Novels

Almost Agatha Christie

In 1920 Devonshire, Agatha Crispie writes murder mysteries. Her second husband and his snooty family ridicule her tales. Oh no! There’s a body in the library. It’s a scandal, hugely embarrassing for the snobbish family. But the body vanishes. Enter Scotland Yard’s Inspector Dithering, plus local sleuth, Miss Mary Mead. Then Agatha vanishes. There are ashes in the fireplace. Agatha’s ashes? Has she run away? Has her family done her in? The Buckingham Palace debutant ball is set to welcome Agatha’s insufferable stepdaughter when two visitors threaten ruin. It’s Chief Inspector Sapp from Scotland Yard and his nemesis, Monsieur Hercule Grey-Cells from Belgium. Will Agatha Crispie’s mysteries become famous? Will the mousetrap mystery carry on forever?

Reviews of the comedy hit play Agatha Crispie by Cenarth Fox

Are you one of those readers of mystery novels who find Agatha Christie’s tortured plots, blind alleys and obscure clues frustrating? Do you become exasperated by the bumbling policemen, shudder at Poirot’s mannerisms or long to strangle Miss Marple? Then this is the play for you. Ken Barnes

A wonderful season. Sherbrooke Theatre Company

Congratulations on a very funny play. Tugun Theatre Company

Our production of Agatha Crispie went extremely well with the season sold out. Powassan Players Canada

Agatha Crispie is an hilarious spoof on the writings of Agatha Christie. All the characters are extremely stupid and the plot is as improbable as those of the original Agatha, but it is a cleverly constructed little play. Don’t miss this one, it’s a load of fun. Yass Repertory Company

A brilliant cast of readily recognizable characters given a new lease of life through the fertile imagination of its playwright. A great night of entertainment. Marie Ryan

What a fun show, especially for those who know the golden age of crime. Joan Amos

Following Christie’s style and success, Cenarth Fox has captured the “feel” of the murder mystery format. Roger McKenzie

Although most of the references to Christie’s mysteries went over the younger heads, the older members of the audience found them hilarious. Newman College

 Available as both paperback and eBook.

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Paperbacks from your local book shop via Ingram Spark. eBooks and paperbacks from Amazon. Signed paperback from author.

 

 

Sherlock Holmes – Playing the Game

The world’s greatest detective has met his match. More withering than Professor Moriarty. More wily than Irene Adler. More witty than Benedict Cumerbund. It’s the challenge. The great man is soon to retire. On his last night in Baker Street, the loyal landlady drops a bombshell. Holmes is staggered. Mrs Hudson has done what!? Sherlock Holmes never panics—until now. Dr Watson is stunned. Sir  Arthur Conan Doyle is furious. A famous author turned WW1 counter-intelligence spy is on the case. The Strand Magazine senses a scoop. Inspector Lestrade from Scotland Yard plans revenge, and at stake is the brilliant reputation of the world’s most famous consulting detective. His only hope is to ‘play the game’.

Available as both paperback and eBook.

Paperbacks from your local book shop via Ingram Spark. eBooks and paperbacks from Amazon. Signed paperback from author.

Reviewed in the United States on January 27, 2020. It was not until I reached the age of 70 I found the classics which introduced me to Sherlock Holmes. I have read all of Sir Author Conan Doyle’s stories plus some of his other publications. There is not a book I have not read about Sherlock and Watson. And when I find a story of Sherlock I like I’m really really happy. This story is fantastic. How great it would be if Sherlock and Watson were real. Two worlds collide and it’s funny. Thanks Mr Fox. Amazon

Cenarth Fox’s Sherlock Holmes: Playing the Game (Melbourne: Fox’s Plays, 2020; 184 pp., $12.99) is a delightfully imaginative pastiche: Holmes is preparing to retire to Sussex, and is informed by Mrs. Hudson that she has written her memoirs, in which she corrects the many mistakes he has made, and the many errors in Watson’s stories; hoping to find a publisher, she  takes her manuscript to Conan Doyle, who sends her to Greenhough Smith at the Strand magazine, and it is grand to see two alternate universes collide.  It’s readily available at Amazon, and recommended. Fox also has written two two-act plays “The Real Sherlock Holmes” (2005) and “Nursing Holmes” (2009), and a two-act musical comedy “Sherlock, Stock and Barrel” (2007); you can read preview scripts of all three plays at his web-site <www.foxplays.com>.  He also has a web-site at <www.cenfoxbooks.com>. Peter E. Blau BSI

This book, a twist on Sherlock Holmes, is SO much fun! Mrs. Hudson has written a manuscript detailing all the errors in the Sherlock Holmes stories & she takes it to the editor of The Strand magazine, the original publisher of the stories. From there, it’s a madcap romp of confusion for both the historical and the “fictional” characters until the final brilliant conclusion.  Goodreads 5 stars

A completely different slant on Holmes and Watson…a grand tale. Mary McCulloch Goodreads 4 stars

Holmes is preparing to retire, leaving Baker Street, when Mrs Hudson announces that she has written a candid account of his years as her tenant at 221B, in which she records his failures and the mistakes committed by him and Dr Watson. Of course, he’s horrified, as is Watson when he arrives. The detective’s astonishment deepens when he learns that Watson’s narratives are handled by one Arthur Conan Doyle, who in turn submits them to the editor of The Strand Magazine. Mrs Hudson, meanwhile, unaware of that revelation, visits the magazine’s offices, where the receptionist politely refers her to Sir Arthur, who naturally thinks that she is mad, because he knows that Mrs Hudson is no more real than Holmes and Watson… Conan Doyle’s faithful secretary Alfred Wood has an important rôle; J.M. Barrie and A.E.W. Mason play their part, as does Inspector Lestrade. This is a complex, ingenious and deliciously funny story of intersecting realities, and the conclusion is entirely satisfactory. I love it! Roger Johnson – The Sherlock Holmes Society of London

All Cenarth Fox books listed at www.cenfoxbooks.com

 

The Detective Joanna Best Mysteries

Books 1 – 6 (Book 7 now available)

 

Available as both paperback and eBook.

Murder Mysteries in Melbourne

Detective Senior Constable Joanna Best is the youngest homicide cop in town. She’s also a crim. Well, she sails pretty close to the wind. Can you solve the murders before she does? Can she stay alive and out of jail? Collect the first six books in this new series.

Do you like murder mysteries? How about crime fiction? What about a female sleuth? These modern police procedurals have dead bodies, nasty villains, a peppering of puns and a solid serve of slapstick. The first murder takes place on Puffing Billy, a tourist steam train, where a cast of actors perform for the patrons. It’s Murder on the Orient Express in the Dandenongs. There’s computer fraud, a double homicide in Elsternwick a la Midsomer Murders, and a French movie star doubling as a detective.  Meet crooks, politicians and developers—one and the same really. And when a little girl vanishes from a busy public park, the city of Melbourne goes searching. How on Earth did Burke and Wills join the search in the 21st century?

Then there are several murders where all the victims are fine, upstanding citizens with no motive to hurt let alone murder them. What’s happening and why? As the series develops, Jo finds herself heading overseas to Paris and London. And the drug barons of Florida land Down Under.

Printed and eBook versions now available from Amazon and local book shops via Ingram Spark. Signed paperbacks available from the author.

www.cenfoxbooks.com

Reviews of Jo Best

Terrific.  A poignant story amidst all the mayhem. When is Book 7 available?

I could not put this series down. The characters, plots, settings, kept me reading. I really liked the word comedy phrasing. A couple of characters I wanted to smack.

After finishing all three of the detective series, I’m left hanging. I enjoyed the way the books ended giving a tempter to the next. I was  drawn into the characters and really hope some of my favourites don’t get bumped off. It’s safe to say you can put me down as a subscriber  to all the future books in this series. I need to know what happens next ….

This is one helluva read. Fox’s very individual style is so suited to this genre, giving it a subtle comic underscore without  detracting from the suspense. My nervous system was sorely taxed with highs and lows, laughter and tears. It’s a most interesting read.

Vengeance is Fine is a real page-turner. Looking forward to Jo Best in Paris. What could possibly go wrong?!

How long will I have to wait for the next book? I need to know who Jo Best will fall in love with? 

I thought The Code of Monte Christo was brilliant, and loved the way it flowed. It was funny and the characters kept me hooked with each twist and turn. I enjoyed reading about places I could relate to and the intrigue, not sure how things would turn out. Agatha Christie, watch out!

I thoroughly enjoyed the first three Jo Best Mysteries. They kept me on the edge of my seat as well as giving me plenty of belly laughs and surprises. I can’t wait to find out what happened to the South Yarra Judge and who Jo picks out of her 3 boyfriends. I loved the references to Shakespeare, Sherlock, Melbourne, Theatre and even the Bible?

I have finally read The Brothers Crimm. I am surprised at your criminal turn of mind, or is it merely imagination !!!! A lovely move on from Monte Cristo and your curling zig zag plot, moments of terror, wow. Have just started Little Lady Vanishes and your name for the villain ‘Darren’ SANDILANDS is delicious. I am not usually a ‘whodunit’ reader but Joanna Best is an exception.

A rollicking good yarn. Puffing Billy will never be the same for me after this.

 

Free Murder Mystery

Somebody Murdered Maggie is a crime fiction novella. DCI John ‘Robbo’ Robertson heads the Victoria Police Homicide Squad. A young mother is murdered in her kitchen. Her toddler son is in the room next door. Whodunit? There’s a laundry list of suspects. A motorcyclist crashes and dies. Some strange woman reckons it’s murder. Really? Can you solve the murders before the police? Can Robbo’s six-year-old granddaughter Jo Best help her Pop crack the case? Surely not.

For a free copy of Somebody Murdered Maggie, visit www.cenfoxbooks.com

 

A Plum Job

Plum 1 edit

It’s 1940. Germany’s military might is smashing through the Low Countries and the British, Belgian and French forces are trapped at Dunkirk. The Nazis will soon be in Gay Paree.  Louise Wellesley is a gorgeous and aristocratic young Englishwoman desperate to become an actress. But her upbringing demands that young women of her class go to finishing school, the Buckingham Palace debutante ball, and then remain at home until the right chap comes along. Such young ladies most definitely do not cavort semi-naked upon the wicked stage. But war brings change. People tell lies. Rules are broken, and so when Louise becomes a spy and finds herself in the French capital and living by her wits while facing arrest, torture, and death from the French police, Resistance, Gestapo and a double-agent, she had bloody well better remember her lines, act out of her skin and never ever bump into the furniture. Mind you, it helps if your new best friend is Edith Piaf.

Reviews

Cenarth Fox tells his story with prose that carries the reader along its fluid course—often with a wry dose of humor. A Plum Job is a tale of two lives, one the life of a cheeky English schoolgirl, the other a bold and independent young woman who bares her breasts on stage in Paris and outwits the Gestapo. The scenes are exquisitely set and the characters fully fledged. For the fan of historical fiction, A Plum Job is required reading. Scott Skipper

A Plum Job is about passion and perseverance, about missed opportunities and great losses. Against the backdrop of a fresh world war and suspicion on both sides it is more than just a tale of a wannabe actress. The fictional tale Fox has woven through historical events is captivating and filled with drama and excitement, it’s even a little bit heartbreaking to be honest. It’s not 100% historically accurate but it is hard to put down all the same with a story that’s filled with drama, excitement, and suspense. There are numerous surprises and unexpected things that keep you interested and engaged and it’s a compelling story, you’re never quite sure where it is heading but you don’t mind the journey getting there. Amy Brownlee

I found it hard to put down. I kept getting annoyed by the thought that I was unable to discern the reality and the fictional. I found the light and shade worked very well. Reading about Plum was a pleasure but I kept laying the book aside after the Nazi episodes for a day or so of recovery. Congratulations on a job so intelligently put together. Trevor Blum

Throughout the story Louise is involved in dramatic performances and there are many references to well-known lines of famous plays and poems. (These I thoroughly enjoyed.) I also enjoyed the gentle humour throughout the book. The title of the book is very cleverly inserted into the closing of the story. It is well defined on the cover as a theatrical thriller, a tale of romance, death, lies and spies. Jocelyn Grieve

A Plum Job Preview

 

Cassocked Savage

This novel is based on the hugely-successful play Saucy Pat. See Plays – Two-act Plays.

Patrick Brontë, father of the famous novelist sisters, was of lowly Irish birth. His father was kidnapped, enslaved and abused. But Pat’s illiterate dad survived, married and Patrick was born in a two-room cottage. He had 9 younger siblings. From humble origins, Pat became an amazing teacher winning a scholarship to Cambridge graduating with honours. He was a Church of England priest for 55 years, had six children, three of whom—Charlotte, Emily and Anne—became and still are famous novelists.

But Patrick copped a bad press. Elizabeth Gaskell wrote a biography about Patrick’s daughter Charlotte. Mrs Gaskell ripped into Patrick; so severely that critics inferred he was ‘a cassocked savage’ and ‘a mad dog who should be shot’. Really? Biographers pushed the Gaskell line for 150+ years. Brontë the bastard. Pat’s reputation was set in cemetery stone. But no longer. Now his gripping, true story can be told. And what a story. The redhead from County Down was brilliant. He was a poet, novelist, hero and way ahead of his time. He gave his children a fabulous education with giant dollops of love. He inspired them to write. He was a fierce advocate for health, education and social reform. And he loved dogs! Meet the unsung hero from the Yorkshire moors—the redhead with the ‘right’ reputation.

Reviews

A splendid story, reading like a Victorian melodrama … the convincing story of Patrick’s family life at Haworth. Louise Joy
Portrays the life of Brontë in remarkable style giving a deeper insight into a famous literary family. Rev. Philip Higgins
I absolutely loved this book. Patrick Brontë was a Man of Sorrows. Marie Ryan Readings and Writings
Cenarth Fox has seized the day to revisit Patrick Brontë, an extraordinary man who encouraged his children to read, to think, and hence to imagine. Geraldine Starbrook
I loved the book and I loved Patrick. All the characters are so believable. They made me cry. Veronica Hannebery
I laughed and cried in my journey through the pages … a beautifully written portrait of poor old PatrickJonne Herbert
Wonderfully evocative—Patrick’s fabulous journey from poverty in Ireland to the Yorkshire I know and love. Steve Stanworth (Churchwarden and Site co-ordinator for the Bronte Bell Chapel, Thornton)

Cassocked Savage Preview

 

Tricky Conscience

Tricky eBook new

 

Do you have a conscience? Does it work? Melbourne scientist, Bernie Slim, creates a drug designed to kick-start a conscience. Surely this Moral Compass Pill is science fiction. It’s secretly given to ordinary people with unexpected results. When a heavy criminal is tricked into taking the drug, serious trouble looms. When a public figure pops the pill, it’s no longer a secret. A leading politician, Mafia boss, and Big Pharma CEO fight for the formula. Bernie’s in strife. Can the drug and Bernie survive?

What would happen if cops, crooks and politicians followed their conscience?

Tricky.

Very engaging with laugh-out-loud humour. An excellent piece of work. The large cast of characters are well-knit into a varied and complex plot that never loses impetus. Trevor Blum

Cenarth Fox’s foray into the realm of humour is a departure from his earlier work, and it shows a breadth of skill. The characters are well formed and Mr. Fox does great villains. Scott Skipper

Tricky Conscience is very well written, informative, absorbing and funny. Mehreen Ahmed

Set in Melbourne Australia, this highly funny and entertaining novel kept me engrossed to the very satisfactory ending. The author’s use of word play and the descriptions of my home town made it a particular pleasure to read. Characters are well drawn, the pace is rollicking, and the thought of a moral compass pill is quite delicious. Jay Ayon

Tricky Conscience Preview

 

Noodles for Shakespeare

 

It’s Pygmalion and Educating Rita Down Under. In 1975, the Communists captured Saigon. A family of six flee, with their youngest, Thanh, aged two. It’s a terrifying escape on a tiny boat overloaded with desperate refugees. In Melbourne, Australia, English Literature teacher, David, introduces Shakespeare using the wit of Groucho Marx. David retires and hits a brick wall. Broke and alone, he rents a shoebox in Footscray surrounded by Vietnamese immigrants. His neighbour is the now 25-year-old Thanh who escaped decades ago. She only speaks Vietnamese. He offers to teach her English, or rather Elizabethan English, the language of Shakespeare. She rattles off verily, forsooth and skimble-skamble, my Lord. Their relationship develops. Has the young Vietnamese woman fallen for her senior Aussie teacher? With weird and wonderful family members interfering, can Thanh succeed? Will her love for David bring happiness? And will The Bard ever get the same recognition as Groucho Marx?

This novel is based on the play Shakespeare in Saigon by Cenarth Fox.

This play is fresh and new and of today. An absolutely charming, funny and thoughtful piece that really makes you feel a lot better after seeing it. Curtain Up

Cenarth Fox’s plays are exceptional works. Beautifully written, an unusual and moving love story with Shakespeare as matchmaker. Brian Amos

A delightful and touching piece of theatre which would be ideal for somewhere like Sydney’s Ensemble Theatre in Neutral Bay. John Bell—Bell Shakespeare

This play is among the very best of Cenarth Fox’s writing. The overall impression was one of delight, and this play should be seen far and wide … world-wide. David Small

Please go and see it. It is terrific and it does hit home. It’s really worth it. Peter Kemp

This play is one out of the box. From start to finish the story engaged the audience in a fascinating gamut of emotions and provided much food for thought. Absolutely not to be missed. Marie Ryan

The process of David teaching Thanh to speak English using the words of the Bard is cleverly written, and at times most humorous. Cheryl Threadgold

5 stars. This is an exceptional piece of theatre which makes you laugh, and cry. There is wonderful use of language, humour and pathos throughout the play. Don’t miss it. Joan Amos

Preview Noodles

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