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on 31 December 2011
I'm not too sure where to start with this one, to be honest I nearly put it down after the first few pages but am glad I did not.

Is is a thriller, a gentle detective story, a comedy; still not sure as it is a combination of all three with some vivid characters and was fun to read.

The story line is based around the characters on a village 'improvement' committee and their quiet life is rudely interrupted by the arrival of an outsider keen to join them after which life changes dramatically with council officials, spies, foreign agents, the police all taking a keen interest in their efforts to restore the village hall.

As I say, after an uncertain start I really enjoyed it.
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on 17 April 2012
I like the opening of the book, and was gently amused over the first chapter or two. A cosy village story, I thought, a touch of M C Beaton and Agatha and the Vicar of Dibley, I thought. Rather better written, I thought. A nice relaxing read to follow Last Man in Tower, by Aravind Adiga.

Then, 20% of the way through, the 'plot' just left the rails. What had been quite detailed now became incomprehensible to me, as if the author had suddenly decided that something had better be done to liven things up and having someone kidnapped was the way to go. There didn't appear to be any lead-up to this kidnapping as far as I could see. A whole chapter went by without reference to the missing official, then suddenly the heroine is asking a mysterious contact what he has done with the fellow. It is quite disjointed and very clunky.

At this stage, I lost the will to live, I am afraid. It is a pity, the writer is good with words, although sometimes a shorter sentence might have more impact. There is some humour there, some of the characters occasionally come to life briefly and then subside into a pastiche. But there isn't enough to make me care about any of them, and there isn't enough background to round them out.

A bit of drastic pruning might have made this book possible, but all in all and, sadly, I don't think I shall be looking out for any more books by this author.
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on 15 May 2012
I wasn't sure what to make of this book at first. From the opening few paragraphs, I was expecting an Agatha Raisin type read. It is very different however. I found it slow going at times but the end of the story is gripping and I started to care about the characters. I have since read the second book in the series, Reunited in Death and am halfway through the third, A Reformed Character which I am enjoying very much. I have found that this series is worth sticking with and each book gets progressively better. We keep meeting the same core group of characters who develop with each book so that I am starting to get hooked on the series.
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on 21 December 2011
First off I will say that I really don't like the cover, it's gritty and grey and bleak and Scottish . This book kept cropping up and it's free and time passed and even though I kept clicking on the Amazon page, I really didn't fancy it. But for some reason I tried it and I'm so glad I did.

I would possibly call it a bit chick-lit-ish apart from the main character being a bloke. I might even put it into the cosy mystery group, but it's not too cosy. Perhaps a bit Miss Marpley but the mystery is not that important.
Whatever, it was a great read with some lovely characters and not at all gritty like my first impressions gave me. I didn't find it too Scottish either :)
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This novel shows, at times, some really witty and clever observational writing about small towns and community organisations. There was a section about filling in a local authority form to apply for community funding which can only have been written by someone who has performed this hellish task. There was also some insightful writing about mental health issues and the character of an older man, lonely and stuck in a rut, was very well done.

Most of the novel, however, involved a plot about spies which I found almost impossible to follow. I also kept getting the minor characters mixed up and so did not always know who had just done what and why ... after a while I began not to care. On several occasions I decided to abandon the novel and then I would reach a witty or clever sector and be beguiled into continuing. I am not sure that the experience of reading the whole book was worth the good sections; but when they were good they were very good, had the whole book been of that calibre it would have been worth four stars. A pity that the novel was so patchy.
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on 15 March 2012
I loved this book. It was very Scottish and many of the characters remind me of people I have known in my life. The main characters, particularly the man represented many a Scottish man who are no good at handling feelings and are often unsure of how to show affection. I laughed quite a bit. I feel this book was just what the doctor ordered some real escapism.
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on 9 October 2012
I downloaded Crime in the Community because it was free and I was bored. This isn't an edge of the seat thriller, or a complex police procedural, but it's a good story set in a small town in Scotland where the major excitement for the residents is probably watching the traffic lights change, and it's peopled with characters who are sometimes a little cliched but some who are so out of kilter with the location that your attention is grabbed. I found it to be a really good read, so good infact that I actually paid for the other books in the series, and I absolutely agree with previous comments that this series of books would transfer well to TV. I'm waiting with baited breath for Ms Peartree to come up with the next installment.
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on 3 May 2012
I was not too sure at the start and wondered initially what this book was all about. I stuck with it and after a while I began to like it. It seems to be part thriller part comedy and part drama showing life in a Scottish village a la Hamish McBeth. The main character is a real tragic hero and you would feel sorry for what befalls him if it was not so funny. The main female character is the real hero and if I met her in real life I would fall for her instantly. I must admit I really enjoyed the book as I am sure most people would provide they are prepared to take the time to get into it. Without spoiling anyones enjoyment I feel the book ends well with a hint of being optimistic which the long suffering characters deserve.
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on 31 December 2011
Crime in the Community is a mystery on many levels. It's fast, wacky and at times so bizarre it's difficult to know exactly what is happening but somehow you feel compelled to read on!

The storyline centres on Christopher and his role as the chair of a local action group that seem happiest when there isn't actually too much action. Enter the mysterious Amaryllis to shake things up and a madcap adventure involving stranger than strange strangers ensues along with weird goings-on within Christopher's own family circle.

This is a fun read with the author displaying many a comic turn of phrase. It's well written and the first in a series so I'm certainly tempted to try another!
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on 23 November 2011
As said by other reviewers, this is a book covering a mixture of styles. I enjoyed reading the familiar parochial behaviour of the committee that doesn't achieve much and the threat of a newcomer who wanted to change this. The crime element didn't really seem to fit for me though and (despite the title, which I'd forgotten from the context of the early part of the book), I'd have preferred the plot to continue it's true to life theme. The far-fetched letter part of the book spoilt it for I'm afraid.
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