Monday, October 15, 2012

I had time to sit down over the weekend and enjoy a trip to Taviscombe, England thanks to Amazon and Hazel Holt.  I have been reading about Sheila Malory and her friend, Rosemary since 1989 when Ms Holt began writing this series. In fact, I enjoy them so much that I own every book in the series as I like to "re read" them every now and then. I know there are some people who are finished with a book when the last page is turned but I like to go back and visit certain books. I guess that is why my bookshelves are full.

I have to admit that this installment of the Mrs Malory mysteries was not as good as previous books. Ms Holt is 84 years old and I have to wonder if someone else is not helping her with her books these days. The "flow" of the book was a bit off and it took me all weekend to get through it. Usually I devour these books in no time at all.

The premise of the series is similar to Murder She Wrote, Miss Marple and other cozy mysteries. Sheila Malory is a 60 something widow who was born and bred in the small village of Taviscombe. She has a son who is a lawyer(or barrister as they say over there). For a small village, Taviscombe has a lot of murders and Sheila is the person who helps the police figure out who done it! At the beginning of the series, Sheila was in her 50s, recently widowed and son Michael was at university.  Sheila's lifelong friend, Rosemary, is another important character in the books, especially as her son in law is a local policeman. But my favorite secondary character is Rosemary's mother, Mrs Dudley. This elderly lady has all the"dirt" on everyone in Taviscombe and is who Sheila turns to when her investigations hit a brick wall. Over the years, Michael grows up marries Thea and they have a daughter named Alice. So the books cover quite a few years. This series gives you a great look at what I am sure is a vanishing village life in England. Sheila spends most of her time going to parish meetings and doing other good deeds while solving crimes in her village. They are such cozy books....the characters have tea and Victorian Sponge Cake, Sheila and Rosemary throw diets to the wind and eat cream cakes at the local eatery, they go to church, and attend committee meetings.   All the things I love to read about!

I have also noted that many of Ms Holt's books are being re released with new names!! One reviewer on Amazon was quite upset as she thought she had a "New" book by one of her favorite authors and alas she had already read this mystery years ago.   If you are looking for a good mystery, check out the first Mrs Malory book, Mrs Malory Investigates then read the series in order. You will enjoy them!

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