Join author Joanne Phillips on her Virtual Book Tour for Murder at the Maples, presented by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours from October 7 – October 22, 2013. Please leave a comment or question for Joanne to let her know you stopped by.
Books I Love by Joanne PhillipsAs a writer I suppose I’m always learning from the books I read. If I think a plot line or character doesn’t work too well I can’t help but analyse why, and I almost certainly do this automatically. Which can get a bit tiring, to be honest. Sometimes I just want to read for pure pleasure, to turn off my ‘writer’s brain’ and lose myself in the story.The best kind of books for me to relax with are mysteries because I’m so busy trying to work out who dunnit I forget to notice all the other stuff! And then there are the books I read again and again. Sometimes there is a real comfort in knowing what’s coming – does anyone else enjoy certain films more the second time, once the tension of knowing how everything turns out is gone? Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes after I’ve raced to the end of a really great book I turn back to page one and begin again, savouring every word.Some authors have an almost magical ability to create characters that live on in your mind. Great characters are essential for those memorable books I’d read again and again, or the book you’ll recommend to all your friends. A few reviewers of my debut novel said that the lead character Stella was a friend they’d love to have, and I consider this the best praise possible. One of my favourite cozy characters is Leigh Koslow from the ‘Never’ series by Edie Clare. I’ve just finished number 5 in the series and the feisty heroine is still going strong. Writers I can always rely on to delight and inspire me include Linda Gillard, Anne Tyler and Anita Shreve.
Murder at the Maples (A Flora Lively Mystery: Book 1)
Publisher: Mirrorball Books Release Date: September 16, 2013
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Number of Pages: 274
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A tragic death. A reluctant sleuth. A childhood prank that went horribly wrong.
When Flora Lively inherits her father’s business she’s totally out of her depth. Shakers Removals is in trouble, and manager Marshall isn’t helping one bit – the ex-pat American delights only in winding her up. But Flora has other things on her mind, like Joy: surrogate grandmother and resident of the Maples Retirement Village. When Joy’s pet pug has a brush with death, Flora is pulled into a series of bizarre incidents at the Maples, where fear is starting to take hold.
Could harmless old Mr. Felix really be the boy from Joy’s past, determined to exact his revenge, or is it Joy’s guilty mind playing tricks on her? And what about the Captain’s death? Accidents happen, even to the most careful people, but Flora’s not convinced the old man simply fell down the stairs … Playing detective seemed like a good idea at first, but before long Flora realises the stakes are far higher than either she or Joy imagined.
Full of warmth and humour, this gripping puzzle will appeal to fans of M. C. Beaton and Edie Clare.
Buy Link: Amazon
About The Author
Joanne Phillips lives in Shropshire, England with her husband and young daughter. She’s the author of commercial women’s fiction Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap, and the Flora Lively series of cosy mysteries. Can’t Live Without was an Amazon top 100 bestseller in 2012 and her books regularly appear on category bestseller lists. Joanne blogs about writing and publishing atwww.joannephillips.co.uk
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a blog tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.My ReviewThe first book in a new cozy mystery series, Murder at the Maples by Joanne Phillips, is an old fashioned mystery set in the British countryside. A quirky and well developed main character, strange and interesting secondary characters and the question of whether there was, or wasn’t, a murder kept me turning the pages. If you’re a fan of Elizabeth Peters, Agatha Christie or Charles Todd, I think this is a book you’ll want to check out.Twenty nine year old Flora Lively has lost both of her parents and inherited the family business, Shaker’s Removers, during a challenging economic period. Burdened with Marshall, her father’s handpicked American manager, and her uncle’s stepson, Flora finds solace in her friendship with Joy, an elderly client she helped move into The Maples, the local retirement community. When strange and dangerous things begin to happen at the Maples, Flora finds herself conducting a private murder investigation.Ms. Phillips does a very good job developing Flora’s character; she’s young, trying to make a success of her father’s dream (at the cost of her own) and trying to build a life of her own. Stuck with male employees who don’t really understand why a woman wants to run a “man’s” business, Flora is naturally a little bit defensive and determined to be in charge. She’s also trying to get over the emotional loss of her parents, which is still very fresh one year after their deaths.
The secondary characters, from Joy, an octogenarian with more get up and go than some forty year olds, to Marshall, whose obstinacy is really a disguise for his attraction to Flora, and the resident’s of The Maples are all well written and contribute a lot to the story. I also enjoyed Joy’s little dog, Otto, who has a personality of his own. While the story is told mostly from Flora’s viewpoint, Ms. Phillips covers a broad range of topics through Flora’s observations and musings; she learns about love, loss, grief, and the celebration of life as we age.Will Flora discover who’s behind the series of “incidents” at The Maples? Will her newly inherited business be able to contend with their biggest rival? You’ll have to read Murder at the Maples to find out. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next book in this series.My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Crowns
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