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The Thin Woman

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Reluctant to show up at her family reunion carrying so many extra pounds, unmarried, overweight Ellie Simons hires Bentley T. Haskell to pose as her fiance, thus beginning a weekend of romance, jealousy, and murder.


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Reluctant to show up at her family reunion carrying so many extra pounds, unmarried, overweight Ellie Simons hires Bentley T. Haskell to pose as her fiance, thus beginning a weekend of romance, jealousy, and murder.

30 review for The Thin Woman

  1. 4 out of 5

    CatBookMom

    Plot wasn't fascinating, except one aspect. Don't know what UK company the author uses to get remodeling done, but I want to hire them: she described her Heroine getting a complete kitchen makeover (Aga and all), complete antique-house electrical permitting and rewiring, a bedroom or two, and at least a drawing room, all done in 5-6 months, no delays, nothing in the wrong size. Plot wasn't fascinating, except one aspect. Don't know what UK company the author uses to get remodeling done, but I want to hire them: she described her Heroine getting a complete kitchen makeover (Aga and all), complete antique-house electrical permitting and rewiring, a bedroom or two, and at least a drawing room, all done in 5-6 months, no delays, nothing in the wrong size.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mariam

    Ellie Haskell is a hapless young woman who is too chubby, too old, and too clumsy for life to take her seriously and bring her a man. Now, I am not a romance reader and this book is no typical romance......., you will not find here a long drawn out scene in which the main character experiences "flutterings" and "butterflies". Instead, you will find a thwarted Ellie eating an entire box of eclaires on her own (which we all know is the real story behind heartache and longing), or buying an outfit, Ellie Haskell is a hapless young woman who is too chubby, too old, and too clumsy for life to take her seriously and bring her a man. Now, I am not a romance reader and this book is no typical romance......., you will not find here a long drawn out scene in which the main character experiences "flutterings" and "butterflies". Instead, you will find a thwarted Ellie eating an entire box of eclaires on her own (which we all know is the real story behind heartache and longing), or buying an outfit, reccomended by well meaning friends, that only seems to expand her already expanded figure. No, what we have here is one of the most believeable female characters in modern literature. She is funny, endearing, realistic and completely loveable. This story is also a fine mystery novel..., it's not a mind bender or crime buster sort, just a fun romp through the English countryside with a fun old story to uncover along with Ellie. It is well written, and an easy book to pick up and get right back to if life demands that you leave off reading for a bit. It's also a good book to binge on if you can cuddle in bed and read the night through (which is my m.o. when it comes to a good book). Enjoy!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    An enjoyable, humorous and very cozy mystery. The first half of the book got off a bit slow for me--we didn't seem to be making any progress, or finding many clues, to the "mystery." However, I enjoyed the cozy and easygoing writing style, all the details and little character traits (especially of Ellie). I found the second half much more exciting as we finally got a mystery to start working out--I admit that a few of the clues were too obvious, and though I had worked out most of the "whodunit" An enjoyable, humorous and very cozy mystery. The first half of the book got off a bit slow for me--we didn't seem to be making any progress, or finding many clues, to the "mystery." However, I enjoyed the cozy and easygoing writing style, all the details and little character traits (especially of Ellie). I found the second half much more exciting as we finally got a mystery to start working out--I admit that a few of the clues were too obvious, and though I had worked out most of the "whodunit" essentials, I still received a few good surprises when all was revealed. On the downside, I did not find our romantic leading man all that romantic or appealling, and Ellie seemed a bit too old (especially in the beginning); she was supposed to be 27 t seemed at least mid-thirties in mindset. However, the romance was only a sidebar to the overall story, anyway, and the story had a minimum of violence while still being suspenseful so three cheers for that! _______________________________________ I decided to stay with the British estate mystery theme, though this protagonist is considerably different than Lord Peter, being a twenty-seven year old "plus size" woman living in the early 1980s... So far, it's very amusing and delightfully written. I'm hoping for a fun, cozy and suspenseful read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    This is the first book in the Ellie Haskell series. It is more of a novel with hunt of a mystery. It is an easy and relaxing read with no sex or graphics volience. Ellie Simons looked at the letter on violet green stationary in voting her to Berlin's Court for a reunion of the family. Ellie was not sure she want to go and hear all the negative comments about herself. She hired Bentley T. Haskell to escort to the affair. After some unfavourable comments Ellie informs the group that Ben his her fia This is the first book in the Ellie Haskell series. It is more of a novel with hunt of a mystery. It is an easy and relaxing read with no sex or graphics volience. Ellie Simons looked at the letter on violet green stationary in voting her to Berlin's Court for a reunion of the family. Ellie was not sure she want to go and hear all the negative comments about herself. She hired Bentley T. Haskell to escort to the affair. After some unfavourable comments Ellie informs the group that Ben his her fiancee. A few months later, Uncle Merlin dies. At the funeral and will reading, Ellie and Ben find themselves inheriting the estate provided the accomplish the following Ellie needs to lose 63 pounds and Ben must write a book without sex and foul language. They must live at Merlin Court for six months and find the treasure. If they fail to do so, the estate will be divided into equal to the rest of the family. Will Ellie and Ben complete their tasks in the time frame?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    Jan 1, 1993 Cannell appeals to the sides of me that like mash-ups. You've got a standard Romance premise combined with a cozy mystery plot, and the whole thing cracks me up. *** Oct 27, 2016 I really dislike the whole fat-to-thin story line, since it assumes that A. skinny is better than fat B. fat is the fault of individuals lacking willpower and C. fat people don’t have happy love lives. But a woman gets to spend six months cleaning and decorating a Victorian faux castle on a huge budget, and who Jan 1, 1993 Cannell appeals to the sides of me that like mash-ups. You've got a standard Romance premise combined with a cozy mystery plot, and the whole thing cracks me up. *** Oct 27, 2016 I really dislike the whole fat-to-thin story line, since it assumes that A. skinny is better than fat B. fat is the fault of individuals lacking willpower and C. fat people don’t have happy love lives. But a woman gets to spend six months cleaning and decorating a Victorian faux castle on a huge budget, and who doesn’t dream of that? Probably just us folks who moved frequently, subscribed to multiple home magazines, and always went to The Parade of Homes, mostly to talk about all the unappealing features of modern homebuilding. Oh, and the girl gets a guy who’s a really good cook. And a chummy housekeeper and a sweet old gardener. Staff to do the bits one doesn’t like? So much win. Personal copy

  6. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Ellie, overweight and unhappy, hires Ben to pretend to be her boyfriend for a family reunion. You know how sometimes you finish a book and you're glad that's done? Yep, this was one of those. I definitely wouldn't have made it through if it weren't for the fact that I read this along with my 87-year old mom (she didn't like it, either). Ellie is shrill and her 'relationship' with Ben is painful. Every interaction they have is a series of sniping and confidence busters yet it turns out that they b Ellie, overweight and unhappy, hires Ben to pretend to be her boyfriend for a family reunion. You know how sometimes you finish a book and you're glad that's done? Yep, this was one of those. I definitely wouldn't have made it through if it weren't for the fact that I read this along with my 87-year old mom (she didn't like it, either). Ellie is shrill and her 'relationship' with Ben is painful. Every interaction they have is a series of sniping and confidence busters yet it turns out that they both love one another. Yuck - hard pass on the other 12 books in the series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Grouchy Editor

    What a bloody mess. Cannell adopts a 1930s, Agatha Christie-like style for her debut novel, which is a pleasant enough mystery for about two-thirds of its length. But then the author loses all sense of reality. The heroine-narrator, an interior decorator obsessed with food, utters howler after howler (“I desired a roast beef sandwich with horse-radish and pickled onions with a wanton savagery that I had never felt for any man”), and her romance with an oddball male escort almost –- but not quite What a bloody mess. Cannell adopts a 1930s, Agatha Christie-like style for her debut novel, which is a pleasant enough mystery for about two-thirds of its length. But then the author loses all sense of reality. The heroine-narrator, an interior decorator obsessed with food, utters howler after howler (“I desired a roast beef sandwich with horse-radish and pickled onions with a wanton savagery that I had never felt for any man”), and her romance with an oddball male escort almost –- but not quite -–plunges the book into “so bad it’s good” territory: Ben: “This is how it could have been if only I had confessed my love before you went and got so skinny.” Ellie: “Part of me will always hunger for the wrong foods but I have to tell you that I am not prepared to eat myself back to my old proportions so you can prove the integrity of your love.” The biggest head-scratcher of all is that, somehow, this amateurish junk food was included by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association as one of its “100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century.”

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anne Hawn Smith

    This is one of my all-time favorites. Overweight Ellie Simons hires Bentley T. Haskell to pose as her boyfriend for a weekend visit to her uncle's estate. He dies and leaves the estate to them if Ellie can loose weight and Bentley write clean and decent book and they both can solve the mystery. It was such a zany idea especially when the protagonists become attracted to each other. Ellie, especially, is a very well developed character and the action in the book is zany and fun. All in all, it's This is one of my all-time favorites. Overweight Ellie Simons hires Bentley T. Haskell to pose as her boyfriend for a weekend visit to her uncle's estate. He dies and leaves the estate to them if Ellie can loose weight and Bentley write clean and decent book and they both can solve the mystery. It was such a zany idea especially when the protagonists become attracted to each other. Ellie, especially, is a very well developed character and the action in the book is zany and fun. All in all, it's a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

  9. 4 out of 5

    LJ

    THE THIN WOMAN - G Cannell, Dorothy - 1st in Ellie Haskell series Overweight and unmarried, Ellie Simons balks at the prospect of attending her family reunion. But with a hired escort in tow--posing as husband--she summons the courage to go, little realizing that the weekend will lead to unexpected romance, a treasure hunt--and murder. The story was quite light and I wasn't taken with the protagonist. It was good but definitely not great. THE THIN WOMAN - G Cannell, Dorothy - 1st in Ellie Haskell series Overweight and unmarried, Ellie Simons balks at the prospect of attending her family reunion. But with a hired escort in tow--posing as husband--she summons the courage to go, little realizing that the weekend will lead to unexpected romance, a treasure hunt--and murder. The story was quite light and I wasn't taken with the protagonist. It was good but definitely not great.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Wonderful. I loved the plot, the characters, and the mystery. I will read the next one!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Ellie is the perfect main character. I laugh every time I think of her in the giant purple dress. She is unmarried and way overweight. She hires a male escort to accompany her to a family gathering. The obvious happens many times, but this is one of those great light-reads. This is one of my very favorites for the light reading category. I have read my paperback version so many times that the cover has fallen off and has been re-taped numerous times. I was feeling sad tonight and really wanted s Ellie is the perfect main character. I laugh every time I think of her in the giant purple dress. She is unmarried and way overweight. She hires a male escort to accompany her to a family gathering. The obvious happens many times, but this is one of those great light-reads. This is one of my very favorites for the light reading category. I have read my paperback version so many times that the cover has fallen off and has been re-taped numerous times. I was feeling sad tonight and really wanted something that would make me laugh and would be well written (I just finished evaluating 45 not well done research papers and would like something that is well done). This fit the bill perfectly. Just finished (for the hundredth time). This is a nice escape fiction with some mystery thrown in. HOWEVER, DO NOT READ ANY OF THE OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES!!!!! They are trite and horrible. ONLY READ THIS ONE.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Ellie is bright, talented and charismatic. Ellie is also overweight and insecure. She's so afraid of her relatives' scorn when invited to a reunion that she hires an escort to pretend to be her boyfriend. And Ben Haskell comes into her life, an astonishingly handsome writer. The weekend ends, and she's sure that she'll never see him again, until her Uncle Merlin (really her mother's second cousin) dies, and his will leaves his estate jointly to Ellie and Ben--under certain conditions. As they wo Ellie is bright, talented and charismatic. Ellie is also overweight and insecure. She's so afraid of her relatives' scorn when invited to a reunion that she hires an escort to pretend to be her boyfriend. And Ben Haskell comes into her life, an astonishingly handsome writer. The weekend ends, and she's sure that she'll never see him again, until her Uncle Merlin (really her mother's second cousin) dies, and his will leaves his estate jointly to Ellie and Ben--under certain conditions. As they work to clean up Merlin's neglected house and fulfill the other conditions, they become aware that certain people, who will benefit if they fail, may be working against them. A delightful opener to this series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    ara133photography

    This book was Fantastic! It kept me smiling and sometimes laughing out loud the whole way through - very witty. I LOVED all of the characters; the plot was swift-moving but the descriptions gave me enough 'time' to imagine I was really there. This is by far the best of her books. In fact, I have reread it so often it is falling to shreds! A wonderful cozy book - any time I'm feeling down or nervous or moody, I can pick this up and be instantly swept up into Ellie's crazy life. Really really a gr This book was Fantastic! It kept me smiling and sometimes laughing out loud the whole way through - very witty. I LOVED all of the characters; the plot was swift-moving but the descriptions gave me enough 'time' to imagine I was really there. This is by far the best of her books. In fact, I have reread it so often it is falling to shreds! A wonderful cozy book - any time I'm feeling down or nervous or moody, I can pick this up and be instantly swept up into Ellie's crazy life. Really really a great book, one of my favorites.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    This is a serious "Twinkie" book, by which I mean it was yummy but I wouldn't want to subsist on a diet of it. A super fast read (less than 2 days) that combines Miss Marple with Moonlighting. Would be a perfect book to read on a long flight. Lighthearted mystery book with funny characters; somewhat predictable, but I didn't guess the big twist. Summer reading at its best. Yay me for reading something! This is a serious "Twinkie" book, by which I mean it was yummy but I wouldn't want to subsist on a diet of it. A super fast read (less than 2 days) that combines Miss Marple with Moonlighting. Would be a perfect book to read on a long flight. Lighthearted mystery book with funny characters; somewhat predictable, but I didn't guess the big twist. Summer reading at its best. Yay me for reading something!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    I read this book a long time ago, and really enjoyed the wit...a lot of tongue in cheek humor...mystery, romance, and humor...my kind of book...Cannell has several more in this series...her last is one I just got to read, and am looking forward to it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Regan

    What a fantastic read! One of the absolute best books I've ever read. And the ending! Really well done. What a fantastic read! One of the absolute best books I've ever read. And the ending! Really well done.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Reading this book felt like drinking a brisk cup of tea. Every time I put it down I felt the desire to do something practical and efficient. Initially I nearly gave up as soon as I started because the overweight heroine and her predilection for eating her feelings turned me off. However, I'm a sucker for the fake boyfriend/fiance/husband trope so as soon as she called up the agency for a fake boyfriend to bring to her family reunion, I was sold. But then the mystery didn't seem to go anywhere. B Reading this book felt like drinking a brisk cup of tea. Every time I put it down I felt the desire to do something practical and efficient. Initially I nearly gave up as soon as I started because the overweight heroine and her predilection for eating her feelings turned me off. However, I'm a sucker for the fake boyfriend/fiance/husband trope so as soon as she called up the agency for a fake boyfriend to bring to her family reunion, I was sold. But then the mystery didn't seem to go anywhere. By this point, I felt emotionally engaged with the heroine and her adventures but confused. In fact, looking back now, I'm not sure when the mystery starts. I suppose with the reading of the will but the suspense doesn't really come till the climax. I guess my problem was I expected a whodunnit and this is more of a...mystery/romance/adventure. Very British. The mystery was both predictable and not. I think the author does a wonderful job leaving it open. Some things are obvious, others less. Motivations are a bit dramatic but that is the nature of this kind of book. The one thing that did drive me crazy THROUGHOUT the book was trying to figure out the year it was set in. My Kindle edition says it was published in 2012. I see now it actually was published in 1984 which makes so much more sense. The problem was, references to Victorians and Edwardians made me think this book took place a generation or so after the turn of the century. Yet then the heroine references jeans and computers. But no one has a cell phone? But the 1980s...that makes more sense. And also kind of explains the 'you're a woman get married' tone of the book. I don't sound very enthusiastic, do I? I did enjoy this one! Quite a bit, in fact. I can't wait to locate more by Dorothy Cannell. This book was clever and interesting and had really well developed characters. But it isn't the sort of book you sit down and read cover to cover. It is the sort of book you take on vacation and enjoy between sight seeing because you can politely set it down and know you can pick it up and the plot will all still be there, brisk and friendly and ready to get things going.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    A great Cozy book! I loved the story! Being a slightly overweight person, I liked the idea that Ellie had to lose weight in order to get her hands on Uncle Merlin’s millions. The book was very well written and I enjoyed being in England at the time the book was written. I liked how some of the everyday names of things we have here in the USA are named differently from some of the English counterparts. It is an enchanting story and fun at times. Not your original cozy to say he least, but good! A lit A great Cozy book! I loved the story! Being a slightly overweight person, I liked the idea that Ellie had to lose weight in order to get her hands on Uncle Merlin’s millions. The book was very well written and I enjoyed being in England at the time the book was written. I liked how some of the everyday names of things we have here in the USA are named differently from some of the English counterparts. It is an enchanting story and fun at times. Not your original cozy to say he least, but good! A litle more entrige than most cozies I have read, but still very good and worth the time to read and worth my recommendations to my family and friends.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    When I listened to this first book in the series of Ellie Haskell stories I laughed out loud. I have enjoyed all of the mysteries and am re-reading The Importance of Being Earnestine. The freshness diminish after you get used to the author's style. However, Ellie provides light entertainment and humor in a nice package When I listened to this first book in the series of Ellie Haskell stories I laughed out loud. I have enjoyed all of the mysteries and am re-reading The Importance of Being Earnestine. The freshness diminish after you get used to the author's style. However, Ellie provides light entertainment and humor in a nice package

  20. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    I really liked this funny, quirky mystery, and especially the twist at the end. I think it was a good introduction to the main character who struggles with weight issues and self esteem, even though she is a highly regarded interior designer. I will see how #2 strikes me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Page

    Very cleverly written! An enchanting narrator, a cozy mystery, and a touch of romance. Just lovely. I might be interested in reading the rest of the series, but I'm worried the newer entries would ruin it. Very cleverly written! An enchanting narrator, a cozy mystery, and a touch of romance. Just lovely. I might be interested in reading the rest of the series, but I'm worried the newer entries would ruin it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Messenger

    Four stars for making me laugh out loud.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    Started out sounding much like Bridget Jones. Couldn’t put it down. Kept me guessing until the end!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    An enjoyable, light-as-cotton-candy cozy that held my attention from beginning to end, even though I had figured out the baddy in the first couple of chapters. A twist on the country-house mystery, where the main characters have to pass a couple of tests to win the treasure and the inheritance. Ellie has to lose 60 lbs in six months (good luck, honey), while the man she hired to be her rent-a-boyfriend for the family reunion has to produce a "clean" book for publication. But can they survive unt An enjoyable, light-as-cotton-candy cozy that held my attention from beginning to end, even though I had figured out the baddy in the first couple of chapters. A twist on the country-house mystery, where the main characters have to pass a couple of tests to win the treasure and the inheritance. Ellie has to lose 60 lbs in six months (good luck, honey), while the man she hired to be her rent-a-boyfriend for the family reunion has to produce a "clean" book for publication. But can they survive until then? I was prepared to cringe my way through the book but my fears were unfounded; there's little to no emphasis on the wieghtloss thing (though I wondered how she managed, with all those meals out)and the romantic angle is well handled. Yeah, it's a bit 80s, with its emphasis on redecorating (right down to the Aga in the kitchen!) and cheffy food inyourownhome, but if you have a sense of humour you'll be all right. There's a refreshing trend of late for puzzle mysteries without cadavers, which I find a welcome change from the "dark, gritty" violence being served up wholesale on TV and movie screens as well as bookshop shelves. Having glanced over the titles of the rest of Ms Cannell's output, I see I was not wrong in thinking the title might possibly be a sort of homage to Nick Charles as The Thin Man, right down to the dinner for the suspects. While the end was facile in the extreme, it was a fun read with a few very predictable twists and turns. If you're not in a demanding mood and just want to be entertained, it's a good read. At least Ms Cannell can spell and knows her grammar, even using rather longtailed words such as "objurgated", which I had to look up.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Meryan

    Hysterical.One of the funniest books I've read.Ellie Simmons hires an escort to pretend to be her fiancé for a family reunion.After the reunion her Uncle Merlin dies and they are all brought together again for the reading of the will.Merlin bequeaths Merlin's Court to her and Ben if they meet certain conditions within six months.The first one is that Ellie lose 63 lbs.Ben must write a book with no smut in it and they must find the treasure at Merlin's Court,or else everything goes to the remaini Hysterical.One of the funniest books I've read.Ellie Simmons hires an escort to pretend to be her fiancé for a family reunion.After the reunion her Uncle Merlin dies and they are all brought together again for the reading of the will.Merlin bequeaths Merlin's Court to her and Ben if they meet certain conditions within six months.The first one is that Ellie lose 63 lbs.Ben must write a book with no smut in it and they must find the treasure at Merlin's Court,or else everything goes to the remaining relatives.Someone is trying to stop them and they find out all these delicious secrets along the way,as well as falling in love.Someone knows the secrets of Merlin's Court and will go to any lengths to protect them and hilarity ensues along the way.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Geokowgurl

    Don't waste your time with this book. It is extremely slow moving and the author uses a TON of adjectives, (like the white, fluffy, slow moving, yet dainty clouds), in an effort to make the book long enough to publish I think. It seems as if the story was created to make a fool out of a heavyset character and it is focused on slandering her do to her weight. However, since it is written from that characters point of view I guess that makes it okay? Hmmm, I was sadly disappointed by this book. Don't waste your time with this book. It is extremely slow moving and the author uses a TON of adjectives, (like the white, fluffy, slow moving, yet dainty clouds), in an effort to make the book long enough to publish I think. It seems as if the story was created to make a fool out of a heavyset character and it is focused on slandering her do to her weight. However, since it is written from that characters point of view I guess that makes it okay? Hmmm, I was sadly disappointed by this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    Really enjoyed this, funny and an unexpected ending. First in the Ellie Haskins series by this author. I have already downloaded the next 3 books in the series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This was a very good read in the light, cozy, mystery category! Fun characters, good story, and a "didn''t guess that" ending! I will absolutely read the rest of the series. This was a very good read in the light, cozy, mystery category! Fun characters, good story, and a "didn''t guess that" ending! I will absolutely read the rest of the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Testi_moni

    Twists and turns I did not see coming.. interesting storytelling.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Churin

    2.5 stars First, let me tell you that this review WILL NOT BE SPOILER FREE I have a very confusing feeling about this. I liked it a lot. It's like this perfect combination of mystery and romance. And with a struggling heroine with a real life struggle that is! (I really dislike it when a book have a heroine that has easy life and suddenly got a ton of problems. Really irritate me.). But, really, there's a but. This book has one of my biggest turn offs. Important points: -This is a good book. I just 2.5 stars First, let me tell you that this review WILL NOT BE SPOILER FREE I have a very confusing feeling about this. I liked it a lot. It's like this perfect combination of mystery and romance. And with a struggling heroine with a real life struggle that is! (I really dislike it when a book have a heroine that has easy life and suddenly got a ton of problems. Really irritate me.). But, really, there's a but. This book has one of my biggest turn offs. Important points: -This is a good book. I just can't give it 4 stars because of a reason I will explain later in this review. -The characters are solid as real life people. They have their own unique personalities without being bizarre, they have their problems, they are not black-and-white, they have their goods and bads. They are just so realistic even though I can't say exactly relatable, just because they're not your usual book hero/heroine. -The bad guys though, wasn't even realistic. They're just villain with mental illness and as mas as Disney villains. Hell, even Disney villains are more reasonable than this book's villains. -The plot is good, nothing too horrible, nothing too great. As expected of cosy mysteries. -The writing is really unique. The book is written at the '90s, a period where I've only read one book: The Notebook (in which I hate with passion). But it was not just the '90s vibe I got, but also some classic mysteries vibe? I think this series has a similar case with Georgette Heyer's books? In Heyer case, Heyer's books are heavily influenced by her favorite author, Jane Austen. And in this case, Dorothy Cannell was heavily influenced by the Queen, Agatha Christie. So, even though this book is set in '90, it has an older kind of language. I really like it though. -There are layers of mysteries unfold in this book. Like Christie's, this book's mystery is laced with thick coat of human emotion and mental drama. -Now the reason why I can't give it more than 3 stars. I have 2 big hates in my life. Love triangle, and cheating. In this book, there is this lady who was dead like eons ago, and the hero and heroine was in awe at the first sight of her portrait and suddenly get obsessed with her because of her grace lalalala (among other reasons). And then we latter know that this lady actually has cheated on her hubby. It was later explained that the husband was this supposedly horrible monster (and so the heroine justified the lady's actions). Towards the end of the book, it was explained by the lady's granddaughter that “She and my grandfather, Miles, had a good life. They never were having an affair under her husband’s nose. He admired her, and one day when Arthur ill-treated her, Miles put his arm round her and got caught in the act. For her birthday he had given her the locket. Silly thing to have done, I suppose, but as Gramps told me, he looked upon her as the finest lady that ever lived. Gram didn’t want to hurt his feelings by returning it, but knew what Arthur would think if he found out, so she buried it in the herb garden.” Excuse me??? Have you ever heard of emotional cheating? It was just a step less to the physical cheating. Like how going out is a step towards sex. And don't even bother to argue it because, had Arthur not chase the "lady" off after caught them snuggly snuggly, there would be an act happen. The temptation is too much. Bottom line: I like the book but also hate it with passion.

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