by Sandra Murphy
This week we have a double header from mystery author Ann Purser. We have reviews of Found Guilty at Five & Scandal at Six. Details on how to win copies of both at the end of this post.
Scandal at Six
Lois Meade is at it again with the help of Police Inspector Cowgill, semi-retired. This time things are much closer to home. Her daughter’s small grocery shop and apartment above are suddenly infested with exotic rodents and reptiles. There is a zoo nearby, but how did the creatures get out to all find their way to the same place? It’s downright creepy, which also describes the zoo’s director.
There’s a suspicious death at the zoo and when the director’s housekeeper quits and threatens to tell what she knows, she’s oh-so-conveniently attacked by one of the animals when she stops by to speak to one of the keepers. Why would she enter a cage after quitting because she’s afraid?
There’s a seemingly nice guy making the rounds of the shops with flyers about performances his group is putting on. He’d like to rent the apartment over the store and finally does, but once moved in, doesn’t seem to spend much time there.
Lois can’t seem to find a motive or suspects other than the wacky zoo director and really what would be his motive? The reptiles and small animals are expensive and rare–why risk them? Things just get more and more complicated until Lois has to ask for help from some of her housecleaning crew–is she doing the right thing or putting them in danger?
This is the thirteenth book in the series, and there are Ivy Beasley mysteries (The Sleeping Salesman Enquiry reviewed for KRL). It’s nice to see older women investigating without falling into the nosy Miss Marple syndrome. I suspect I’ll have to go back and read them all, from the beginning.
Found Guilty at Five
Lois Meade reminds herself that when her daughter marries, she’s gaining a son rather than losing a daughter. It doesn’t help much. For the wedding, Lois’ younger son, Jamie, shows up with his performance partner. Jamie is a pianist and Akiko plays the cello in accompaniment.
They have a rare few days off the concert schedule and stay to visit. Unfortunately, Akiko’s cello is stolen from Jamie’s car while it’s sitting right in the drive! Who would want it, valuable as it is, what would they do with it? How did they manage to get away without any noise?
That’s the least of their worries though because Akiko soon follows her cello so to speak and disappears herself.
Jamie is sure she’s been kidnapped, Lois is not so sure but willing to help in any way she can. She gets in touch with semi-retired Police Inspector Cowgill, uncle of Lois’ new son-in-law and the hunt is on. Cowgill is somewhat besotted with Lois. Everyone knows it; no one speaks of it. Cowgill himself admits if Lois’ husband were suddenly out of the picture, he’d be more apt to run than to pursue Lois.
The mystery is a good one with twists and turns that are unexpected but not out of the question. The characters are delightful, especially Gran, who lives with Lois and rules the house. After all, she’s in charge of meals and “she who cooks, rules.”
While British mysteries are not the first I reach for, this series has got me hooked. Look for a review of the next book, Scandal at Six, available in hardcover above. There’s an excerpt of it at the back of this book.
To enter to win a copy of both Ann Purser books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Purser,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 18, 2014. U.S. residents only.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.