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Murder for Good

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Murder for Good

by Veronica Heley

As with other books in the Ellie Quicke Mystery Series, Veronica Heley’s Murder for Good is an excellent mystery and a fun read. This is a series that does not need to be read in order as it is so easy to pick up on the characters as critical information is provided contextually. I have only read a few from the series, but I was immediately reengaged with the likable Ellie Quicke, who chairs a charitable trust fund and her husband Thomas, a semi-retired clergyman with a strong personal sense of right and wrong.

Although the plot goes off in many interesting directions, it begins with two main threads. Thomas is receiving bequests from a number of people who have passed away, some of whom he doesn’t even know. Also Thomas offered the use of a third story suite in his home to Hetty, a down on her luck woman that misfortune seems to follow. What was supposed to be a temporary arrangement has been interpreted as permanent by their houseguest. A loud and intrusive person, and a bad cook to boot, Hetty is being very stubborn about leaving.

Life gets complicated and even dangerous for Thomas and Ellie. Will Thomas be accused of murdering the elderly souls who list him in their wills? Can Ellie be strong in dealing with Hetty and others who try to bend her mind to their way of thinking? Ellie’s determined daughter Diana is caught in the middle of personal, health, and financial issues. Will Diana go so far as to accuse Ellie of murder when Ellie won’t agree to use trust funds to rescue her?

This was a fast and enjoyable read, mostly because of my desire to discover what would happen next. I knew who was behind the shenanigans long before the end of the book, but was unsure, as was Ellie, of just how far the culpability extended. Murder for Good left me satisfied with this story, but eager for another in the series.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Severn House for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:  5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #19 in the Ellie Quicke Mystery Series, but can be read as a standalone

Publication:  December 2, 2019—Severn House

Memorable Lines:

Oh dear! Ellie knew that ring. Her daughter Diana always rang the bell as if the Hounds of Hell were on her heels. Ellie hastened to open the front door, and yes, it was Diana.

She didn’t want to go in for proper dieting. Yes, it would be good to go down a dress size but she believed in moderation in all things. Well, most things, anyway. And if she wanted to binge on a chocolate orange every now and then, well, that was her concern and no one else needed to know about it.

…but am I personally up to dealing with such a huge responsibility? Dear Lord, grant me the wisdom to decide how to handle this. Oh, and the strength to stick to my decisions.
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Murder for Good is the 20th novel in the Ellie Quicke series written by British author, Veronica Heley. This novel reads like a BBC sitcom, and readers will appreciate the humor and cultural differences that are evident in the novel. Ellie, the protagonist, who is a widow but has married Thomas, a retired minister, is worried when her husband starts receiving letters containing checks from people who have died and left him money. He barely remembers or doesn’t know these people and can’t figure out why they would leave him money; Ellie becomes suspicious. Ellie is an interesting character, and is a bit naive as to what is really happening around her, but she is absolutely honest and wants to get to the bottom of things. Thomas is too nice, and has agreed to let a homeless housekeeper, Hetty, stay in their home in their vacant upstairs apartment temporarily, but Hetty is determined to stay longer and insists on “helping” Ellie by cooking meals (she is a horrible cook and Ellie and Thomas suffer from indigestion and other maladies whenever they eat her meals) and cleaning. Ellie puts her foot down and gives Hettie an ultimatum to move out, but Hetty just ignores her and carries on as if nothing has been said. Checks keep coming in, which add to Ellie’s stress, and Thomas ends up in the hospital with an ulcer and other stomach problems. 

Even those who haven’t read the previous novels in the series will have fun with this novel. Ellie and Thomas are well-developed characters, and are likeable and seem like real people. The supporting characters, Diana, who is Ellie’s daughter and not likeable at all, and Hetty is a nightmare – one that most of us have known someone like. Susan, Ellie’s previous housekeeper and good friend, along with her new husband are great supporting characters, too. While some of the scenarios aren’t all that believable, this is fiction, after all, and they make for fun reading. Readers will laugh through this novel as well as sit on the edge of their seats when their favorite characters are put in danger; Ellie and Thomas may not survive this one.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.
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An easy, engaging read with unexpected insight

20th in the Ellie Quicke series.

Ellie Quicke is the wife of Thomas, a retired vicar still engaged in good works. They both become concerned when a number of people, some of whom Thomas does not know, leave him a series of bequests. Ellie decides to look into this before the police become suspicious. She is also exasperated by their tenant, Hetty, who, given the top flat in their house as a temporary act of kindness, is now refusing to leave.

As Ellie begins to unravel the threads of this mystery the tale becomes darker introducing themes of local corruption, blackmail and possible murder. Then Thomas is suddenly taken ill and rushed into hospital…..has he been poisoned?

This is a crisp, well-written story, strong in ambience and sense of character. It is a tried and true formula, but it is well done and provides the reader with an entertaining and engaging read.

Where the author comes into her own and the writing moves into another gear altogether is in the depiction of the troubled relationship between Ellie and her daughter, Diana. Resisting all cliches, Heley outlines with trenchant clarity an uncomfortable truth – that those we love we do not always like. For me, this description and the distress it causes both mother and daughter contains some of the best writing in the book. Also, Heley’s portrait of Hetty and most of all her final self-pitying, resentful justification is masterful. Here the writing is unsparing and unexpectedly strong. I wanted more of it.

Charlotte Gower

Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review
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A good and entertaining cozy mystery that, even if it's the 20th in a series, can be read as a standalone.
Ms Heley writes great characters and her not-so-likeable ones are fantastic and you cannot help loathing them.
The plot is well crafted, the cast of character well written and I was hooked since the first pages.
An good read, recommended.
Many thanks to the Severn House and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Murder for Good
(Ellie Quicke Mystery Book 13)
by Veronica Heley

Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: December 3rd 2019 by Severn House Publishers

Goodreads synopsis:
The kindness of strangers comes under suspicion in the enjoyable new Ellie Quicke mystery.

Ellie's husband Thomas, a retired minister, is suspicious when he receives not one but five letters advising him that he has been bequeathed money by five different people in their wills. He barely knew three of his benefactors, and what could possibly connect him to the other two strangers?

Sensing something isn't right, and with Thomas's reputation at stake, Ellie investigates but is soon distracted, not only by the problem of trying to ease Hetty, a difficult woman who's recently taken refuge with them, out of their house, but also by her daughter, Diana, who's in trouble again. As Ellie finally starts to make progress with her enquiries, she is about to uncover some disturbing truths - and in doing so, find herself in great danger . . .


4.5 Stars

This is the thirteenth book in the Ellie Quicke mystery series by Veronica Heley.

Going into this I had no clue it was part of a bigger series. And I thought this easily could stand alone even if you have not read the previous twelve books in the series.

I both loved and hated this. I love it because it really kept me on my toes and really stirred all these protective emotions in me. I wanted to throttle the housekeeper Hetty and the daughter of Ellie, Diana just for being unnerving schmucks. I don’t think I have disliked so many people in one series before. Heley really knows how to elicit the emotions from us. The murders in this happen off stage, so to speak. And we don’t realize a murder has occurred until later in the story. 

I really felt a major amount of stress while reading this. But like an accident on the highway, you just couldn’t look away and keep your eyes on your own late. You become so curious that you have to know more. This story really sucks you in and you even wonder how it will ever be resolved.

Ellie’s husband has gotten quite a few letters from the estates of deceased people sending him money. He thinks one or two are fine but when the number of gifts keep growing along with the amounts, Thomas and Ellie both get suspicious. What is really going on here?

In some ways Ellie was just too naive for my taste. It seemed everyone and their brother wanted to take advantage of her for her kindness. I even wonder how Diana turned out so self-centered and me, me, me with a parent like Ellie. I wanted to bundle Ellie up and give her shelter from the storm and keep all these nasty people from hurting her.

There were a few times in this I wondered if Ellie was a bit ADHD since she mumbled to herself quite frequently and questioned herself at every turn. I wish she had been a bit more self-assured. Because of this I tended to not like her as much as I should have.

This mystery is quite interesting and you have to just let it unfold to get any enjoyment out of it. 

If you love a good suspense mystery, definitely check this one out for size. I am sure you will come away wanting to read more from this amazing author!

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
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Why did people he did not know leave Thomas money when they died?  Yes he was a minister but he didn't know any of them.  Both he and Ellie are rightly concerned that someone might think they've been on a killing spree (well, not likely but go with it), and, of course, the police also pick up on the connection.  Ellie sets out to find out what's happening and discovers all sorts of interesting things.  She also has to cope with her rather distasteful daughter Diana and Hetty, a woman to whom they extended a helping hand but who has turned out to be not very nice back.  It's a nice little mystery- with a lot packed into a short novel. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  I'd not read this long running series, making this a standalone, and I think enjoyed it as much as I would have had I read them all.
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Bizarre Bequests....
An Ellie Quicke mystery. Ellie's husband finds his reputation at stake following a series of bizarre bequests. Ellie's investigations take a dangerous turn as she delves deeper into the mystery. As ever, there are several threads to this quirky and entertaining tale. A worthy entry into this long running series which could happily be read as a standalone.
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Ellie Quicke and her husband Thomas live in present-day London in a very large old Victorian left to Ellie by her late first husband. Both are nearing retirement age but continue to stay busy; Ellie, with the trust she oversees, left to her by her late husband, and Thomas with the magazine he publishes for the church. He is a semi-retired minister.

Thomas begins receiving letters in the mail with checks left to him by people who have recently passed away and remembered him in their will. The first couple checks are from people he has ministered to through his profession, but then letters and checks come in from people he has never met. Some checks are for just a few hundred pounds, but some are for a few thousand. Thomas does not feel right about keeping the money. After he and Ellie discuss the matter, Ellie sets out to investigate the people leaving the money to Thomas and the circumstances of their deaths. Her investigations lead her to some unusual places and some very unusual people. Just as she begins to uncover some of the dealings, the police are given an anonymous tip that Thomas is killing people off for their money. Can Ellie get to the bottom of this windfall before the police accuse Thomas of murder?

Veronica Heley brings us another delightful murder mystery in MURDER FOR GOOD, her twentieth book in her Ellie Quick Series. Ellie and Thomas are very strong, realistic characters who are compassionate and caring individuals. They are surrounded by an assortment of quirky supporting characters who each have their own agenda. Thomas’ reputation is at stake here, and Ellie has other issues on her plate as well. The story line is a rather unique and imaginative one, with several current themes: affordable housing, public opinion, public corruption, and enabling adult children, to name a few. The plot takes several surprising twists and turns, arriving at a most unexpected conclusion. There’s a lot of tea drinking in this British novel, so grab yourself a ‘cuppa’ and curl up with this charming cozy mystery!
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Murder for Good is the new Ellie Quicke mystery. I’ve never read one of these before and I did find it to be enjoyable but fairly slow paced. Having said that you could easily lose yourself in the book for an hour or so. Nicely written but I would have liked slightly more momentum.

Thank you to NetGalley, Severn House and the author for the chance to review.
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This is the first of the series that I've read - but it won't be the last.  Although it is part of a series the book is also a good read on its own.  The story is well crafted and the people are believable.  Not a gritty murder mystery but very enjoyable.

Read it in one sitting.

I read a free advance copy.  This review is voluntary, honest and my own opinion.
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It has been awhile since I couldn’t put a book down, but this was one of them. I started reading this in the evening, thinking I’d get in a few chapters before going to bed. I ended up staying up until way, way, WAY past my bedtime in order to finish it. The plot was so engaging and the characters were so well written that I couldn’t go to sleep without knowing all the answers.

Ellie is a fascinating protagonist. She’s old-fashioned in many ways (her previous husband and her daughter both treat her as someone who was only good for being a housewife) but she’s strong and smart and totally capable.

Both Ellie and her second husband, Thomas, have generous hearts and gracious spirits. That is part of their problem – they are almost generous to a fault. It often leads to bad situations – such as not being able to get rid of their lodger, Hetty – but for the most part, it also means that they are able to do a lot of good in their community.

There isn’t a main murder in the normal sense that a mystery usually has a central death. Instead, there are a bunch of deaths that are “off-screen” (so to speak). They come into the story because the people who die leave Thomas various sums of money, ranging from 100 to 20,000 pounds. It’s these bequests that form the heart of the mystery – why are people (who Thomas barely knows, if he knows them at all) leaving him money in their wills? Thomas starts getting worried that the police will think he has something to do with their deaths.

I found myself reacting VERY strongly to the characters. Many of them were great characters, including Ellie, Thomas and their ex-housekeeper, Susan and her new fiance, Rafael. They were so sweet and caring of each other. And then there was Hetty and Ellie’s daughter, Diana. Oh my, how I hated these two. I mean, LOATHED. At one point I actually said out loud “I HATE THIS WOMAN!”. Heley’s writing made these two so terrible – but with such realism that I could totally believe that someone like this could exist in real life.

As I mentioned earlier, I hadn’t realised that this was part of a long-running series when I started reading it (the Goodreads book page doesn’t make it clear that this book is part of the series). In fact, I only found out about the series by accident when I started reading more about the author online. By then I was almost halfway through the book.

I think it’s a great compliment to the writer that I didn’t realise I had dived into a series. Often, I can tell that the book is part of a series because I feel a bit lost when I start reading – as if there are inside jokes that I’m just not getting or the story alludes to something in the character’s background that’s never explained. But I never felt this way at all. I can’t wait to discover some of the previous books as I’m sure there’s some really great background to Ellie and Thomas’ stories.

* Thank you to the publisher, Severn House Publishers, for providing me with a e-copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
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This novel is more 'Hetty Wainthrop' or 'Midsomer Murders' than 'Line of Duty' etc.
It's certainly an easy read with likable characters and a steady, gentle plot.
To be honest, it wasn't gritty enough for me but I can totally see why the writer has a large fan base.
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Ellie Quicke’s husband Thomas is a Minister and receiving bequests in wills from people he does not know. Ellie wants to investigate first before the police are involved. She has the added problem of getting rid of an unwanted tenant who believes she is part of the family. This is part of a series and l think you need to read previous books to get a better idea of the relationships in this story. Ellie seems to walk through this story in a bit of a daze with all that is thrown at her with breath neck speed. She eventually reaches her goal with plenty of luck and faith.
I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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An interesting light mystery. Although it's part of a series it reads well as a standalone. Ellie is a likeable main character and you enjoy following her train of thought as she sorts her way through what is going on with the help of some good friends and the hindrance of others.
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In the 20th installment of this series Ellie Quick finds herself busy. Her house guest has become a problem as She insists on cooking meals which are uneatable. Her daughter, Diane is rude and wants money again. Tomas received has received several bequests, a few from strangers. He beginning to feel that something a wrong  and his determined to return the money.  Will he succeed in clearing his name? I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK AND SERIES.

Disclosure: Thanks to Severn House for a copy through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
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This is the first book I've read in this series and have only read one other by this author. I enjoyed this one although the daughter is a very annoying character. I do like the other characters and the mystery was interesting. 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Murder for Good is a well written murder mystery.  Good plot and likable characters.  Mystery fans will love this book.  Thanks to the publisher for my advance ebook.  This is my unbiased review.
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Murder for Good was a good mystery with interesting characters. This was the first in the series I have read and I might go back and read some of the others. The book is well written.
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This is a "cosy" mystery story about what happens when good intentions come up against an individual who is either just psychologically disturbed or is very artful with their own evil agenda hidden behind a mask. 

Ellie Quicke is married to Thomas, a retired minister. Both of them become alarmed and suspicious when Thomas starts receiving a series of bequests from deceased people he barely knew. Ellie investigates to see if there is some link that ties them together. 

Meanwhile, Ellie has another problem with a homeless woman, Hetty, whom she has taken in only to realise she forebodes serious trouble (not least her terrible cooking, hence the reference to a pie on the book's cover). And then there's the truly awful Diana, Ellie's daughter, who starts making onerous demands for money. Ellie has some difficult, even dangerous, issues ahead of her.

When an author is new to me, I prefer not to know anything about them until after I have read their book. Since reading this title, I've discovered Veronica Heley is multi-published and Murder for Good is the 20th in a series featuring an older woman sleuth. This is a bit of a disadvantage as is the case with many such series you need to be up with the back story to really get a grip on the characters and their motivations.

That said, I still managed to enjoy this for its slightly quirky plot line and its human qualities, although there are unpleasant aspects too. I couldn't abide Ellie's daughter, Diana, and the way she terrorised her mother, so that ended up spoiling the book for me. Ellie struck me as a bit of a ditherer but being unfamiliar with all that she has been through previously, or why she tolerates receiving such treatment from her daughter, I never quite "got" her. I also thought the ending rather abrupt with no real comeuppance for the culprit.

An entertaining read with a lot of positives, but if that awful Diana features in all the other books in the Ellen Quicke  series it has put me off reading any others.
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As this is a new author to me, and the first I've read in a series of quite a few books, I did find myself getting into the story line.
Ellie is a good character, and her personality is fun.
As she investigates into the reason her husband is being left money from people he can't remember meeting, she finds herself in danger.
Not only is she looking into these mysterious bequeathed monies, she's trying to rid her house of an annoying guest, down on her luck.
Overall I found this to be an entertaining book.
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