“ Paperback: 325 pages / Publisher: Berkley / Reprint: 3 Nov 2009 „
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==Synopsis of the book:==
Lois Meade is disappointed when one of the properties she owns and lets out is vacated by a couple because of a noisy rooster next door. Having tried previously to persuade the old man, Clem next door that it would be better elsewhere. The pet makes a lot of noise first thing in the morning and Lois feared she would have problems letting it out the property again. However as luck and good fortune smile down on her her elder son Douglas has just got a new job locally in Tresham and needs somewhere to live and he doesn't mind the noisy animal.
Across the road from them in Douglas Street an elderly blind lady Mrs Blairgowrie is in need to help with her cleaning. Lois runs a cleaning company 'New Brooms' and quickly arranges for a cleaner to come in regularly to help her out. However there are strange goings not only in this house but in the street in general. As the local Supermarket is robbed and very unusual items are stolen from it. This brings Inspector Cowgill in who is a great admirer of Lois who asks her to keep on eye on what is happening not only in the street but in the town as well as she with her cleaning company has excess to many properties within it.
==My thoughts on the novel:==
I have read several of the stories in this series now and I do not think my overall opinion has changed much of these crime stories. They are good quality books that I enjoy although for me they are a little pedestrian in character and as a result I think they would appeal to the more mature reader. This book was no exception to this rule and it was a well thought out story that was full of unexpected twists within it. In some ways you could describe the books leading character Lois Meade as a modern lady Miss Marple.
For me this is the type of story that is ideal as a light holiday read. I found it was cleverly written and on the face of it was a interesting crime thriller. However when I started to look a little more closely I did find on several aspects the story unlikely and hard to totally believe in. Let me give you one example Inspector Cowgill's relationship with Lois Meade. He is clearly in love with her but she tries very hard not to encourage him because she is married. Yet she is an informer for him and if her family are involved in the investigation he will try and explain and keep her happy at all costs. For me the relationship is not quite right and I feel despite his affection for me his Police work would come first.
The author Ann Purser is married to fellow English author Philip. Although it is she who has written far more novels with greater success. Having written 23 so far and 12 in the Lois Meade series. She speciality is crime fiction and I would describe her writing style as similar to Ann Granger or Anne Perry. The book I am reviewing is the eighth in the series and was originally published in 2008. I found this book on the internet and bought it second hand including delivery for two pounds eighty.
For me there was never any doubt I was going to buy it as I have enjoyed the previous stories in the series I felt this one would be no different.
However before I bought it as always I did check the summary of the story which is the same one on the author's web site as the one on the inside cover of the book itself. This I thought was very good it had a real sense of mystery about it. It was two good size paragraphs long and for me it successfully set the scene about what was happening in Tresham. It certainly made me want to read the book, the only thing I had to do was now wait for it to be delivered so that I could start reading it in earnest.
As soon as I started reading the book I found myself drawn in by it. I really liked this difficult 'old boy' Clem who was upsetting the residents in the street with his Rooster. His character really appealed to me because he was very set in his ways but always happy to help those around him, but not when it came to his beloved pet. The writing style was relaxed and I felt the story gently drifted along.
Maybe it drifted along a little to much as for me nothing much happened in the first fifty pages of the story. We were being introduced to all the key characters and seeing what events had and were effecting them. Some of these characters I already knew from previous stories in the series so it was it nice to catch up with them, while others were specifically brought in for this one. I must say I would have preferred for something important to happen earlier in the story as I did find myself waiting with anticipation for it. For me it was a question of what would happen to whom at this stage and I was surprised in this case at the whom the author selected.
I found I liked the way the story then started to develop but I did find it a little unlikely how much the Police relied on Lois and her team for help trying to solve this case. It was as if they were doing nothing about it and it was up to Lois to come up with the answers. The Police seemed very inept and it was only through the efforts of Lois, her family and her cleaning team that the case moved on. And while this was interesting and different I still found it hard to believe or except.
That aside I still found the story an interesting one. There was a real mystery about it and while it was quite obvious at an early stage who was involved it was the what was going on and why that really interested me. As there seemed no logic, link or sense to what was happening in this close-knit community and why these people would be involved in it. Although I did struggle to find much suspense within the story when certain things happened I could not believe them as I found the bad guys in this story totally inept and could not believe how incompetent they really where.
Even the ending I found a little hard to believe. I liked the way it was done and once explained I understand it all. All the pieces seemed to fit together but it was not the exciting conclusion I had hoped for. Instead it was a bit of a farce and was in some ways in keeping to how I had come to perceive the bad people within the story.
Lois Meade is the series lead character and is one it is easy to like and admire. And while I do not think I particularly relate to her she is still a formidable personality. For me things always seem a little to easy for her, her life is too comfortable. In may ways I prefer some of the other supporting characters she has created who seem to be struggling in relationships or with other personal problems. And while the author tries very hard to add spice and danger into her life I still feel there is a gentleness about this and nothing serious will ever happen to her or her family.
The stories length I felt was about right to tell an interesting if not riveting story. Yes it had the potential for this as the author had created some good character and some excellent concepts but failed to exploit them as she could have done. As a result we were left with a good light read that was very broken up by the over used fifty-seven chapters. And while the author's descriptions of the scenes and the characters were always good and insightful I still felt a little more depth would have helped sell the story.
For me this was a good crime thriller and one I would recommend to fans of this type of book. It would appeal to those who like quite a light read that is not going to unduly tax them. It was a well thought out story that had some good twists within it. Although I still struggle with the fact that the books leading character, her family and her cleaners seem to do far more than the Police to solve crime in this town.
Year first Published: 2008
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
© CPTDANIELS November 2012.