Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery

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Please ring your man and get my keys back. Please take a seat. She was surprised at herself for even thinking such a thing. There is also her late husband's equally demanding Aunt Drusilla who keeps phoning her with imperious instructions: "There's a nasty smell in the larder. That woman of mine never does it properly. At least you can be trusted to use some disinfectant on the job.

Don't be late! She was not going to turn herself into a drudge for Aunt Drusilla. No way. She had never liked the old bat, didn't see why she should put herself out for now. Besides, she was planning to go into the charity shop tomorrow. Feeling both guilty and is elated, she rang Aunt Drusilla back. I'm sorry, but I can't come round tomorrow.

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I'm due at the charity shop. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but for the next few days I'm going to be rather tied up She is realistic about her late husband too.

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Much as though she misses him, she admits to herself that "Life with Frank was not a bed of roses. He was a good man but he always thought he was right about everything. Ellie is nothing if not observant, as when she who demands to see the identification papers of a man who claims to work for the gas board and is trying to get into her house to check out a non-existent gas leak. You've got the butt end of the cigarette lodged behind your right ear So where are your papers? It is not always entirely convincing as when Ellie and her neighbour are nearly blown up by a booby-trapped car, or when Ellie knocks out an intruder with a frying pan.

But it is entertaining and easy to read. Murder by Suicide Murder by Suicide describes how Ellie Quicke, who has been a widow for just three months now, gets involved in the search for the writer s of poison pen letters that have started to spread through the parish, and are to lead to much suffering and anguish - even death. Ellen acquires a new admirer, Roy Bartrick, a newly retired successful architect who is a newcomer to the area.

He is one of several suitors but the only one who gets as far as slipping his hand under her skirt. She then discovers that her late husband's Aunt Drusilla is not the near pauper that she always claimed to be , but the owner of a whole block of flats which she had purchased one by one. Drusilla would like her to look after these flats, but it is her well-nigh impossible daughter Diana, not Ellie, who really wants the job. It all starts by being both realistic and interesting, but then D iana gets so upleasant to her mother that it begins to pass belief: she bullies her remorsessly, even reorganising her house without her agreement, throws out her mother's vital papers as well as some of her old kitchen utensils, and moves her furniture out of her bedroom so that she and her husband can use it.

She also aggressively questions her mother's suitors as to their intentions! The final straw comes when she holds a wild party in her mother's house, so that even Ellie can put up with it no more. Ellie finds that "Praying helped. Offering up a voice in the choir helped, too. She would survive. What with the pressing demands of Diana, and Roy, and other potential suitors, she has a busy time of things, and all this is described in an amusing way. In fact, it gets quite farcical at times, what with her doorbell constantly ringing and potential suitors finding themselves almost piling on top of each other.

The plot, though, turns out to be quite slight, and eventually struggles to hold the interest. We get brief descriptions of the poison-pen writer s at work inserted in italics, a device that works quite well here, but gets less effective when repeated in later books. Then Ellie is sent a "wax effigy of a woman clad in blue with a silvery thatch on her head. A long pin secured a drawing of a crab onto its torso. A crowd meant cancer, didn't it? Someone hated her enough to wish her dead of cancer. And as a result, she almost gets murdered by a mad woman.

This conclusion seems quite over the top and altogether too melodramatic.

Murder by suspicion: an Ellie Quicke mystery

It just does not fit in with the author's cosy story-telling style. Murder of Innocence Murder of Innocence describes how widow Ellie Quicke is devastated to discover that year-old Tod, who often used to visit her to play on her computer and be fed by her while his single mother was away at work, has disappeared. Police and neighbours are convinced that Gus, a pathetic homeless man, is responsible, and when Ellie takes him in, she too becomes the target of prejudice.

It is Ellie who soon discovers where the unconscious, beaten and sodomised Tod has taken refuge, and eventually tracks down his true attacker. It makes a gripping story, and Ellie herself, often feeling beleaguered on all sides, attracts the reader's sympathy and understanding. It is full of surprises too, although some of them like the melodramatic finale, or the way that police and social services seems so little involved with Tod's immediate welfare, or the way that he is kidnapped twice, are hard to believe.

As is the way that Ellie tracks down the attacker simply by visiting a series of local stamp collectors, eliminating from her suspect list the ones that seem to have children in the house. But there are some really entertaining incidents as when Ellie withstands her aggressive daughter Diana's plan to move into her house, vanquishes her determined attempt to impose a bullying "carer" on old aunt Drusilla, and questions whether Frank, her late husband, had really ever promised to leave a million pounds, as the church treasurer claims, to build a new church hall.

Ellie herself seems very real, as when she "began to weep She was so angry with Frank for dying and leaving her. She wanted to scream with rage.

Murder in Time

And loss. He left a great big black hole in her life. Every now and then she dived into that hole, pulled the covers over her head and let herself go. He should have taken more care of himself.

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He should have listened to her, had check-ups regularly. It served him right that she wasn't going to build a hall to perpetuate his name If she'd known he was squirreling away all that money, she'd have suggested they spent some of it on themselves for a change. Perhaps a world cruise. She would quite like to see New Zealand, where she had a cousin.

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Bother Frank! Oh, how could he go and leave her? When her admirer Roy tells her that she can't possibly allow Gus, the homeless alcoholic, to remain in her house, she replies, "You sound just like my dear dead husband. Only, he's gone and left me and I don't like being bullied, even by Roy. Roy means well, I know, and part of me would love to fall at his feet and cling to his knees and have a little weep and have my shoulder patted and be told, There, there, now; you poor little thing, let me take care of you.

The other half wants to use a very rude word to him. She said, "Sit down, Roy.

Murder in Time | Veronica Heley | | NetGalley

You're giving me a crick in my neck, looking up at you. She could see he had decided to turn on the charm. It was supposed to reduce her to a simpering heap of pliant womanhood. Unfortunately it reduced to the giggles. She is much less assured and convincing when it comes to describing violence and perversion, and typically, follows the melodramatic finale with Ellie's cat, Midge, making a beeline for a buffet.

Even so, this is one of the better books in the series. Murder by Accident Murder by Accident starts with a big surprise: it seems that Aunt Drusilla has met her death in an electrical accident. But is it credible that such an experienced author should dispose of one of her most lively and interesting characters in this way?

Not in this sort of cosy story, anyway.

Murder in House

But someone has died and the police become suspicious of both her and, particularly, her daughter Diana, who has now taken up with the unscrupulous house agent Mr. Jolley and is planning, as always, to get her hands on Aunt Drusilla's money. It is Ellie who eventually works out which of Drusilla's acquaintances have motives for attacking her. It is a wide field because Drusilla demanded very high standards from her work-people and always "enjoyed arguments", so had upset many of them.

Drusilla herself is, despite her apparent death, still "extremely intelligent".

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Diana had never been that good at getting up in the morning. We get frequent interruptions in italics from the unidentified crooks , and, as a literary device this gets increasingly tedious. But there are some really amusing incidents as when one of two questioning police officers repeatedly addresses Drusilla as "Dearie" until he is firmly put in its place.

Ellie herself continues to develop as a character. As her friend Kate tells her, "Over the last six months you have changed a lot. You've stopped being a downtrodden housewife who thinks men always know best, and become a personage in your own right. If Jesus was here, He knew all about it and would forgive her wandering mind Ellie eased herself to her feet, and looked up at the cross on the altar.

That was her fault, she knew. Not His. The climax, in which Ellie confronts a gang of hooligans, is the least convincing part of the plot. It provides too glib and cosy an ending to a generally entertaining story. Murder in the Garden Murder in the Garden tells how the skeleton of a girl is found buried in the neglected garden next door to Ellie's.

The owners of the house, who are friends of Ellie, are appalled, and the police cannot identify who the victim is. Ellie has to dredge her memory about previous occupants of the house before she finally identifies who it must be.

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Meanwhile the killers whose actions are again inter-cut throughout in brief passages printed in italics haunt the vicinity, determined to find somebody else, such as Ellie or her dead husband, on whom to pin the murder. Ellie herself is an engaging character, and the author gets the old-fashioned neighbourly Anglican background just right. Characters, like the local vicar, Thomas, "known to his intimates as Tum-Tum because of his rounded figure" are described with real affection. It is he who "knew what she needed better than she did" and gave her the key to the church so that she could slip in to pray, although "She didn't know what to pray about in the present situation.

God knew all about it, of course.

Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery
Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery
Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery
Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery
Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery
Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery Murder in Time: An Ellie Quicke British murder mystery

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