front of an audience which includes our intrepid police pair. An ingenious plot line uses the stabbing of Caesar to mask the identity of the killer, or killers. Any of seven conspirators in the play could have s "The devil is in the detail" If you love the police procedural genre then this will be right up your street. Detectives Tremayne and Yarwood have hardly recovered from their clash with the pagan worshippers, and Yarwood's emotions are still very raw. The first death scene is played out in front of an audience which includes our intrepid police pair. An ingenious plot line uses the stabbing of Caesar to mask the identity of the killer, or killers. Any of seven conspirators in the play could have struck the fatal blow, or blows. If you want action - then that was it. The rest of the book details the events as the case is forensically examined by the author through a succession of conversations. It's like peeling back layers of an onion, one layer at a time. The different characters all have back stories. Could they be the killer? Progress is slow. A second, and then third death follow. Finally, the killers are revealed, and you would need to be paying close attention to every layer of that onion to guess who did it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    P.

    Rounded up. Decent story, good character development. Somewhat iffy ending.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Grady

    ‘Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.’ Australian author Phillip Strang has gained his platform as an adventure writer through his career installing telecommunications networks in many remote and exotic parts of the globe, including time spent in Afghanistan and Pakistan - an experience that allowed him to gain direct insights in to the ongoing conflicts there. He has also spent considerable time in Africa including Liberia, Nigeria, and Guinea. ‘Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once.’ Australian author Phillip Strang has gained his platform as an adventure writer through his career installing telecommunications networks in many remote and exotic parts of the globe, including time spent in Afghanistan and Pakistan - an experience that allowed him to gain direct insights in to the ongoing conflicts there. He has also spent considerable time in Africa including Liberia, Nigeria, and Guinea. It is this direct contact with troubled countries that gives his books intense credibility: he has first hand contact with the events he shares in his books such as DCI Cook Thriller Series (MURDER IS A TRICKY BUSINESS, MURDER HOUSE, MURDER WITHOUT REASON, MURDER IS ONLY A NUMBER, and MURDER IN LITTLE VENICE), and now he offers a new series, Introducing another Detective, this time a Detective Inspector Keith Tremayne, and a new location, the city of Salisbury, not far from Stonehenge. DEATH UNHOLY was the first book, and DEATH AND THE ASSASSN’S BLADE is the second installment of this gripping new series. But it takes more than on the spot witness to bring the story Phillip has written to life in the format of a book - and that is where he towers above others creating novels with similar storylines. To bring a story of this magnitude into focus it is imperative that the foundation of the place and the people are presented accurately in order to bring the terror that is to come to meaningful life. Phillip sets his stage well from the very first page: ‘Detective Inspector Keith Tremayne knew one thing: his idea of fun was not sitting on the grass on a balmy summer’s night watching a rendition of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar acted out by the local dramatic society. He had to admit, though, that choosing the Anglo-Saxon fort of Old Sarum was as good a location as anywhere; not that much of it remained, just a few old stones here and there. It had been six months since the events at nearby Avon Hill, and the village was supposedly half empty after ten of the men arrested were sent to prison for murder. The media had invaded the place for a few weeks after the revelations of pagan rituals and human sacrifices, but they had soon tired of it. Tremayne knew full well that what they really wanted was orgiastic rituals with a naked woman writhing in the centre of the old church while lecherous men ogled and took advantage. However, for worshippers of ancient gods, they had been a dreary group of people. There they were, a captive group of believers, and their idea of enjoyment was sacrificing some hapless individual whose only crime was believing in such nonsense. Sitting there at Old Sarum, being bitten by mosquitoes and listening to amateur dramatics, was not the time to dwell on that case, especially as it was his sergeant’s first week back at Bemerton Road Police Station, and he had agreed to accompany her to the play. Personally, he would have preferred a quiet pint or two of beer, but Clare Yarwood, his sergeant, was definitely teetotal after the love of her life and her fiancé, Harry Holchester, the publican of the Deer’s Head, his favourite pub, had turned out to be one of the elders of the pagan sect. Tremayne could see that Yarwood was still not happy, even after several months of compassionate leave.’ Scene set with only a hint of what is to come. The story is distilled well in Phillip’s synopsis: ‘It was meant to be high drama, not murder, but someone’s switched the daggers. The man’s death, in plain view of two serving police officers. The man was not meant to die; the daggers were only theatrical props, plastic and harmless. A summer’s night, a production of Julius Caesar among the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon fort. Detective Inspector Tremayne is there with his sergeant, Clare Yarwood. The assassination scene, the man collapses to the ground, Brutus defending his actions, Mark Antony’s rebuke. They’re a disparate group, the amateur actors. One’s an estate agent, another, an accountant. And then there is the teenage man, the gay, the funeral director, the commodities trader. And what about the women? They could be involved. They’ve all got a secret, but which of those on the stage wanted Gordon Mason, the actor who had portrayed Caesar, dead?’ Elegant writing and a keen sense of suspense – this is another Phillip Strang winner!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lis Carey

    It's six months after the terrible events at Avon Hill. Tremayne is doing something utterly atypical for himself--attending a local "Shakespeare in the Park" performance of Julius Caesar. He's doing it for DS Clare Yarwood, who is back at work after extended compassionate following Harry's death, but still not fully back to normal. Tremayne thinks what they really need is a new murder to investigate, but Salisbury and environs have been quiet. Some time after Mark Antony's speech following Caesar It's six months after the terrible events at Avon Hill. Tremayne is doing something utterly atypical for himself--attending a local "Shakespeare in the Park" performance of Julius Caesar. He's doing it for DS Clare Yarwood, who is back at work after extended compassionate following Harry's death, but still not fully back to normal. Tremayne thinks what they really need is a new murder to investigate, but Salisbury and environs have been quiet. Some time after Mark Antony's speech following Caesar's death, the head of the local theater group, Peter Freestone, an occasional drinking buddy of Tremayne's approaches them. Caesar, or rather the actor playing him, Gordon Mason, a local solicitor, is actually dead, of stab wounds. Two of the blades for the fake assassin's knives had been replaced with real, sharp, and non-retractable blades. Both had been used by Mason, on stage. Two of the actors among the theatrical assassins actually murdered Gordon Mason. Turns out no one really liked him, but there's no obvious motive for anyone to hate him enough to kill him, either. The actors are a diverse lot. A real estate agent, his social-climbing wife with the interesting background who may be the real business brain of the two, an accountant, a hairdresser who is flamboyantly gay on the job but much tamer off the job, a teenager, a worker in a local gardening center and his lover, the former town tramp, who now seems at least as grounded as anyone else in the group, a funeral director, a university student, a member of the local town council, and a stock market day trader with a trophy wife. The women can't be the killers, but they might be involved. But no one seems to have a plausible motive, not for murder. The design of the handles means there's no useful fingerprints to identify who held the murder weapons. The chaotic nature of the assassination scene means there's no way to pick out who had the actual murder weapons when they stabbed Caesar. This is a long and difficult case for Tremayne and Yarwood, with no way to find an answer except by carefully reconstructing the past and the current relationships among each of the actors. Was Mason blackmailing someone? Meanwhile, Yarwood is still working through her feelings about the death of Harry Holchester and the circumstances of that death, and Tremayne is holding off Moulton's attempts to make him retire, while very tentatively getting reacquainted with his now-widowed ex-wife. There's both a good mystery here, and some good character building. Recommended. I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Madam

    During an amateur theater production, Julius Caesar is killed onstage, stabbed by two knives that had been exchanged for props. Not only is the murder in their territory, but Tremayne & Clare are in the audience, and they immediately embark on a winding journey to discover who killed the actor playing Caesar. Along the way, several more members of the dramatic society are found dead, and the duo realizes they must quickly find the killer before the entire troupe is eliminated. Old and new rivalri During an amateur theater production, Julius Caesar is killed onstage, stabbed by two knives that had been exchanged for props. Not only is the murder in their territory, but Tremayne & Clare are in the audience, and they immediately embark on a winding journey to discover who killed the actor playing Caesar. Along the way, several more members of the dramatic society are found dead, and the duo realizes they must quickly find the killer before the entire troupe is eliminated. Old and new rivalries are exposed and ruptured, many secrets revealed, and lots of finger-pointing occurs amongst the group. With every clue leading to a dead end, Tremayne & Yarwood finally resort to gathering the survivors in a closed room and hashing out every detail, which, through the deductions of a heretofore discounted character, the entire scheme is revealed. I’m a big fan of Philip Strang’s series, but gave this one four stars instead of the usual five, because the investigation just went on and on and on. Tremayne is often revealed as tired and dissatisfied in this second installment, and that’s how I felt about the crime-solving. Otherwise, another excellent story from an indie author who deserves a wider audience.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Charles Ray

    DI Keith Tremayne and his partner, DS Clare Yarwood are attending a local theatrical group’s performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar,’ When the actor portraying Caesar is stabbed in Act 3, and the body is removed from the stage, little do the two cops know that they have just witnessed an actual murder. There were seven actors on the stage, and Tremayne soon realizes that two of them are killers, but which two? When more members of the troupe die, the stakes are pushed up, and he and Yarwood DI Keith Tremayne and his partner, DS Clare Yarwood are attending a local theatrical group’s performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar,’ When the actor portraying Caesar is stabbed in Act 3, and the body is removed from the stage, little do the two cops know that they have just witnessed an actual murder. There were seven actors on the stage, and Tremayne soon realizes that two of them are killers, but which two? When more members of the troupe die, the stakes are pushed up, and he and Yarwood have to work overtime to nab the killers before even more people die. Death and the Assassin’s Blade by Phillip Strang is a tense thriller. Clues abound, as do suspects, but it takes some dogged police work, and lots of luck to catch the killers. As you follow along, you’ll be subject to the same misdirection as our protagonists, and, in the end, be just as surprised as they are. A great read for a cold winter’s day. I received a free copy of this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Soppe

    I am voluntarily reviewing an Advanced Reader Copy of this book that I received for free. The second book in the DI Tremayne series is a suspenseful tale that takes the reader on the same roller coaster mystery ride as the Detective Inspector and his Sergeant. Both parties are recovering from the events that were unraveled in the first book(not necessary to read to follow along), getting themselves fixed up in both their personal and professional lives as they scale the wall of intrigue laid out I am voluntarily reviewing an Advanced Reader Copy of this book that I received for free. The second book in the DI Tremayne series is a suspenseful tale that takes the reader on the same roller coaster mystery ride as the Detective Inspector and his Sergeant. Both parties are recovering from the events that were unraveled in the first book(not necessary to read to follow along), getting themselves fixed up in both their personal and professional lives as they scale the wall of intrigue laid out by Mr. Strang. Dispensing clues in drips and drabs allows the reader to figure everything out at the same time as the police; keeping you guessing as to who done it. An extraordinary weekend who done it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    M

    Slow-paced, middling British police procedural features two detectives continually interviewing suspects. Too much dialogue normally wouldn’t be a problem, especially if it helps drive the plot—but that needs action, which is sorely lacking. Unfortunately the police interviews are repetitive and become increasingly tiresome, as the investigation continues for far too long. I began skimming at about 30% Kindle mark, slowing down for the denouement. It helped to have a character-list when DI Trema Slow-paced, middling British police procedural features two detectives continually interviewing suspects. Too much dialogue normally wouldn’t be a problem, especially if it helps drive the plot—but that needs action, which is sorely lacking. Unfortunately the police interviews are repetitive and become increasingly tiresome, as the investigation continues for far too long. I began skimming at about 30% Kindle mark, slowing down for the denouement. It helped to have a character-list when DI Tremayne and DS Yarwood are interviewing multiple suspects in a closed room—yeah, that actually happens in this book. The ending was lame, because the method (and the character) used to expose the murderer was unbelievable and less than satisfactory.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Silk

    "An Intense Crime Solver" While attending a stage performance of a Julius Caesar play, Detective Inspector Tremayne and his sergeant, Clare Yarwood, watched the daggers whirl. The plastic daggers used by seven performers were harmless to stab Caesar ... but a murder actually happens on stage. The actors are all amateur performers and are shocked. They each have secrets, and which one wanted to kill Caesar, played by Gordon Mason. These characters are very well described and investigated. This is "An Intense Crime Solver" While attending a stage performance of a Julius Caesar play, Detective Inspector Tremayne and his sergeant, Clare Yarwood, watched the daggers whirl. The plastic daggers used by seven performers were harmless to stab Caesar ... but a murder actually happens on stage. The actors are all amateur performers and are shocked. They each have secrets, and which one wanted to kill Caesar, played by Gordon Mason. These characters are very well described and investigated. This is another intense investigative mystery only Phillip Strang can create. A great story, it captured me from beginning to end.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Judith Favia

    Not Even Close to Thrilling I gave up reading at about 3/4 through. The constant gathering of the suspects going over and over and over the same information just wore me down. At the point I quit reading, I couldn’t care less who the murderer was. I think the author was trying to follow the “show, don’t tell” advice. But that resulted in long inane interviews set out word for word with no insights or plot movement. I love British police mysteries but this one is a clinker. Calling it a thriller i Not Even Close to Thrilling I gave up reading at about 3/4 through. The constant gathering of the suspects going over and over and over the same information just wore me down. At the point I quit reading, I couldn’t care less who the murderer was. I think the author was trying to follow the “show, don’t tell” advice. But that resulted in long inane interviews set out word for word with no insights or plot movement. I love British police mysteries but this one is a clinker. Calling it a thriller is false advertising.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Wilson

    I have not finished this book! It goes on and on asking the same question who killed Julius Caesar, in a play produced by a Dramatic Society, where the actor, an unsavoury character, is found really dead after the curtain call. It was boring and I abandoned the book after reading about 70% of it. Enough is enough.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Thonie Hevron

    This is an entertaining mystery police procedural that really smacks of authentic police work. The characters were painted clearly despite a large cast, the mystery revealed was a surprise but enough foreshadowing made it believable. I'll read more books by this author. This is an entertaining mystery police procedural that really smacks of authentic police work. The characters were painted clearly despite a large cast, the mystery revealed was a surprise but enough foreshadowing made it believable. I'll read more books by this author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    At an outdoor production of Julius Caesar, the actorplaying Caesar is stabbed to death. Will there be other deaths and what could be the motive. Detective Inspector Tremayne and Sergeant Clare Yarwood investigate An enjoyable mystery

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy Peck

    Thrilled that I found this series! I could not put this book down! Suspenseful down to the last page. I’m going to enjoy the entire DI Tremayne series. I’ll begin Book 3 as soon as I post this review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tony Sommer

    Awesome Story I love reading these stories. Full of suspense and intrigue I can't put these stories down once I started reading it. I can't wait to see the next book in the series. Awesome Story I love reading these stories. Full of suspense and intrigue I can't put these stories down once I started reading it. I can't wait to see the next book in the series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ashley

    This is a very good who dunit! I really liked the pace of this book and the cast of characters. It was also nice to see the brash DI Tremayne show concern for his young Sgt Clare Yarwood, who is still dealing with the death of her fiance. My favorite book by this author, Phillip Strang!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    This book never failed me, in my expectations from the first book, wow good stories, so looking forward to the next one in this series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David

    quite a good read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Slow. I liked the plot but this particular story took forever to read through. The author seemed to go over the same material too many times before coming to the conclusion of the book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gary Van Cott

    I haven't read this. Picked the wrong book. I haven't read this. Picked the wrong book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Donadee's Corner

    Death and the Assassins Blade by Phillip Strang Review Shakespeare wrote about death but not in England on a stage with DI Tremayne! It was meant to be high drama, not murder, but someone’s switched the daggers. The man’s death, in plain view of two serving police officers. The man was not meant to die; the daggers were only theatrical props, plastic and harmless. A summer’s night, a production of Julius Caesar among the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon fort. Detective Inspector Tremayne is there with hi Death and the Assassins Blade by Phillip Strang Review Shakespeare wrote about death but not in England on a stage with DI Tremayne! It was meant to be high drama, not murder, but someone’s switched the daggers. The man’s death, in plain view of two serving police officers. The man was not meant to die; the daggers were only theatrical props, plastic and harmless. A summer’s night, a production of Julius Caesar among the ruins of an Anglo-Saxon fort. Detective Inspector Tremayne is there with his sergeant, Clare Yarwood. The assassination scene, the man collapses to the ground, Brutus defending his actions, Mark Antony’s rebuke. They’re a disparate group, the amateur actors. One’s an estate agent, another, an accountant. And then there is the teenage man, the gay, the funeral director, the commodities trader. And what about the women? They could be involved. They’ve all got a secret, but which of those on the stage wanted Gordon Mason, the actor who had portrayed Caesar, dead? What did I like? This is the second book in this new series, I really love the lead character DI Tremayne and his Sargent Clare Yarwood. They mesh together so well and play off each other making them so real. After Claire’s boyfriend was killed in front of her she had been off work. She returns and here’s another murder for her to immerse herself in, hopefully, it will help her with dealing with her loss. What will you like? Again, Phillip has written an action-filled murder mystery that will keep you glued to the pages. Filled with culture, mystery, and action. Whoever said that Shakespeare was boring did not attend with DI Tremayne!!!!! I received this from the Author as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) for an honest review with no other compensation.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    This was slightly better than the first in the series as far as the plot goes, but the writing is still very weak. It had a more or less realistic plot line and I will probably give the series one more try before very likely abandoning it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    rosemary

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sue Powell

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joan Reid

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tony Rampling

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  28. 4 out of 5

    barbara r holmes

  29. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Dumont

  30. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Davies

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