Series: Crouch End Confidential
Publisher: Across the Pond
Release Date: 9th April 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Crouch End Confidential, the agency started by housewife, Cathy O’Farrell, with ex-cleaner Pimple, is failing badly. Hardly surprising when their only clients are little old ladies seeking lost pets. Until the strange case of the missing dog…
Soon Cathy’s multiple problems include stolen bikes, a possible murder weapon, the sabotage of her friends’ new shop, drug-dealing yobbos targeting her children’s primary school and being forced to pose as the world’s most inept maths tutor. Worse, best friend Rosa hires her to investigate fiancé Alec and – horrors – Cathy’s husband Declan is intent on moving himself, Cathy and kids to the safer climes of rural Norfolk. Suddenly Cathy is endangering her marriage, friendships and her life to untangle these messes. But that’s what you get for meddling with murder…
ARC Book Review:Meddling With Murder by Ellie Campbell has us meeting Cathy O' Farrell whom we first met in Looking For La La and who is now the proud owner along with her friend and ex-cleaner, Pimple, of a private investigating agency named 'Crouch End Confidential Agency' that was at one time called 'Helping People Who Would Otherwise Commit Suicide.'
Committed to solving mysteries, Cathy is struggling to make a living and only getting cases of missing pets and bicycles where clients are not in a very paying position. But all this changes when she gets the case of the missing dog. Soon she is juggling danger, solving several small mysteries and even trying to balance her marriage which seems to have taken a bad turn.
I have enjoyed the books by the writing duo of Pam and Lorraine who write under the name Ellie Campbell before and was very excited when they told me about their latest cozy mystery. Promising funny, relatable and sometimes rambling but always genuine characters and a good mystery, I was not disappointed by this book.
The cover is very vivid and appealing. The blurb is interesting but could have been a better initial showcase to the lovely story. The title is intriguing and together these three will surely attract the readers towards the book.
The book starts with our middle age mom investigator, Cathy dangling from a tree while rescuing a cat for her client while the children fear for her safety and call the fire fighters. This opening scene had me dissolving in giggles while also feeling camaraderie for Cathy who is just so sweet, sometimes rambling when she is nervous, simple and so shy that she is often unable to ask her clients to pay her for all her hard work. She somewhat reminded me of myself when I feel awkward asking for payment for the hard work I put for my clients. She soon became a beloved character for me and I know I will be watching out for more books with her in them.
Pimple, on the other hand, is a hard nosed businesswoman with her shrewd planning and frank business dealing skills.
I enjoyed the other ladies also in this book who are all very individual in their personalities and had me eager to read their own stories in the future.
The plot is conceived and executed admirably and the authors had me engaged right from the start. The initial part of the story is a bit slow but never gets boring. The story then picks up pace and has the reader following Cathy and Pimple as they tackle several small mysteries which all are then beautifully connected by the authors and had me feeling impressed by their skill at stumping the reader with their solution.
The setting of the story is meticulously and expertly sketched and I could visualize the small town where Cathy and Pimple live with its close knit community with their common problems, simple daily routines and everyday worries of saving their kids from drugs, earning enough, balancing work with personal life, planning friendly meets with friends and so on with a few mysterious events thrown in between.
I stayed glued to my seat throughout the story and loved every minute of reading it. A lovely, engaging cozy mystery which makes us laugh, have fun but also exercises our intelligence in solving the mystery, I loved reading Meddling With Murder by Ellie Campbell and give it 4.5 out of 5 and recommend it to all lovers of cozy mysteries.
I received an ARC from the authors and I am very thankful to them. The above review is my honest and unbiased opinion and in no way influenced.
Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym for sisters, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell, who write together from their respective homes in Surrey, England (Pam) and Colorado, USA (Lorraine). After years of selling short stories independently, they began their Ellie Campbell collaboration with a first novel, How To Survive Your Sisters, followed by When Good Friends Go Bad, Looking For La La, To Catch A Creeper and Million Dollar Question. They write contemporary women's fiction laced with humour, romance, and mystery. Meddling With Murder is their 6th novel and follows Looking For La La and To Catch A Creeper in the funny, cozy ‘Crouch End Confidential’ mystery series.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ecampbellbooksGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EllieCampbell