Review: 'Meddling with Murder' by Ellie Campbell (2016)
Crouch End Confidential, the agency started by housewife, Cathy O’Farrell, with ex-cleaner Pimple, is failing badly. Hardly surprising when their only clients are little old ladies seeking lost pets. Until the strange case of the missing dog…
Soon Cathy’s multiple problems include stolen bikes, a possible murder weapon, the sabotage of her friends’ new shop, drug-dealing yobbos targeting her children’s primary school and being forced to pose as the world’s most inept maths tutor. Worse, best friend Rosa hires her to investigate fiancé Alec and – horrors – Cathy’s husband Declan is intent on moving himself, Cathy and kids to the safer climes of rural Norfolk. Suddenly Cathy is endangering her marriage, friendships and her life to untangle these messes. But that’s what you get for meddling with murder…
A few years ago I was contacted by author Ellie Campbell, which is actually a pseudonym for sisters Pam and Lorraine, with a review request for their novel 'To Catch a Creeper.' I have to admit I wasn't too sure at first whether this would really be a read for me, but I am glad I gave it a chance because it turned out to be quite the entertaining mix of women's fiction with mystery/detective elements. Since then I've also read 'Looking for La La' (click here to read my review) and today I've got a review of the latest instalment of the Crouch End Confidential series to share with all of you, 'Meddling with Murder', which was released on the 9th of April. I looked forward to reading the third part of the series and hoped I'd enjoy it just as much as the others!
Cathy O'Farrell has started her own detective agency with her friend and ex-cleaner Pimple, titled Crouch End Confidential, but business isn't quite booming. The only clients they seem to attract are people who have either lost their pets or their bikes; not the exciting cases Cathy had been hoping for. However, all of a sudden strange things start to happen, including the appearance of drug dealers at the local primary school and the discovery of an actual gun in the closet of one of her new clients. While Cathy has a lot of things to look into, her husband Declan on a whim decides it might be a good idea to move the whole family to the countryside and her best friend Rosa needs Cathy to spy on her boyfriend whom she doesn't trust anymore. Crouch End Confidential is definitely in business, but will Cathy be able to tackle both the detective work and everything going on in her personal life at the same time?
Ellie Campbell's 'Crouch End Confidential' series is a thoroughly entertaining book series, and definitely one that keeps getting better with each part, in my opinion. 'Meddling with Murder' is the third instalment and I highly recommend reading the other parts of the series first, just so you know what's been going on with these characters from the start. Main character Cathy has set up her own detective agency which leads to quite a few surprising and interesting events. I really enjoyed the several well-drawn plotlines in this book; there was something going on at all times, from Cathy's detective cases to things in her personal life, which made me want to read on and not put the book down.
While the plot was linked together in a great and surprising way, with the story being unpredictable and fast-paced, I did feel there were just a few too many characters in the book. I also noticed this in the earlier parts of the series; I found it difficult to remember all the names and keep the characters apart from one another, and I don't think all of them were really crucial to the story. However, the book is still a great one and I'm already excited for Ellie Campbell's next read! Overall, 'Meddling with Murder' is a fast-paced, entertaining and well-written third part of the 'Crouch End Confidential' series; a great mix of women's fiction and detective/mystery and a fun series worth picking up!