Books so good they are worth posting about again
Title/Author: Meddling With Murder / Ellie Campbell
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Across The Pond Press
Date of publish: April 2016
Crouch End Confidential, the agency started by housewife and mother, Cathy O’Farrell, with ex-cleaner, Pimple is failing badly. Hardly surprising when Cathy’s too soft-hearted to charge their only clients, little old ladies seeking lost pets and a school kid searching for his stolen bike.
A new case involving a teenager in possession of an unexplained Glock pistol promises to change all that. Quickly Cathy’s deep in waters over her head, forced with hilarious results to pose as a mathematics tutor, a subject of which she’s truly clueless. There’s also the tricky situation of best friend and new mother Rosa hiring her to investigate her fiancé, Alec, plus the mysterious sabotage of Cathy’s friends’ cycle shop and a gang of yobbos dealing drugs at her children’s primary school.
Worst of all, an ill-fated trip to rural Norfolk has Cathy’s husband, Declan, intent on buying a post office and transplanting the family to safer climes, threatening to tear Cathy permanently from her beloved North London home.
Pretty soon Cathy’s risking her friendships, her marriage and even her life untangling all these messes. But that’s what you get for meddling in murder…
Cathy and her friend Pimple have a neighborhood business with which they help neighbors with confidential issues. Thus far it hasn’t been much more than helping elderly clients find missing pets or a schoolboy with a missing bike. When Cathy accepts a job to help find a missing dog that isn’t actually missing, she finds she might actually have more going on than she can handle. Her friends are pulling her in many directions and her husband is thinking of moving to the country to avoid the crime, murder and drug use that has suddenly spiked in their quiet neighborhood. Cathy realizes that her cases and the crime spree may have a connection but can she find it before someone gets hurt?
This isn’t a typical cozy story. The story line is quite original. While Cathy, does fit the mold of the determined small business owner woman out to prove herself, she really is just a middle aged wife and mom who is trying to make ends meet a little better with some self employment. She is a woman that I think many readers will identify with.
The plot, which of course includes a murder to be solved, doesn’t revolve around the murder itself. The mystery has many disparate seeming lines that keep the story moving and tie together beautifully at the end.
My son once interviewed a fire captain and the question that everyone wanted the boy to ask was whether he had actually ever rescued a cat from a tree. Turns out that he had, twice. As I read the opening of this book I had to laugh as I wondered if he ever had been called out to rescue a mom rescuing a cat from a tree. The rest of the book, even through its serious moments, kept me laughing. As the story progressed, the situation seemed typically Cathy as she put herself into and got out one humorously awkward predicament after another. I snickered at how ineffective her attempt at disguising herself was. I actually guffawed at the waitress calling her out for a fib about her Twitter followers. Cathy and her diverse group of friends were quite fun and I would enjoy spending more time with them in the future.
Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym for sister writing team, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell.