Thursday, March 17, 2022

A Spoonful of Murder by J.M. Hall

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Book Summary

Retirement can be murder…

Every Thursday, three retired schoolteachers 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…

Sit down with a cup of tea, a slice of cake and this perfectly witty, page-turning cosy crime novel. Fans of The Thursday Murder Club, Death in Paradise and Midsomer Murders will be hooked from the very first page.

My Thoughts

A Spoonful of Murder is the debut novel of J.M. Hall.  It is a British cozy mystery featuring three kind, smart, and curious protagonists who have extra time on their hands since they retired.  I wanted to like this British cozy, but I found it hard to read.  I felt like I was in the middle of a tornado twisting round and round.  That is what this book felt like to me.  The writing style is the problem.  The author is overly descriptive, the pacing is slow, and it is hard to tell which character is talking (they all sounded alike to me).  There was also too much repetition (because of the switching viewpoint and memories issues).  The first two-thirds of the book is slow going with the pacing picking up toward the end as the mystery reaches its climax.  We follow Liz, Thelma, and Pat as they go about their day-to-day activities plus work to solve the mystery.  We are privy to their thoughts about on their lives, families, and friends (with it often being in parenthesis which is distracting and further slows down the pace).  We are introduced to a multitude of people with many of them having nothing to do with the mystery.  

The author tried to make the mystery complex with multiple red herrings and subplots.  By the end of the first chapter, I knew who would die and the identity of the killer.  I can understand having a red herring or two, but the author went overboard.  The mystery was nicely wrapped up at the end.   It is carefully explained how Topsy died and how the killer accomplished the deed.  We also are privy as to how the three amateur sleuths pieced together the clues.  There are several themes in A Spoonful of Murder that includes elder care, dementia, aging, elder financial fraud, parenting, and childlessness.  I like the close friendship between Liz, Thelma, and Pat.  I liked the humor scattered throughout the story.   II felt, though, that the author missed the mark with this cozy.  A Spoonful of Murder should have been a light cozy mystery with plenty of humor and warm characters. The book felt long and drawn out.  I wanted to like A Spoonful of Murder, but it was hard as the story jumped from issue to issue and character to character.  I found it a chore to complete this book.  While A Spoonful of Murder was not for me, I suggest you obtain a sample to judge for yourself.  A Spoonful of Murder is an eventful British cozy with coffee klatches, financial fraud, a difficult death, muddled memories, and firm friends.

A Spoonful of Murder is available from Amazon UK.  A Spoonful of Murder is not currently available in the United States (here is the link for the Amazon US page).  Thank you for dropping by today and reading my review.  I am featuring Poison at the Village Show by Catherine Coles tomorrow.  A New Start for the Wrens by Vicki Beeby came out today.  It is the first novel in The Wrens series.  I will tell you more about this historical novel on March 19.  I hope that you have a lucky day and enjoy your St. Patrick's Day.  Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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