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==Synopsis of the book:==
Sheila Malory has recently damaged her wrist. So she visits the Group Medical Practice in her home town of Taviscombe. She is due to see Dr Morrison who is not well liked there since he arrived from London. He is very offhand with patients and if local gossip is anything to be believed he miss-diagnosed a local man's alements that led he to die. While others in the town see him as a highly intelligent and wonderful man.
It is Sheila's first visit to see him and this spirited lady is not deterred by the rumour mill. Even when she is advised he is running late she is happy to wait for her appointment. However the last thing she expects is murder at the surgery as Dr Morrison is found stabbed in his office. The finger of suspicion immediately falls on a local lad Rhys Hampden particularly as he has a drug problem was seen upset when he left the surgery a few minutes before the body was discovered and then he disappears. Sheila with all her contacts within the town soon finds herself trying to find if this is the truth or if someone else managed to sneak into the surgery and kill the Doctor.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
Overall I thought this was quite a good well thought out crime thriller. The style of the novel reminded me of Agatha Christie and in particular her super sleuth Miss Marple. As there are many similarities between the two lead characters. And while I thought it was a good read it was never dynamic, earth shattering or riveting.
This is the second novel I have read in this particular series. Hazel Holt has written 19 books in this Mrs Malory series, with this book being the 16th and written by this English author in 2005. So I had a good idea what to expect from her writing as I did quite enjoy the first 'Death in the family' and I wanted to read another to see how it compared with that. And looking at these two books together there is a comparable style and quality about them, good but that's as far as it goes.
I really liked the concept behind this story that first struck me in the excellent summary on the inside cover of the book. It told about this maverick Doctor who was brilliant in the field of genetics but often misunderstood by his patients and peers. I liked the idea of a murder being committed in the surgery and in this story there where no end of possible suspects and witnesses just sitting a few yards away in the waiting room.
However for me that was as good as it got for a long time when the story actually began. As I found the story was quite slow and the author really was at pains to describe all the main characters and the wonderful sea side setting of the town. And for me when the murder did finally come it was a relief as at last it was something to really get my teeth into.
Although I have to say it surprised me that Sheila Malory a retired lady was given such a free hand by the Police. As she was allowed to chat and get information from everyone connected with the dead man and what happened to him. And while I can understand they would not mind her finding out about his past, I would have thought they would have at least asked her not to interfere in their investigation. But she seemed to be doing all the running around for them and while she did tell various characters to speak to the Police it was only after they had spoken to her.
As the story developed it was in some ways like a fine wine in that it got better was time progressed. The further Sheila went into the dead man's life the more interesting he became and my opinion changed on him. But not only that the more suspects emerged, while others who where original thought of a possibles where discarded. I would not describe it as a page turner but it was interesting and I was certainly keen to know the solution. As that side of things was very cleverly written so that I had no idea of who had done it or even why and I find that a rarity these days to be impressed with the answers.
Sheila Mallory is the main character in all this series of books and she is one it is easy to like. And while I have little in common with this lady, I do like the way she works things out and is basically a kind lady who never has a bad word for anyone. I particularly like the way she uses all her friendships and acquaintances in the town to find out more information than the Police do. There is a real simple down to earthiness about her and when she not investigating crime she will be worrying about her family or looking after her pets. With support characters that where simply constructed and lacked any real fascinating detail or insight into there characters or personalities.
I found this story on the short side at 256 pages as ideally I would have preferred more depth. Especially as I found the last 20 or so pages really action packed, this could easily have been expanded which would have made it more enjoyable and maybe more exciting too. It is the type of mystery that I think is ideal for a holiday light and one you can pick up every so often and then leave it. A read that is good without being too deep or thought provoking.
I thought this was a good thriller that was quite light in detail but cleverly and well written. It was the sort of mystery that as lots of possible suspects but only through a thorough investigation does the real answer appear. I would say it is well worth a read if you don't want a really involved thriller as this is quite gentle.
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Dooyoo and Ciao.
© CPT Daniels November 2011.