On FlashbackFridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
This book was released back in December but has only been on my Kindle a short time.
About the Book
Tied Up with Strings (A Serebral Seniors Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – United Kingdom
Imajin Qwickies, An imprint of Imajin Books (December 11, 2017)
Print Length: 85 pages
An Imajin Qwickies® Mystery/Crime Novella
Big mysteries often come in small packages…
When curmudgeonly private detective Betty Grape visits a young friend, who is housesitting in a remote village in England for Christmas vacation, something seems out of place. Her friend, Catia, is visibly nervous. Is she worried about the young men in the decrepit caravan in next door’s back garden? Or is Catia involved in the disappearance of the homeowner’s invalid wife?
As an American, Betty discovers the locals are full of friendly gossip but taciturn about solid facts. Though they are determined to keep Betty from butting in on their territory, she blunders through the social morass of narrow-minded foreigners and their broad Dorset accents. Can she unravel the tight knots of this mystery? Will she find the perpetrator under thickly thatched rooves or behind floral chintz curtains?
Imajin Books has launched an imprint, Imajin Qwickies – “Qwickies” Are Novellas Ranging From 20,000-30,000 Words. In my opinion that while this story was very good it could have been great as a full-length novel.
The story opens with Betty Grape arriving in England to spend the holidays with the daughter of one of her friends. She had not seen the daughter in years. Apparently, Betty is a “part-time private investigator”. Here is one of the places a longer story would have helped me as a reader immensely. Background on Betty was almost non-existent. Betty is supposedly part of a firm with 2 other “investigators”. They are all senior citizens. Anyway, something seems off to her almost immediately. Catia, her friend’s daughter is housesitting for a professor and his invalid wife. They are two young men staying in a caravan next door. There is also a missing cat. Betty overhears some things, listens to the gossip and starts to realize things are not what they seem.
I really like Betty and want to know her better. She seems to have much life experience and is very intuitive. But this novel reads like the 2nd or 3rd book in the series, assuming I know these things already, rather than it being the first book and readers meeting her for the first time. I enjoyed her subtle way of investigating. Sometimes she is just in the right place at the right time. She makes some keen observations and starts to pull the clues together. She also has a low key way of passing on what she learns. I really enjoyed her as an American learning British ways, food, and slang.
There is a young man in the story that Betty quickly realizes is autistic. He plays a key part in the mysteries. His character was very well written, but until Betty pointed out he was autistic I had not reached the conclusion by what I had read. Because she is close to someone at home that has autism she recognized what others like me may not have tuned into right away.
The mysteries themselves were very interesting. It really reminded me of an old-time British cozy. Again with only 85 pages things had to unfold quickly. I was surprised by one part but figured out some of the other elements before Betty. The book does have a few nice twists. I did feel the ending was a bit abrupt. I would have liked one thing verified before everything was all tied up.
I would like to visit with Betty again and maybe get to know her friends in San Jose, California at the Serebral Senior Home. Like I said for a “Qwickie” this is a very good story. I hope future installments are longer so we can get to know the characters better.
About the Author
Madeline McEwen is an ex-pat from the UK, bi-focaled and technically challenged. She and her Significant Other manage their four offspring, one major and three minors, two autistic, two neurotypical, plus a time-share with Alzheimer’s. In her free time, she walks the canines and chases the felines with her nose in a book and her fingers on a keyboard.
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Praise for Tied Up with Strings (A Serebral Seniors Mystery)
by Madeline McEwen
A heartwarming British cosy by a British ex-pat in America, TIED UP WITH STRING recalls adorable Village Mysteries with amateur–usually female senior citizens–sleuths.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies
The story unfolds layer by layer. We meet interesting characters and get a bit of a comparison between American and British mannerisms.
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