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Murder in Gloucestershire.
What is the Lambert and Hook series about?
James Michael Gregson (1934–2016), or simply J M Gregson, was a British teacher for twenty-seven years before concentrating on full-time writing. He wrote crime novels (with a bit of golf in it), including the Inspector Peach series and, of course, the Lambert and Hook series.
The series is set in Gregson’s adopted county of Gloucestershire and follows Superintendent John Lambert and Sergeant Bert Hook as they investigate murders.
JM Gregson wrote 29 novels in the Lambert and Hook series, the last one being titled “The Final Act.”
How to read the Lambert and Hook Books in Order?
Every book in the Lambert and Hook series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Murder at the Nineteenth – When there is a violent murder at a historic Home Counties golf club, Superintendent John Lambert himself discovers the crime. For the first time in a long career, he finds himself conducting a murder inquiry among people he knows well. Events move quickly in the two days following the murder. Amid further startling developments, Superintendent Lambert, supported by the deceptively stolid Sergeant Hook, moves steadily towards a solution.
- Making a Killing – Lydon Hall is, as the estate agent’s brochure puts it, a house full of character. But its many interesting features should surely not include a corpse in the elegant drawing-room? Is this death the suicide it appears to be? Superintendent John Lambert and Sergeant Bert Hook are brought in to investigate the tight-knit village community which houses Lydon hall.
- Dead on Course – Amid the luxurious surroundings of the Wye Castle Hotel and Country Club, a man is found dead on the golf course. Superintendent Lambert and Sergeant Hook establish fairly quickly how he died. But discovering who killed him proves a far more difficult challenge.
- Bring Forth Your Dead – The exhumation of the elderly invalid Edmund Craven proves that he was poisoned, and by one of those closest to him. But the scents are cold and the traces well covered – until Superintendent Lambert and Sergeant Bert Hook investigate. The detectives arrive on the scene twelve months after the victim has been buried. Never before has Lambert had to investigate a murder perpetrated over a year earlier. Gradually he unearths a network of malice and deceit.
- The Fox in the Forest – When the town vicar Peter Barton is found shot in the woods between two peaceful villages on Christmas Eve, Superintendent Lambert and his CID team are called in to investigate. His estranged wife herself was missing in the days before her husband’s death, busy with her lover. Could she be the killer Lambert is looking for? Or could it be the only man who seems to dislike the victim and owns a matching shotgun?
- Stranglehold – A young girl is found murdered in a deserted house. She has lain dead for two days, and there are few clues at the scene of the crime to identify her killer. When there is a second murder in the same small community, it becomes obvious that the hunt is for a serial killer, who is certain to kill again. The way the bodies are laid out suggests not only a warped mind – but someone determined to taunt the police.
- Watermarked – The body of the dead woman has been in the Severn for some time, slowly drifting downstream until lodging in the exposed roots of a willow… What remains is not a pretty sight. The river has washed away much of the forensic evidence. There is enough left, however, to suggest to Superintendent Lambert and Detective Sergeant Bert Hook that she did not meet her death by accident — and that she was killed elsewhere before being dumped into the river.
- Death of a Nobody – Charlie Pegg was a wanted man. A skilled joiner, he had full access to the homes of many wealthy figures, including Old Mead Park, a luxury block of flats that is home to the notorious gangster, Jim Berridge. With his insider’s access and personable charm, Pegg made the ideal informant. Listening to voicemails and inspecting the houses, he supplied valuable tip-offs to the police. When Pegg’s body is found stabbed in a gutter on his way to deliver his latest intel, it quickly becomes clear that this was a professional job by trained killers. For Superintendent Lambert and Sergeant Hook, this will not be a straightforward case. There will be no cooperation from the criminal underworld.
- Accident by Design – Walter Fletcher lives at the end of one of the remote valleys in the Forest of Dean. Despite his age, he is determined to assert his independence when his family tries to persuade him to leave the house he has lived in for forty years. But it is a fatal decision, for within two days he is dead. His death is at first presumed to be accidental, and it is his granddaughter, home for the funeral, who first raises doubts about it. Superintendent Lambert and Sergeant Hook find to their embarrassment that the girl’s suspicions of foul play are only too well founded…
- Body Politic – When the ambitious MP Raymond Keane is found dead in a frozen lake, Superintendent Lambert and Sergeant Hook soon discover that the politician was adept at making enemies. Plenty of people wanted him dead. And when Lambert finds an object by the lake he is sure he has his murderer in his grasp… But the Body Politic has surprises in store he could not have imagined.
- Girl Gone Missing – Chepstow Castle, Gloucestershire. A woman makes a gruesome discovery whilst out walking her dog. The body of a teenage girl has been washed up on the banks of the River Wye, after weeks spent decomposing in the water. But this is no suicide. Bruising to the throat and legs indicates that the girl, Alison Watts, was dead before she reached the water. For Superintendent Lambert and Sergeant Hook, an unsolved missing person’s case has just become a murder.
- Malice Aforethought – A body is found in Broughton Ash churchyard. Male, middle-aged, well-dressed, but with no identification. Only one fact is certain — he was murdered. Superintendent John Lambert and Detective Sergeant Bert Hook must set about identifying their un-named victim. To their surprise, they find he is Ted Giles – a well liked chemistry teacher at the local school. Beginning their questioning, the pair find that Giles had a secret life, one that he was desperate to hide.
- An Unsuitable Death – The lurid news of ‘The Sacristan’ had plagued the headlines for months. Victims’ bodies were deposited in quiet churches or graveyards. When the body of a beautiful young woman is found in Hereford Cathedral, it appears he has struck again. Appointed to the case, DSI Lambert and DS Hook soon come to realise however that nothing about this case — or indeed its victim — is as straightforward as it first appears…
- An Academic Death – When Liz Upson reports that her husband, Matthew, has gone missing, he’s not exactly a top priority for Detective Sergeant Bert Hook… Matthew’s just one of thousands of missing persons reported each year. And anyway, Mrs Upson makes it crystal clear that she doesn’t particularly care if her husband is found. He may be missing, but he’s certainly not missed. But when Matthew’s mother appears a few days later and emphatically insists that the circumstances of her son’s disappearance are suspicious, Hook and his boss, Superintendent John Lambert, begin to wonder if there might be more going on than just a simple missing persons case…
- Death on the Eleventh Hole – Kate Wharton walks out from a busy pub in her local town, away from her dealer boss and a life of pushing drugs and prostitution. But she has also signed her death warrant. Whilst playing his usual round of golf, Sergeant Bert Hook finds an unpleasant surprise at the eleventh hole. The body of Kate Wharton. With her murky past, Kate’s killer will be hard to find. But it seems that it is not just her criminal connections that have a motive for murder.
- Mortal Taste – Head teacher Peter Logan is a strange case of Jekyll and Hyde. He’s effected impressive improvements at his Cheltenham school, but his private life is in no way exemplary. So when he’s shot in the head one September evening, does he die a martyr or is this his just comeuppance? It’s up to Lambert and Hook to find out the truth.
- Just Desserts – At a party to celebrate the first ten years of Camellia Park Golf Club, a good time is had by all – and the noise is enough to cover the screams coming from the lavatory. Chief Superintendent Lambert investigates but is faced with a puzzling case: a victim who was popular with absolutely everyone. So who had a motive?
- Too Much of Water – Gloucestershire is suffering through a brutal heatwave, but things are getting even stickier for Superintendent John Lambert and Det. Sergeant Bert Hook. The body of a lovely young university student, Clare Mills, has been found strangled and floating quietly along the Severn River. Unfortunately, not a soul who knew her is particularly grief-stricken—or forthcoming.
- Close Call – Gurney Close, a recently-built development in Gloucestershire, includes three charming houses and bungalows overlooking the river Wye. Moving into these new homes are three married couples and a divorcee, all of whom are eager to get acquainted through a little block party. But the next morning, one of the new neighbors—affable, ordinary Robin Durkin—is found brutally murdered. As Superintendent John Lambert and Detective Sergeant Bert Hook investigate, they discover that each neighbor had ties with the victim. And they’re far from perfect. Including Durkin himself.
- Something Is Rotten – DS Bert Hook is cajoled into auditioning for a local Shakespearean play. Desperate to get out of it, he expects his boss, John Lambert, to forbid him from performing. No such luck. Hook meets a rather surprising and sinister cast of characters. And when the director is found murdered, Hook needs to find the truth and fast. Who is innocent, who is just playing a part and who is really rotten to the core?
- A Good Walk Spoiled – Richard Cullis is Director of Research and Development at the Gloucester Chemicals Company. Late one night, he is dramatically kidnapped and warned to suspend all animal experiments in the laboratories if he values his life. Some weeks later a company golf tournament has a startling conclusion when Richard collapses after dinner. Murder is suspected, but who administered the poison? Chief Superintendent Lambert and Detective Sergeant Hook are called in to sift the truth from the lies.
- Darkness Visible – When small-time drug dealer Darren Chivers narrowly escapes a police arrest, he begins to develop a different sort of criminal activity. Blackmail proves lucrative, but ultimately lethal. As Chief Superintendent Lambert and DS Hook interview the dead man’s contacts, secrets tumble out as the investigation progresses and the solution to the puzzle is as startling as it is shocking…
- In Vino Veritas – Martin Beaumont is the uncompromising owner of a successful Gloucestershire vineyard. He has built the company steadily over the years, with a small but dedicated team by his side. However, he sees Abbey Vineyards as his company, to do with as he pleases, much to the chagrin of his senior staff members. So when he is found dead in his car, Chief Superintendent Lambert and DS Hook don’t have to look very far to find people with strong motives for the murder…
- Die Happy – When the committee members of the Oldford Literary Festival all receive anonymous letters telling them to resign or die, it marks the start of an unusual case for Chief Superintendent Lambert and DS Hook. All of the members identify one man as being capable of such a thing: Peter Preston, a self-important snob who is in disagreement with the head of the festival over what he sees as the dumbing down of the events program. But could such a disagreement lead to murder? It’s not long before Lambert and Hook have their answer . . .
- More Than Meets the Eye – Dennis Cooper leads an idyllic life as curator of the national historical site, Westbourne Park. What could be better than overseeing the spectacular flowering grounds, supervising its popular restaurant, and making sure the daily throngs of tourists leave happy? But when Gloucestershire’s Superintendent John Lambert and Detective Sergeant Bert Hook visit the serene landmark, there’s only one site they care to see: Dennis’s dead body in a pond at the edge of the gardens.
- Cry of the Children – The last time Anthea Gibson saw her seven-year-old daughter, Lucy, the girl was thrilled to be heading off to her first village fair. Then, a parent’s worst nightmare: Lucy never comes home. As the disappearance stretches from hours to days without any leads, Lambert and Hook cast a wide net over potential suspects. But when another child vanishes from the area, and something terrible washes up on the shores of the Wye River, the case takes a breathtaking twist.
- Rest Assured – Twin Lakes is a tranquil place. It is a complex of holiday homes in a particularly beautiful part of England. ‘Rest Assured’, says the sign at its entrance. And the people fortunate to occupy the luxury homes on the site are indeed able to relax in a beautiful setting. Then a series of mysterious threatening notes are delivered to one of the lakeside homes. DS Bert Hook conducts an informal investigation and the notes cease to appear.
- Skeleton Plot – When a human skeleton is discovered on the boundary of a 20-year-old property development, it seems there are a large number of people who may know the identity of the corpse and how it got there. But twenty years is a long time and those individuals were very different people back then. Skeletons are being revealed in all senses and there are many prominent local figures who are beginning to feel uncomfortable and afraid. It’s up to Detective Chief Superintendent Lambert and Detective Sergeant Hook to dig around in the past and unearth the truth.
- Final Act – Sam Jackson is not a man who suffers fools – or anyone else – gladly. A successful British television producer who fancies himself as a Hollywood mogul, he makes enemies easily, and delights in the fact. It is no great surprise that such a man should meet a violent death. Detective Chief Superintendent Lambert and Detective Sergeant Hook deduce that the person who killed him is almost certainly to be found among the company of actors who are shooting a series of detective mysteries in rural Herefordshire.
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