Sunday, October 20, 2013

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: Murder At The Maples

Book Details
• Murder at the Maples (A Flora Lively Mystery: Book 1)
• Mirrorball Books (September 16, 2013)
• Genre: Cozy mystery
• Number of Pages: 274

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.

Could harmless old Mr. Felix really be the boy from Joy’s past, determined to exact his revenge, or is it Joy’s guilty mind playing tricks on her? And what about the Captain’s death? Accidents happen, even to the most careful people, but Flora’s not convinced the old man simply fell down the stairs … Playing detective seemed like a good idea at first, but before long Flora realises the stakes are far higher than either she or Joy imagined.

Full of warmth and humour, this gripping puzzle will appeal to fans of M. C. Beaton and Edie Clare.

Review: I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about Murder At The Maples when I started reading it. Flora and I just didn't click and Joy's backstory troubled me. (I really have issues with anything that involves an animal getting hurt). But I kept on reading and I was really glad that I did.

About mid-way through the book, Flora comes into her own as a sleuth and it becomes more of a good cozy mystery and there are a lot of things going on at The Maples Retirement Village that would have red flags going off.

The book has a lot going for it, with the characters at The Maples and at Shakers, especially Marshall, Flora's manager that you'll come to see she has a love/hate relationship. Her boyfriend Heston, the librarian (love a male librarian) and the dog Otto!

There's also a mystery within a mystery. What's happening at The Maples...starting with the Captain's death, which doesn't seem quite right, and then there's Joy and her paranoia about that event from her teenage years. (That in itself makes me shudder)

Flora takes awhile to come around to Joy's way of thinking. Things really come to a head when they plan to move Joy to the 3 floor..the special needs floor of the retirement community. (The Maples reminds me of that Britcom Waiting For God)

There's a good mixture of Flora's personal life, with her moving company, as well as the mystery at the Maples to give the story balance. 

Though it started out slow for me, this book really wowed me in the end.

Rating: 4 flowers

About The Author Joanne Phillips lives in Shropshire, England with her husband and young daughter. She’s the author of commercial women’s fiction Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap, and the Flora Lively series of cosy mysteries. Can’t Live Without was an Amazon top 100 bestseller in 2012 and her books regularly appear on category bestseller lists. Joanne blogs about writing and publishing at

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