#BookReview: A Spoonful of Murder by J.M. Hall #ASpoonfulofMurder #damppebbles

“Introducing the three unlikeliest sleuths you’ll ever meet…

Every Thursday, three retired school teachers have their ‘coffee o’clock’ sessions at the Thirsk Garden Centre café.

But one fateful week, as they are catching up with a slice of cake, they bump into their ex-colleague, Topsy.

By the next Thursday, Topsy’s dead.

The last thing Liz, Thelma and Pat imagined was that they would become involved in a murder.

But they know there’s more to Topsy’s death than meets the eye – and it’s down to them to prove it…

Sit down with a cup of tea and this perfectly witty, page-turning cosy crime novel. Fans of Agatha Christie, Death in Paradise and Midsomer Murders will be hooked from the very first page.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of A Spoonful of Murder by J.M. Hall. A Spoonful of Murder was published by Avon Books last week (that’s Thursday 17th March 2022) and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats. I chose to read and review a free ARC of A Spoonful of Murder but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to the team at Avon for sending me a proof copy.

Thelma, Pat and Liz are three retired primary school teachers who meet weekly for coffee and cake at their local garden centre. On one of their Thursday catch-ups they bump into ex-colleague, Topsy Joy, and her daughter, KellyAnne. It’s immediately clear to the trio that Topsy is no longer the formidable nursery nurse she once was, showing early signs of dementia. A week later and Topsy is found dead in front of the telly. The three women are shocked by the news, particularly as they feel something is amiss. Who were those strange men hanging around Topsy’s house? And why has Topsy’s bank account been cleared out? It doesn’t take long for the three intrepid investigators to start digging into what happened to their friend. Someone killed Topsy Joy and it’s down to three retired schoolteachers to prove it…

I have to be completely honest here and say I don’t read a lot of cosy crime. I prefer my crime fiction with a darker edge, a dash more menace and a chill in the air. Saying that, I did enjoy the warmth and cosiness of A Spoonful of Murder, with it’s gentle pace and trio of unwitting sleuths. Warm and witty throughout, I enjoyed getting to know Pat, Thelma and Liz and watching as they put their community under the microscope. Trying to work out if Topsy’s sad demise was helped along by a nefarious hand. Heart breaking in parts, this well-written debut will be a sure fire winner with fans of the genre.

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. A Spoonful of Murder is a gently paced, slow burn mystery with a cast of interesting amateur sleuths and lots of charm. I did find the multiple characters a little confusing at times, even with regards to the three leads, and was able to spot whodunit from very early on but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this entertaining novel. I’m afraid I couldn’t help but draw similarities between this book and another book published a couple of years ago. I wonder if that’s because that particular book was the last cosy crime I read so, in a way, it’s still quite fresh in my mind. At times, I found I was constantly on the lookout for the similarities rather than just going with the flow and submersing myself in the story. All in all I enjoyed this novel, found it be an easy read and would recommend it to fans of the genre who enjoy a gentler pace.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of A Spoonful of Murder. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

A Spoonful of Murder by J.M. Hall was published in the UK by Avon Books on 17th March 2022 and is available in paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.uk | Waterstones | Foyles | Book Depository | bookshop.org | Goodreads | damppebbles bookshop.org shop |

J.M. Hall is an author, playwright and deputy head of a primary school. His plays have been produced in theatres across the UK as well as for radio, the most recent being Trust, starring Julie Hesmondhalgh on BBC Radio 4. His first novel, A Spoonful of Murder, is about retired primary school teachers who turn to sleuthing.

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