JUDAS GOAT: The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery

Sitting in a Loyd Loom chair, on a narrow boat, moored on the Kennet and Avon Canal near Reading, a dead man stares into oblivion. Who is he and what is his name?

Detective Chief Inspector Michael Lambert from Thames Valley Police Authority unravels a murder case which stretches from Reading to Bulgaria, South Africa to Belorussia, and finally Taiwan to Peru. What at first appears to be a straightforward murder is revealed to be part of an international manhunt, the result of a major arms deal which has gone horribly wrong. Patrick Brigham begins his story with the discovery of a small mobile phone on the narrow boat which ends with the murder of a Chinese shipping magnate in the streets of London.

Will anyone’s life be the same again and how will our provincial policeman cope with these different layers of intrigue? In Judas Goat – The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery, Patrick Brigham manages to achieve a feeling of growing suspense which few could achieve in such a murder mystery.

JUDAS GOAT: The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery - by Patrick Brigham

Born in Berkshire England to an old Reading family, having attended an English Public School and a stint at college, the author Patrick Brigham went into real estate. After the economic crash of 1989 he licked his wounds, wrote two books and in 1993 decided to finally abandon London, the UK's casino economy and he moved to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. As the Editor in Chief of the first English Language news magazine in Sofia - between 1995 and 2000 - and as a journalist, he witnessed the political changes in this once hard core communist country and personally knew most of the political players, including the old Communist Dictator Todor Zhivkov and his successors, Zhelev and Stoyanov.

The natural home of political intrigue, Bolshevism and the conspiracy theory, Bulgaria proved to be quite a challenge, but for many of its citizens the transition was also very painful. Despite this, Patrick Brigham personally managed to survive these political changes and now lives peacefully in Northern Greece, writing mystery novels. A writer for many years, he has recently written four good crime fiction books including, Herodotus – The Gnome of Sofia, Judas Goat – The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery, Abduction – An Angel over Rimini, and The Dance of Dimitrios. He has also published a play called Judicial Review.

Confirming that the truth is very often stranger than fiction, Eastern Europe has proved to be Patrick Brigham’s inspiration for writing good mystery books. Much of his writing has been influenced by 20 years spent in the Balkans and the plethora of characters in his writing, are redolent of many past communist political intrigues in Bulgaria. But he also goes back to his English roots in his play, which is about money, greed and redemption.



Chief Inspector Michael Lambert takes on a case like no other he has ever encountered before. This complex, well plotted, evenly paced mystery will take Lambert all over the world after a botched arms deal leads to murder and international intrique. While Lambert is quite capable in his career and seems to thrive with grace under pressure, his personal life is in shambles. His marriage is on it's last leg, he and his wife just waiting the other out to see who will officially say the words out loud and then take action. It's obvious Lambert would consider the demise of the marriage a vast relief. His career takes his mind away from the home life issues and so Lambert is more focused than ever. He will have to be since this case turns out to be a huge undertaking. Bulgaria, Peru, and China are some of the countries that are involved in this massive deal. Interpol is left out of the loop since they are deemed worthless. However, in reality I doubt Lambert could have avoided that sort of red tape, but his detective skills are quite impressive and he gets a lot more accomplished by keeping certain organizations from getting involved. There is a wonderful twist at the end that will have you doing some thinking long after you have finished the book. I haven't read any of this author's work previously, but I must say I'm really impressed. If you enjoy a good solid mystery, with old fashioned detective work, international intrique and a smart, thinking person's novel that doesn't rely upon explosions, tech gadgets, and over the top plot twist, then you don't want to pass this one up.

Marika Charalambous

Judas Goat is a solid mystery. I enjoyed it right from the start. Chief Inspector Michael Lambert is a middle aged guy who has a rather unhappy marriage, but quite a successful job. He is even looking forward to be promoted next year when his boss will retire.

In the meantime he has a very strange murder case to solve. A body is discovered on a boat in his area of jurisdiction, and initially the task seems simple enough: identify the murder victim and then go from there. However this is where the complications start: the body is not so easy to identify and as it seems, he might have not even be a local, but someone with ties to another country in Europe, Bulgaria. DCI Lambert, in order to get to the bottom of the case and also to get away for a bit from his nagging wife, asks permission to fly to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, to try to find out who the murder victim is and why was he found in England.

Now the actual crime solving part is a solid mystery worth reading. I’ve long noticed that the British mysteries are a bit different from most American ones in that they have a slower pace. So I was not surprised when I didn’t find many nail biting moments. What I found instead was a well crafted crime story with a character that you can’t but like.

There were moments when I was reminded of Sherlock Holmes in the way detective Lambert found clue after clue – and diligently followed them – until he solved the case. And what a surprise the ending turned out to be – I would have never seen that coming.

Currently Judas Goat – The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery is a stand alone novel, however as I've been told in the interview with the author Patrick Brigham, it might get a sequel afterall. I truly enjoyed reading about detective Lambert, and seeing how at the end of the book he was about to do a career – and life – change, I’m really curious about where he’ll end up and what interesting cases he will be given to solve next.

Rosie Amber

Judas Goat - The Kennet Narrow Boat Mystery - This is a murder mystery revolving around the British Police Force and Chief Inspector Mike Lambert. The book opens with the discovery of a body on a canal boat moored on the Kennet and Avon Canal just outside Reading in Berkshire. In suspicious circumstances, the police try to piece together the little evidence they have. They believe the body could be Liam Side and Lambert finds himself on a trail which leads to Sophia in Bulgaria. Liam Side has led a colourful life and has had in fingers in many business pies as Lambert finds out when he slowly peals back the layers on the case.

He discovers that politics and money have driven others from across the world to interact with Liam Side and it seems that more than one person would like to find out more about his business dealings. Lambert's methods of police work diligently prove their worth as he finally gets to the bottom of his search.

I had to do my own bit of investigation with the title and I found out that a Judas Goat can be described as a false friend and one who betrays another. By the end of the book there are more than one acts of betrayal, did Liam Side turn out to be a winner? I'm not sure. Did Lambert solve the case? I'll leave that for you to read.

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