Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Veronica Heley

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7278-8050-5
Publisher: Severn House

Trouble hits close to home as Ellie Quicke (Murder in the House, 2009, etc.) investigates a disappearance from a house around the corner.

Something’s amiss at Flavia Pryce’s multi-storied, multi-gabled home. First, Ellie’s housekeeper Rose falls off a ladder while tying back some rambler roses the gardener carelessly neglected—all because she sees a disembodied head floating mysteriously in the air above the garden that backs onto Ellie’s house. Next, Flavia’s great-nephew Terry shows up at Ellie’s claiming that his aunt left for a nursing home but never checked in. A visit to Flavia’s reveals footprints in the dust and a thriving vegetable garden, recently watered and picked. Ellie also learns more about Flavia’s relations, stepchildren Edgar and Edwina, and Edwina’s daughter Evangeline, all of whom sponge mercilessly off her. (Although none are as rapacious as Ellie’s own daughter Diana, who threatens to disrupt her son’s comfortable custody arrangement with his father if Ellie doesn’t raid her charitable trust to finance Diana’s latest scheme.) The local police are willing to look into the disappearance of Ellie’s engagement ring right after Terry’s visit, but they’re indifferent to Flavia’s fate. So it’s up to the indomitable Ellie to find out why Flavia sold off her belongings, gave away her cats, set up a room for herself in a nursing home but never arrived.

Ellie’s fans will find all the typical pleasures in her 11th case: domestic felicity disrupted by dark doings and the eventual triumph of the good over the greedy.