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Charity Begins with Murder by [McDowall, Annie]
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Charity Begins with Murder Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Length: 396 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2622 KB
  • Print Length: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Annie McDowall (20 Oct. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005YR0OD2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #273,148 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By ElaineG TOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 May 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a fantastic novel! A murder mystery that is definitely NOT "Midsomer Murderish" set in South London with a wonderful main character Nikki, who you really just cannot help liking. The story begins when she starts a new job at a charity after a long period of unemployment (after her last boss committed suicide) and a major love let down, only to have her new boss drop down dead on her first day! The characters at the charity are brilliant, really larger than life, especially Dora, the old lady who drops in daily for handouts and Felicity the yoga teacher. In fact, anyone who has ever worked behind the scenes for a charity will certainly identify with the book - the "committee politics" and not the killings, I hasten to add - and the author really has got her charity committee procedures spot on, from what I can remember from my time. Plot, narrative and dialogue are all extremely good, I certainly wouldnt have guessed this was a first novel, it is so well written. To sum up, a cracking contemporary murder mystery that keeps your interest to the final page and leaves you hoping for the next installment in Nikki's life, although she really does deserve a bit of p and q for a while now!
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I never realised this was the writer's first book until after I read it. What a little gem and all for free off Amazon for Kindle! Brilliant read with a 'whodunnit' feel. Really good strong characters, set in london in the voluntary sector with murder, mystery, intrigue and a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure(in the gay community) but not overly done. I'll be looking out for more from this author. Highly recommend for a good read. Denise 12/12/26
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To be fair, this would ba a great read for anyone who enjoys a good modern mystery, not just charity workers and south Londoners. But for anyone with experience in the voluntary sector there are so many things that Annie McDowell has got exactly right - the working conditions, the Trustee meetings etc - and this feels like the first time I'd ever read a book that was set in "our" voluntary sector world. Same goes for the characters - having left south London over ten years ago, this novel took me straight back there and I loved the casual throwaway line about Battersea Arts Centre being somewhere that makes you want to order a trendy drink. The characters are super and the reader immediately has a real sense of these people's lives and loves.

If this is a first novel then it's a cracker. Can't wait for the next one.
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I am a great fan of mysteries featuring amateur sleuths but usually find I need several shots of insulin to get through them. Also they're mostly set in America and I prefer reading about Britain, my home now for 21 years. Here is a nifty book with a sympathetic English heroine and a great story, set in a somewhat gritty London, ringing the changes on amateur sleuth mysteries set in twee villages. I'm sure I worked for the same charity as Nikki and this captures what it was like (charity itself the missing ingredient) perfectly; the woman I replaced a real-life Veronica who miraculously managed not to be murdered (she left before anyone could do her in).

The characters are deeper than you usually find in this kind of book and you really care what happens to Nikki: her concerns are bang up to date and I've enjoyed reading about her world. The violence is not graphic which I also like and the dialogue snappy: think a streamlined Caroline Graham with a bit more swearing. The book's not verbose - the author makes every word count.

Witty, fun, and so far I can't guess who done it: more of Nikki, please, Ms. McDowell, and thanks for a great read.
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This would be a fun read for anyone - strong characters, good plot, great sense of place and time. This is a fantastic read if you've experience of the voluntary sector! It all rings so true (apart from the actual murder of course. Fortunately, most charities don't go there!) The descriptions of South London are spot-on and really catch the atmosphere.

I really enjoyed this. It was original, warm, funny and well-written. It was great to have a different set up to the usual police/private investigator/Miss Marple style book.

Why only 4 stars, rather than 5? I only give 5 star reviews to life-changing books (e.g. Don Quixote) but, if I could give 4.5, I would.

More please!
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I think this author has done quite well with her first novel. I felt the lesbian/eco thing a bit overdone, and there a lot of characters, one of whom we never got to meet (forgotten his name but he was a signatory on cheques?) who weren't 'fleshed out' and who seemed a bit unnecessary.
On the whole though, I found this story about Nikki Elliot, harmeless light reading. I thought her friend Benjamin, another homosexual who was always looking for The One, was a right pain in the proverbials and he had too big a part in the story!
Nikki was kicked back to work at a local South London charity as some kind of admin assistant. She and a competent coloured girl called Geri semed to run the place between them. Everyone else drifted in and out or got killed. The centre held various classes for disadvantaged people- Grannies for peace, a yoga class for pregnant women and another for stressed people, art classes and a group of delinquent boys, 2 of whom tried to kill Nikki at the behest of someone who thought her to be finding out too much about the financial shenanigans going on a Action in Care.
The book contains a motely group of characters, mostly gay or coloured, and lots of murders and our Heroine Nikki helps to solve them all with the help of said motely crew. She ends up with one of the investigating Policewomen in her bed.
The next book has poor reviews and even the author suggests that this is her best book (of two) so I won't spend £1.80 to find out. This one was the perfect price - free!
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