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Murder Flies the Coop
September 27, 2018
Murder Flies the Coop by Jessica Ellicott Kensington Books Historical Fiction , Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date 25 Sep 2018
Murder Flies the Coop, Jessica Ellicott’s new 1920s mystery, has charm in abundance as well as a distinctly British character. Beryl Helliwell, the American adventuress, and her friend Edwina are opposites in many ways, but they are also fast friends with a talent for solving mysteries. But being independent women has a downside - a dire lack of funds. When the vicar comes to them with a problem he wishes solved discretely, it suggests another option- becoming private detectives. A member of his pigeon racing club has disappeared, along with several of the members’ best birds and a substantial sum from the treasury. Before long, it becomes clear (with the discovery of the body) that they are now seeking a murderer.
Part of the novel’s charm lies in the variety of village personalities, and in the way things are done in Walmsley Parva. Beryl and Edwina challenge the norm, both by starting their own business and associating with people across classes. It draws their attention to the problems at the local colliery, and the suffering of the miners - something ignored by the villagers and the mine owner. At the same time, it opens doors, allowing them to discover information that would otherwise be missed. I also liked how pigeon racing plays a central role. It is a uniquely British sport that most readers are unlikely to be familiar with.
Beryl is quite like Phryne Fisher, albeit a touch older. The two very different friends understand each other and work well together, with Edwina skillfully soothing egos and using her social acuity to get information. Fans of the Miss Fisher Mysteries as well as historical mysteries in general will enjoy Murder Flies the Coop. It is a delightful cozy that has everything readers could desire in a village mystery.
4 / 5
I received a copy of Murder Flies the Coop from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
One would hardly call them birds of a feather, but thrill-seeking American adventuress Beryl Helliwell and quietly reserved Brit Edwina Davenport do one thing very well together—solve murders . . .
Sharing lodging in the sleepy English village of Walmsley Parva has eased some of the financial strain on the two old school chums, but money is still tight in these lean years following the Great War. All of Beryl's ex-husbands have proven reluctant to part with her alimony, which is most inconvenient.
So when the local vicar—and pigeon-racing club president—approaches them with a private inquiry opportunity, the ladies eagerly accept. There's been a spot of bother: the treasurer has absconded with the club's funds and several prized birds.
Beryl and Edwina hope to flush out the missing man by checking his boardinghouse and place of employment at the coal mine. But when they visit the man's loft, they find their elusive quarry lying in white feathers and a pool of crimson blood, stabbed to death—the only witnesses cooing mournfully.
After a stiff gin fizz, the ladies resume their search for the missing funds and prized birds—and now a murderer. Beryl and Edwina aren't shy about ruffling a few feathers as they home in on their suspects. But they had better find the killer fast, before their sleuthing career is cut short . . .