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==Synopsis of the book:==
Ellie Quicke is on the way to a Solicitors when a car narrowly misses killing her and her new friend Mia. She is pushed out of the way, but in the mayhem a young Mother is killed as the vehicle quickly rushes off. Ellie is a little battered by this but she knows that she and Mia have had a lucky escape. Mia immediately feels suspicious of the incident because she is due to give evidence against her Step family who had imprisoned and raped her. And while they are currently in prison awaiting trial they still have friends who would like to prevent the young woman from putting them behind bars for a long time.
Ellie being Ellie is more than happy to have this shattered lady stay with her until she can rebuild her life. Trouble is brewing though as Ellie had agreed to have the reception of Mia's best friend at her house the following Saturday. And without consulting her, her daughter Diana has already sent invites out for her wedding the same day with the reception also at Ellie's home. What can she do to solve this situation? As she would much rather hold Mia's friends Ursula do than her spoilt daughter who has not even asked but expected her to help her out. In the midst of this Ellie is worried about the incident with the car and needs to ensure nothing else happens to Mia or her before the weddings.
==My thoughts on the novel:==
There is a quiet quality about the Veronica Heley books that I admire. This was no exception and I found I enjoyed this interesting and well thought out crime thriller. However I should state these stories are not for everyone and because of the style of writing, the books leading character they probably appeal more to the more mature readers. In some respects Ellie Quicke is similar to Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and if you are looking for a modern thriller this is again one to pass on.
I have read several stories from this author in this series. In total Veronica Heley has so far written 13 in the Ellie Quicke series with this being the 11th first published in 2010. Although this is only a small percentage of her total books published as this English writer has already published 56 books.
What I think work for me about this series of books is the leading Character is an elderly but sprightly lady, this author is also 79 years old. What comes across loud and clear to me the reader is she understand how and older person feels and the problems they face.
When I first read a book in this series I found it a bit slow and sedate in pace. I do not think my opinion has changed even after reading this one. Although I think now I have come to appreciate yes these are not the most up to date thrillers but there is a real quality within the story itself. And while the stories are never cutting edge or earth shattering, they always are full of mystery, interest and have good well thought out twists within them.
When I first thing I noticed about this book when I saw it for sale in my local charity shop was the interesting title. I thought it was a great title and I wondered what the author had in mind. In hindsight it was a good one and very appropriate for the book. I think the title and the fact that I had enjoyed previous stories in this series basically sold the book to me.
However before I purchased it I did check the summary of the story on the reverse of the book. This although three paragraphs looked quite short as the writing was quite small. This sounded good but there seemed no real mystery as it seemed obvious Mia's family where trying to stop her testifying against them. Glad to say I was wrong about this otherwise I think it really would have been a dull read. What did impress he however was there were three compliments directly about this book. Usually people will praise the author's work in general and I argue this has no relevance to the book you are about to read but on this occasion I was pleased to see this.
When I started the story I was very taken aback because the summary that was on the back cover of the book was also the first few sentences of the story. I have never seen this done before and having read the summary originally it made no sense at all to me. This apart the story really began on Page 1 with the car that attempted to kill both Ellie and Mia. I love a story when you are immediately in the action and things are happening straight away it immediately draws me in as this did. As preamble and slowly getting used to the characters I find is a real turn off.
The story for me was good and I liked and felt for Mia's awful situation. The only thing that did surprise me was why two different people should want there Wedding Receptions at Ellie's house the same day. I found that a little hard to believe especially the fact that Ellie found it impossible to say no to her string minded daughter Diana. I did not see how this would be possible to do but it was a key aspect in this story none the less.
I liked the way the story continued to develop and there was a real sense of suspense within it. The only thing I really struggled with was all the wedding organisation Ellie got involved in. This is because I have no real interest in this but I am sure many would find this enjoyable as there is so much that potentially can go wrong and there was so much that needed doing in a short period of time.
And while I found the story was quite pedestrian in what was happening with regards the mystery there was always this tight deadline for all the arrangements to be completed that added a sense of urgency to the story. Yes for me the author could have focused a little more on the mystery and added a few additional events and suspects to the story. Because at times I did feel the wedding preparations were over taking it.
However I forgive the writer for this because of the exciting conclusion to the story. The suspense had built and I really found it a good finish to the story and I had no idea what would result. The answers to the puzzle where only resealed towards the end and it certainly was not the conclusion that I had expected. In truth the story for me needed an epilogue as I wanted to know what happened next to some of the characters I do not expect to see again in this series.
Ellie Quicke is the lead character in this series and one it is easy to like and admire. For me it is usual to have an elderly lady as a mystery solver so she is different. What I like is the author seems to really understand her and will not make her always right, she makes mistakes and does the unexpected sometimes but her heart is always in the right place. I really enjoy her difficult relationship with her daughter. And while in some respects her life should be easy and simple as she has a settled life and plenty of money it never is.
And while I would argue the pace of the story was slow. The author did at least try to add more urgency to it by giving the reader a countdown to the wedding by reminding the reader of the day and the part of the day it was.
For me the books length was about right to tell a good crime story. As there was plenty of depth to the story and through some excellent descriptions you really got to know and understand the characters within it. For me it was an interesting read rather than absorbing, entertaining rather than a real page turner. I am sure I will over the next few months try another in this well thought out series.
This is a piece of crime fiction that I would recommend to that who enjoy a well crafted crime thriller. The book makes up for its slower than usual pace by its clever writing and its engaging characters. For me this is still what I would call a light read as I did not really feel stretched throughout the story and while I wanted to know the solution to the mystery I did not feel as I sometimes do compelled to find the solution. It was probably a good book to take on holiday where you can dip in and out as the mood takes you.
Publisher: Seven House
First Published: 2010
More about the author: www.veronicaheley.com
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on Ciao and Dooyoo
© CPTDANIELS November 2012.