Amateur sleuth Ellie Quicke (Murder by Suspicion, 2016, etc.) investigates the death of a boutique owner.
When policewoman Lesley Milburn hears Gerald and Marika Cordover’s concerns that their daughter’s fatal fall may not have been an accident, she does what any red-blooded fictional British bobby would do: sends them to her civilian friend Ellie Quicke, who often takes time from her job running a charitable trust to poke into cases too puzzling, too arcane, or too banal for the police. Although she’s extremely busy getting her steak-and-kidney pudding sorted for the evening’s dinner guests, Ellie takes time to listen to the Cordovers’ tale of woe. It seems that their twin daughters, Poppy and Juno, having both as teenagers entered into shotgun marriages with a couple of wrong ’uns, are now making their ways in the world by running The Magpie, a trendy clothes shop, and buying up nearby properties to turn into rentals. Poppy’s husband, Ray Cocks, owner of a dodgy garage, expects his wife to cover his gambling debts, while Juno’s wheelchair-bound husband, Gordon, expects her to wait on him hand and foot, perhaps as payback for having produced, shortly after their hasty wedding, a mixed-race child obviously not his. Family dysfunction threatens to boil over when Poppy tumbles down the stairs and dies. Juno disappears soon after Ray and Gordon learn that the twins’ wills name each other as sole heirs. Ellie, hard-pressed by her daughter Diana’s constant demands for cash, does manage to straighten out the tangled affairs at The Magpie, although not before helping her zaftig friend Susan find something stylish to wear to her Aunt Lesley’s wedding.
A perfect fit for readers who like their mysteries padded with layers of family drama.