July 31, 2013

Book: Flowers for His Funeral by Ann Granger

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 9:21 pm

imagesThis is a British mystery novel and the author was recommended to me years ago (along with Ann Perry, whose novels I have grown fond of) by a colleagues at that time. I had an opportunity to sample a novel only now. Maybe I chose the wrong one for my first novel but this novel left me very much underwhelmed.

Let us talk about the story a bit, first.

Rachel Hunter is the ex-wife of Alan Markaby and classmate of Meredith (Alan and Meredith are the detective couple who appear in many of Ann Granger’s books). She has not met Meredith in ages. She in the meanwhile has married Alex Constantine whose original name was  George Wahid – he emigrated to UK from Lebanon and changed his name and started a business which was very successful and he lived comfortably before he met and married Rachel.

As it happens, he  was murdered with a poisoned dart while right in front of the Markaby couple in a flower show and just after being introduced to them. Alan realizes that the cause of death is a dart. Meredith is invited to visit and commiserate with Rachel and arrives at the village villa Malefis, a very sumptuous house in the village. Chief Inspector Hawkins resents their presence but realizes he needs help. (He is against meddling detectives who interfere in genuine police work).

Neville, a very young boy who works in Malefis has a crush on Rachel and his mom Mrs James hates it. So does a girl who cares for him, Gillian, daughter of Mr Hardy. Gillian is young but plain and obviously has a crush on Neville, who is, according to her, is under the spell of Rachel.

Mrs Troughton, another village character, does not like Rachel either. In fact, Rachel does not seem to be liked by most for various reasons, the main one being her shallow and self-absorbed nature,  but everyone liked Alex. Troughton (Mrs) herself is despised by all and is a disaster in waiting. Martin is the bird-keeper of Rachel – you need enough suspicious characters to keep the reader guessing, right?

Someone tried to kill Meredith by rolling a heavy pineapple sculpture on to her. She survived.

There is Mavis who works for Troughton (what does she do in the story?)

Gillian gets hold of offending photos, and goes to confront Rachel regarding Nevil and his interest in her, when she is surprised by an unknown person and killed in the bird cage.

There is the villain of the piece who happens to be a cross dresser in secret, and Nevil and that person have a ‘friendly’ talk and Nevil gets killed. Meredith was hiding in the closet and understands who the killer is.

Meredith also realizes that the ‘woman’ in the funeral and the one found in the photos in the flower show are the same, and that person is the killer.

The book was slow. The ending is a bit of a surprise but you have to endure everybody walking around aimlessly all over the village (Allan and Meredith included) talking to people but you do not even get any clues. This goes on for the entire book. The murderer is discovered by Meredith hiding in a closet and listening to a conversation. How droll.

I think this book deserves a 2/10

— Krishna


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