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Posts Tagged ‘amateur detective’

There’s been so much hype around this book that before reading it, I was worried that I might be disappointed. I wasn’t! This is such an enjoyable and clever book, which was a genuine pleasure to dive into.

In a sleepy retirement village, four pensioners hold a weekly murder club, where they study past unsolved murders and try to work out who might have committed them. It’s a bit of fun and keeps their brains active, but when they suddenly find themselves very close to an actual murder, they decide to put their skills to work investigating who the killer is. Leader of the group is the indomitable Elizabeth, newest member Joyce is the reader’s portal to how their investigation is going, as part of the novel is made up of her diary excerpts. Ron, a former rebel rouser who loves to kick back against authority, and the suave pilates-obsessed Ibrahim, retired psychiatrist, make up the quartet.

I’m not going to say too much about the actual murder itself, but I will say that there were plenty of twists and turns, some genuinely funny moments, and some moments of genuine pathos. All of the people who live in the retirement village have either lost loved ones, or are faced with the prospect, and are all well aware of their own mortality. But they are all spirited, and determined to help solve a crime.

The two police officers in the story – PC Donna de Freitas, and DCI Chris Hudson – are also great characters. So often in stories featuring amateur detectives, the police can be made to look incompetent, but that is not the case here; the police themselves are diligent and resourceful and clearly good at their jobs.

Anyway – there’s a sequel in the works, and a film apparently on the way, and I am looking forward to both. Highly recommended.

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This is the first book in the Cape Bay Cafe series, and it definitely falls into the cozy murder mystery category. It introduces us to Francesca Amaro, who, following a broken engagement and the death of her mother, has moved back to the sleepy seaside town of Cape Bay, Massachusetts, from her high powered life in New York. Francesca runs the Antonia’s Coffee Shop – previously run by her grandparents and then her mother – which serves the best coffee in town.

When Mr Cardosi, the father of her childhood friend Matt, is murdered, Francesca and Matt set out to solve the crime and bring the perpetrator to justice. Along the way there are hints of romance, a colourful cast of local characters, and lots of talk of sweet treats!

I listened to this as an audiobook, narrated by Marguerite Gavin, who did a great job. The story is told in the first person and while the romance part is fairly predictable, the mystery part did keep me guessing and there were plenty of red herrings. I really enjoyed listening to this story. I had to suspend my disbelief quite a lot, as Francesca had a habit of jumping to conclusions based on very little, but both she and Matt were very likeable characters, and sometimes you need something that just makes you smile and is easy to listen to. Coming in at under 5 hours, it’s probably half the length of an average novel, and for this reason, once we have been introduced to Francesca and her background, the story rattles along at a nice pace.

If you are a fan of the genre, I highly recommend giving this book a try, and I look forward to reading the next one in the series.

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