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Posts Tagged ‘Veronica Heley’

False Fire (An Abbot Agency Mystery)

Bea Abbot attends the birthday party of a young friend and is disturbed to see there are thirteen people round the table.  But that’s superstition and there is no need for anyone to be worried.  However the party ends in a fire and Bea and a fellow guest are alone in a dark, smoke filled house trying to rescue two young girls.

At first everyone seems disposed to blame the two girls for setting off fireworks indoors but Bea suspects something more sinister which could only have been perpetrated by an adult.  Bea finds herself trying to hold everything together in the face of sudden death and not knowing exactly who she can trust.

I had intended to only read a few chapters of this book yesterday but got totally involved in the story and kept reading until I finished it.  I like Bea Abbot as a character and as ever this author brings all the other characters vividly to life so that the reader can see into their lives and understand their motivations.

I thought the opening scenes in the fire were excellent as was the nail biting finale when Bea fights against time to rescue a group of people from the machinations of a cold blooded murderer.  Altogether this is a well written mystery with plenty of excitement which is firmly rooted in the everyday problems of feeding people in the middle of a crisis and ensuring they have somewhere to sleep as well as clean clothes to wear.

If you’ve ever wondered how amateur detectives manage to deal with the every day when they are detecting this series and the author’s Ellie Quicke series will demonstrate how it is possible to investigate crime and still feed family and guests.

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Product Details

Ellie Quicke is asked to look into a case which her friend Lesley feels could have been murder even though an inquest ruled it was accident. Poppy came from a wealthy background and her father set her up in business with her twin sister, Juno when they both married what their father considered to be unsuitable men.  They made a will in each other’s favour so that the business would remain in the surviving twin’s control if anything happened to either of them.

Ellie attends the funeral at the request of Poppy and Juno’s parents and like most onlookers sees more of the game than those involved and she quickly sums up the family and especially the twins’ husbands and their daughters.  Very soon Ellie is convinced that this was murder rather than an accident but just where has Juno disappeared to and why have her parents suddenly stopped being worried about the whole situation?

I really enjoyed reading this well plotted mystery which shows very well how many people overlook older women to their cost. There is one priceless scene in the boutique which had me chuckling and immediately re-reading it. There are other touches of humour as in the other books in this series but this one scene had me laughing out loud.  Ellie, in spite of many misgivings, manages to piece together small observations and arrives at the truth.  She has a strong belief in her own ability to read people and to pick up small pieces of information and is not afraid to tackle wrong doers, sometimes putting herself in dangerous situations.

If you enjoy cosy mysteries with a sensible and down to earth heroine which are firmly rooted in the every day world then you may enjoy this one.  The books can be read as standalone novels but are better read in the order in which they are written so that the reader can follow Ellie’s development from shy and down trodden to quietly confident.   I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

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False Money (Abbot Agency Mysteries)

Bea Abbot runs a successful domestic agency which finds staff for people, often at short notice and also takes on problems which people might not want to take to the police.  But she is adamant the agency doesn’t deal with murder – but in spite of that she still finds herself rather too often involved with a murder case.

In this well written story Chris – the teenage son of her friend CJ – asks for her help in finding out what happened to Tomi, a Nigerian girl who has gone missing after starring in a short film he has just made.

Bea finds herself dragged into a strange web of murders which at first seem to have no connection to each other but as she digs deeper she starts to uncover some connections but is not helped by the apparent pact of secrecy the group share.

I found this an entertaining read and I thought the ending was very well done.  All the series characters are here – Maggie and Oliver, Bea’s adopted children; her ex-husband Piers and of course Winston the cat.  This is a well written mystery series with something a but different from the norm.  The book can be read as a standalone novel or as part of a series.

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False Pretences (An Abbot Agency Mystery)

Bea Abbot runs her own domestic agency.  As she always says the Agency doesn’t investigate murder but somehow murder seems to find its way to her.  In this story Zander – a former boyfriend of Maggie’s – is in trouble and comes to Bea for help.  He works for the Tudor Trust which provides affordable housing in London and it looks as though one of the trustees has been working a very lucrative fiddle.

I really like this series with its regular characters, Oliver, the computer whizz and Maggie who is shaping up to be an excellent project manager.  Mr Cambridge – who appeared in a previous story – makes a welcome reappearance together with his son Chris.  Max – Bea’s son – and his wife Nicole, now heavily pregnant – also make an appearance as does Piers – Bea’s former husband and a well known portrait painter.

I found the plot intriguing and the villain satisfyingly villainous.  The computer aspects of the fraud are well done and convincing as is the way Bea manages to help Max with his problems.  I thought the characters of the Trust’s directors themselves were also well sketched in.  If you’ve ever wondered how amateur detectives fit their activities around all the everyday things which have to be done – read this book.  People eat and drink, do the shopping and the housework as well as solve mysteries.  I love this aspect of the Abbot Agency series and the Ellie Quicke Mysteries.  If you like your crime stories with not too much violence – try this book – you will not be disappointed.

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False Step (An Abbot Agency Mystery)

Bea Abbot is asked to help by Florrie Green who runs a cleaning company.  The request is rather unusual.  Bea has to stay with the dead body of one of Florrie’s clients who appears to have committed suicide.  Bea senses all is not as it appears and this niggles her even though she keeps remembering that the police accepted it was an open and shut case of suicide.

Perhaps she’d better forget all about it as she has enough domestic problems of her own what with the builders modernising her office space in the basement and her MP son Max wanting to move back with her and run his office from her living room.

With the help of assistants Oliver and Maggie Bea uncovers a web of deceit and some less than pleasant characters involved in the death of Florrie’s client.  This is a fast paced story with many interesting insights into human behaviour and some very well drawn characters.  Re-reading this series for the second time they are definitely growing on me.  If you want something a little different in the mystery genre and without on the page violence and bad language then you may enjoy the Abbot Agency series.

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False Picture (An Abbot Agency Mystery)

Bea, against her better judgement, agrees to help her friend Velma.  Unfortunately Velma has not given her all the information she needs.  Velma’s step-son has disappeared with a valuable painting by Millais belonging to his godmother who has been murdered.

Velma suspects he is the murderer and wants Bea to find him and find out the truth.  Bea’s assistants, Maggie and Oliver prove invaluable in getting to the bottom of the mystery – which is definitely not what it seems.

The fast moving plot includes a trip to Bruges and reveals Bea as someone who can rise to a challenge and think on her feet. This is an excellent story with some amusing dialogue and a very unexpected twist at the end.

It is well written with interesting characters which come to life on the page. If you wnat a crime story with not too much violence and an interesting background then you’ll love this one.

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False Charity (An Abbot Agency Mystery)

This is the first book in the Abbot Agency series.  Bea Abbot’s husband, Hamilton has died and she is returning home from New Zealand without him and with the intention of winding up the Abbot domestic agency which they ran between them.  But it seems others want her to continue with the agency and her old friend, Coral, wants her to look into a dubious charity which has failed to pay her for work she has done for them.  Then there’s Max, her son, who wants her to sell him her Kensington house at less than market value and wants to see her settled in a bungalow on the South Coast.

Bea’s dislike of having others try and organise her life for her soon asserts itself and she decides to investigate the charity with the help of Oliver and Maggie – two young people who seem to have come into her life just when she needs someone to look after. This is a well written and interesting story which introduces some of the series characters.  The investigation of the charity is very well done and I liked the clever ending.

If you have enjoyed this author’s Ellie Quicke series of mysteries then you may enjoy this one.  I found the series has grown on me.  I first read this book when it was first published and was less keen on it than the Ellie Quicke series but as the series has progressed I have enjoyed it more and more.  This is my second reading of the book and I found I enjoyed it much more this time than I did the first time round.

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