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==Synopsis of the book:==
Ellie Quicke is a retired lady in her fifties who enjoys helping out in her local community. She is heavily involved in the Church, and when asked by Mrs Dawes to go to an empty property to get her the Portuguese laurel from the overrun garden. However she discovers a decomposed body there with no form of identity. Hardly having got over that shock she and her Grandson discover Mrs Dawes body badly beaten the following day in her home after she failed to turn up in Church.
The Police's prime suspect is Mrs Dawes own Grandson after hearing he had a row with her the previous day. That and he struck the interviewing Police Officer after being pushed during his interview. Ellie is convinced that the Police have got the wrong man and she sets out to try and satisfy the demands of all those around her and prove Neil's innocence.
==My thoughts on the book:==
Veronica is a very experienced writer having written over 50 novels already. This novel is one of ten staring Ellie Quicke as the usual hero and was written in 2007. For my money this is not a very good or enjoyable mystery. I found it very hard to enjoy this story despite a well written and well thought out story.
This is my second experience of Veronica Heley work. The first I found disappointing also so I thought I must try again a different story as a person who has written as many books as she has must be good and I must be missing something. But having read two now I am convinced these Ellie Quicke mysteries are not for me as I do really struggle to relate the books heroin.
The first thing that annoyed me about this novel was on the back cover and nothing to do with this story which was the problem. As there was a series of quotes from various reviewers singing the praises of this authors work. But it is about other works not this book. That for me is always a mistake as you want to know what other people think of the book you are about to read not some other book she has written, it just isn't relevant.
However in contrast the summary on the inside cover was very interesting and helpful. It was a good length and it introduced several important themes and ideas that were to follow in the story. I must admit having read this I was looking forward to reading this story.
I began reading the story in earnest and remembered instantly why I had problems with this author's other book. It was written from the point of view of a very helpful, kind, thoughtful lady in her fifties. As a result I found I had very little in common with her especially is she was very involved with the Church. I am sure it is for that reason that I really struggled with this story.
As the story itself seemed to have all the important and exciting ingredients required for a good mystery. I liked the way the Police had their own view on events and would try to find the evidence to back up their assumption. It was interesting the way Ellie tried to find the truth without using the resources available to the Police. She clearly had a lot of get up and go and was keen to find the truth and get her friends Grandson of the charges.
One of the features I found really worked for me with this novel was the way as well as being written from Ellie's perspective, it was also written from the criminals perspective too. This was clearly signposted in italics and gave only sparse details about him until the story unfolded.
Not only was Ellie trying to solve this murder but she was also trying to keep all her friends, family and acquaintances requests satisfied. This certainly added to the story as she it broke up her investigation and proved what a very helpful, kind lady she was. I really enjoyed the very troubled relationship she had with her daughter Diane and the way she tried to take advantage of her mothers good nature.
The pace of the story was steady and always developing. I would have liked a faster pace myself but I was very pleased when the final chapters were exiting and fascinating. The only thing I did feel was that it was a little rushed and the outcome of the story and the results to the characters within it where very quickly and briefly explained. I would have liked more time and trouble spent on it and maybe put in an epilogue.
The books lead character Ellie Quicke was an unusual star. She reminded me a little of a younger Miss Marple, and despite being a model citizen she did seem to get up the Police's noses with her investigation which seemed far more thorough and deep than theirs. Although I found her a frustrating character who would get to bogged down in helping anyone and everyone rather than say no to people and get on with trying to solve the crime.
What I did enjoy was the lead characters interaction with all the other characters involved in the story. I liked the fact she was quite a deep thoughtful character who needed to push herself to try new experiences. Although her relationship with her daughter I found frustrating as she basically walked all over her and expected her to be at her beck and call.
I thought the book was very well written throughout and through excellent descriptive text I found myself able to visualise each scene I was presented with and the characters within it. The books length was quite short but had regular chapter breaks I found the criminals outlook and perspective quite odd and unlikely.
Despite being a well written and interesting story I did not feel I ever enjoyed this novel. I found it very difficult to relate to the lead character and her unusual lifestyle of always helping everyone out the whole time. I will not try another one of these stories but I do think many more mature readers would find these stories enjoyable.
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on Ciao and Dooyoo.
@CPTDANIELS October 2009