The creator of Ellie Quicke (Murder of Identity, 2007, etc.) rolls out a new series featuring the Abbott Agency, which handles domestic crises with efficiency and discretion.
Bea Abbott is a recent widow saddled with a strong moral compass and a grasping, presumptuous child. Max Abbott, MP, expects Bea to close down the agency founded by her late husband Hamilton and slope on off to England’s south coast so that he and his ultrachic wife Nicole can continue to live in her Kensington home, located conveniently near Westminster. But Bea has other ideas—first and foremost to clear up the loose ends Max left while she and Hamilton were in New Zealand on what they knew would be their last trip together. For example, on the agency’s recommendation, Coral Payne catered two events for a charity that paid her with two bad checks, pushing her business to the edge of insolvency. Max thinks that’s Coral’s tough luck, but Bea, disagreeing, sets Maggie, the hyperactive agency temp Max hired in her absence, and Oliver, the teenaged computer geek Maggie took in when his family cast him out, to track down the con artists who staged an elaborate event for the benefit of tsunami victims and pocketed the proceeds, leaving a trail of unpaid bills.
Although the two heroines are cut from similar cloth, Heley’s new series has a quirky vibe that edges it beyond its pedestrian plot.