Author : J.M. Hall
Title : A Spoonful of Murder
Pages : 400
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : March 17, 2022
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Every Thursday, three retired school teachers have their ‘coffee o’clock’ sessions at the Thirsk Garden Centre café.
But one fateful week, as they are catching up with a slice of cake, they bump into their ex-colleague, Topsy.
By the next Thursday, Topsy’s dead.
The last thing Liz, Thelma and Pat imagined was that they would become involved in a murder.
But they know there’s more to Topsy’s death than meets the eye – and it’s down to them to prove it…
| MY THOUGHTS |
Honestly, cosy crime isn’t usually something I lean towards. With a notable exception of Richard Osman’s series, which is one of my favourites. However, I tend to prefer my crime fiction on the dark and gruesome side and I’m always really happy to return to that, even after Osman. ‘A Spoonful of Murder‘ tempted me with its delightful cover and title. Luckily for me, the inside was just as delightful and I would quite happily read more of it.
In ‘A Spoonful of Murder‘ we meet Liz, Pat and Thelma. Three retired schoolteachers who meet up with each other every Thursday (and there’s a completely believable reasoning behind why it has to be a Thursday) for cake, coffee and a chat about children and grandchildren. But then a former colleague is found dead and their weekly meetings turn a little something darker. Because Topsy may have died looking all peaceful and whatnot in her comfy chair, the three friends know deep down there’s a lot more to it than that. Now they just have to prove it.
These three ladies will capture your heart from the very beginning. All three are very different but they also compliment each other, and their friendship just works. Often as I was reading, I was thinking about how much fun it would be to pull up a chair and join them at their table for a wee cup and a natter. Not that retirement sounds like a bed of roses. Pat knows there’s something troubling her youngest son Liam but can’t figure out what it is, for Liz it is her grandson who’s causing worry, and Thelma may be childless but she has things going on in her head that aren’t easy to deal with.
Then Topsy dies and it’s not only the friends’ lives that are turned around because the story itself suddenly deals with a more complex societal issue with regards to the elderly and how they are taken advantage of. Especially those who are considered extremely frail, possibly suffering from dementia. Up pops an entire array of, quite frankly, despicable people who don’t even think twice in ripping off the vulnerable. This ranges from the builder who offers to do jobs that don’t need doing for a lot of money, to the seemingly helpful voice on the phone from “your bank” who wants to help move your hard-earned money, to tons and tons of junk mail promising all sorts of things. As Thelma often wonders, when there are no children, who will look after the senior citizen trying to navigate this minefield? Before you know it, your cosy crime story ends up being a lot more thought-provoking than you envisaged at the start.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. ‘A Spoonful of Murder‘ is oftentimes fabulously witty and I absolutely adored these characters, who managed to make me chuckle out loud. Watching them being pushed out of their comfort zone was quite entertaining and I think the author really managed to portray it wasn’t always easy for them. Sure they want to find out the truth about what happened to Topsy but there’s also this reluctance, this feeling that maybe they shouldn’t be getting involved in things they know nothing about.
I had a pretty good idea about what had happened to Topsy early on but there is something else surrounding the mystery of her death that left me with a list of suspects I was unable to narrow down. So, what started out as being completely bedazzled by a lovely cover actually ended up in a couple of hours of truly entertaining reading. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with these lovely ladies and if they were ever to set out on another murder investigation, I’d quite happily join them on that mission. Grab yourself a cup of tea and a nice, warm blanket because if cosy crime is your thing, I think you will enjoy ‘A Spoonful of Murder‘ too.
With thanks to Avon UK for the advanced review copy, which I received via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
A Spoonful of Murder will be published on Thursday.