Monday 19 January 2015

Murder at the Maples by Joanne Phillips : Review

Murder at the Maples by Joanne Phillips (Flora Lively Investigates #1)

Synopsis: A tragic death. A reluctant sleuth. A childhood prank that went horribly wrong.
When Flora Lively inherits her father’s business she’s totally out of her depth. Shakers Removals is in trouble, and manager Marshall isn’t helping one bit – the ex-pat American delights only in winding her up. But Flora has other things on her mind, like Joy: surrogate grandmother and resident of the Maples Retirement Village. When Joy’s pet pug has a brush with death, Flora is pulled into a series of bizarre incidents at the Maples, where fear is starting to take hold.

My Review: I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it was a delightful, intriguing mystery. The main character Flora Lively reminded me of a young Jean Brodie and Miss Marple. Flora is desperate to do the right thing and continue to successfully run the family home removals business 'Shakers' since the death of her parents.  She refuses to accept the help of Marshall the manger who her father trusted.  Flora's lack of decision making around the family business had me virtually shouting at her, just let Marshall get on with the job and stop getting in the way of his ideas!  I loved the relationship between these two characters, everyone but Flora seemed notice there is something between the two.

Whilst Joy a surrogate grandmother to Flora has settled into life at The Maples Retirement Home, things are not as they appear. Are the residents of The Maples safe, is Joy safe, is the dog safe? I liked the relationship Flora built with the older characters at the retirement home, it showed a caring, thoughtful and kind side in such a young person. I must admit that Joy did remind me of my aunt, who can be rather stubborn and cantankerous if people get in her way. I really felt for Flora when she was faced with the dilemma of trusting and believing what Joy was telling her, or doubting whether Joy was getting herself confused. 

Flora with the help of Marshall, her Uncle, Joy and Otto the dog dig into the past of Felix a new resident at the Maples. Or do the answers lie with the manager of the Maples and a local corrupt solicitor.   I was a little surprised by Joy's past that sweet old lady has something of a dark secret.

It was such a delight reading this book as it is based in Shropshire, which is where I live, it really did add to my enjoyment having visited many of the locations particularly the Cliff Railway at Bridgnorth. A thoroughly enjoyable cosy mystery read, I can not wait to read the next in the Flora Lively Investigates series, which according to Joanne Phillips will be out soon.

I gave this book 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads where it currently has an average of 3.52 stars.

To find out more about the book or the author Joanne Phillips visit the following links.
Goodreads   ~  Amazon


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