First in a contemporary 'cozy crime' series - Nicola Slade has brought humour and wit to the setting of an old people's home and a delightful new sleuthing team in a different but no less engaging milieu than her Charlotte series ...
I really enjoyed this book. Harriet Quigley is an excellent Miss Marple character - and she acknowledges it herself! I was expecting Murder Fortissimo to be as contrived as Agatha Christie novels but, thankfully, it wasn't.
As someone who grew up in Chandler's Ford I do wonder why Slade changed the name to Chambers Forge. Geographically everything is where Slade puts it - Kings Road for example - so why the name change? That's what made the book confusing to me.
Absolutely brilliant book. I was engrossed from the first chapter. A very good setting and I really liked the sleuth and her cousin and a very unusual murder weapon. Add to that some intriguing back stories of the residents who all seem to have some connection in the past to the victim. The plot had me guessing "whodunit" til the very end. Loved it!
Harriet Quigley - retired headmistress - has booked herself a few weeks convalescence in an upmarket hotel/nursing home but she doesn't want her cousin Canon Sam Hathaway to know where she is and why she is there. Sam - being an inquisitive soul - soon finds out where she is which at least means Harriet gets some visits from him.
Harriet soon decides that she does not like one of her fellow inmates - Christianne Marchant - who seems to have a hold over several of the other inmates. It soon becomes clear that several people have a reason to want her dead and no one is terribly surprised when she meets an untimely end.
I enjoyed this crime novel with its down to earth and no nonsense heroine and have already started another novel by this same author. There is no on the page violence or bad language so if you don't like those elements in your crime novels then try Nicola Slade.
I was hooked from the very first page! All the characters are very believeable and the plot was very true to life. It was very sad to see how events from the past were still affecting people towards the end of their lives. I was glad it ended the way it did for the murderer and that some characters found happiness.
I look forward to the next book and seeing more of Harriet.
Harriet Quigley, retired headmistress, has, unknown to either her cousin Canon Sam Hathaway or any of her friends, booked herself into Firstone Grange following an operation.
Firstone Grange is both select and expensive. Not an old people's home but a kind of hotel for older guests who might be convalescing or just wanting some peace and quiet.
Alice cannot believe her luck when her mother Christine Marchant decides to try a month's respite care at Firstone Grange. Coinciding with this event Alice learns that her boss Barry Wilson has sold his estate agent business to Neil Slater. Initially, browbeaten Alice fears the worst but matters take a surprising turn.
When Christine Marchant takes up residence at Firstone Grange she has a most unsettling effect on the current guests, for Christine Marchant is a most unpleasant women revelling in the misfortune's of others, and keen to exploit their weaknesses for her own pleasure. From the elderly inmates to young Gemma Sankey who works at Firstone Grange Christine Marchant has something on them all and she makes sure that they all know it, enjoying watching her victim's squirm. When a heavy euphonium falls from a balcony landing on her head, it is initially put down as an accident, but Harriet is not so sure.
With clever plotting and a marvellous cast of characters, Nicola Slade has presented a real brain-teaser. Virtually everyone who knew Christine Marchant is a suspect. So just who did kill Christine Marchant, and how did they do it?
An interesting exercise in the effect one person can have on so many lives and the changes wrought once the evil presence is removed. A most enjoyable and tantalising mystery. ------
I very much enjoyed Nicola Slade's Murder Most Welcome and Death is the Cure, so I was sure I would enjoy Murder Fortissimo, and I wasn't disappointed. The main characters are Harriet Quigley, retired headmistress, and her cousin Sam Hathaway, a Canon. There was a definite chemistry between the two, though it is one of affection rather than attraction. I love the Principal Characters list at the front because it sets the tone so well. The subsidiary characters are well drawn and believable, with some dark secrets. This is a cosy mystery with all the elements you expect in a cosy, with an added dash of skilfully applied humour. I loved it. All in all, a thoroughly good read.