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CHICKENFEED: QUICK READS Paperback – 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Quick Reads
  • Paperback: 121 pages
  • Publisher: PAN; Unabridged edition (2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330440314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330440318
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lance Mitchell on November 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
Minette Walters does a great job of weaving what could have been the real lives of Norman Thorne and Elsie Cameron around a true story from 1920's Sussex.

Norman was eventually convicted of the murder of his fiancé, Elsie, and hung, despite the doubts around the conviction at the time. The way that the author describes the events leading up to Elsie's death could easily have happened this way, and Chickenfeed casts even more doubts on Norman's conviction.

The pressures exerted on a poor young man, struggling to build a decent living from a small chicken farm, which has been paid for by his father, in the years following the First World War, are enormous. Elsie is depressed, and is obsessed with becoming a married woman, especially after her brother and sister both get married in the same year. She will do anything to become Norman's wife, and that obsession, one way or another, undoubtedly contributes to her tragic death.

The author leaves the conclusions to the reader, which I think is a good move.

This is a book that not only makes you think about what happened to these two young unfortunates, but of the wider picture surrounding the death sentence down the years. It takes less than two hours to read, and is well worth the effort.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Wallau reader on May 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Let me start out by saying I am a huge fan of Minette Walters. I think she is a superb writer gifted with the ability to develop unique plots and in-depth characterizations. No two of her books are ever quite the same but they have all been excellent reads. Up to now, that is. "Chickenfeed" is a book so bad that to call it sophomoric would be to insult sophomores! There is no character development, a boring plot and a complete lack of quality. Whoever came up with the idea of "quick reads" obviously sold it to Ms. Walters (and, I presume, others) as a quick way to pad her bank account while doing absolutely no work at all.

I am deeply disappointed in this work and I hope Ms. Walters is also, and that she will return to her normally high standards with her next effort.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sires on July 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
At 121 pages this book feels more like half a book. Thankfully, I borrowed it and did not pay for it. While it felt like the plot might have formed the basis for one of Ms Walters' psychological thrillers, the book was just going good when it came to a rather abrupt and unsatisfying end. The author then adds a quick statement at what she thought was the truth of the case.

Because a book is based on true events does not mean that it cannot be a satisfying read. This one fails the test as far as I am concerned.

The book is part of a project in the United Kingdom called Quick Reads initiative. The stated goal is to provide reading material for individuals who have issues with adult literacy or who are learning English as a second language. Consequently, the number of different words used is limited and the sentence structure is simplistic. While the goal is laudable, the loss to plot and characterization pretty well guarantees that I will not be picking up another.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Based on a murder which did actually happen in the nineteen twenties, this is an intriguing short read where the characters are brought vividly to life. Elsie Cameron is a difficult person - moody and always suspecting people of talking behind her back. She has been given everything she wants by her parents who find it difficult to deal with her tantrums and do everything they can to prevent them. When she meets Norman Thorne she sees a means of escape from living at home with her parents.

Norman himself decides to start a chicken farm outside London when he is made redundant. This separates the two for a while but Elsie is not so easily rebuffed. Norman finds himself in a situation which he cannot control and when Elsie's dismembered body is discovered buried on his chicken farm he is the only suspect.

This is a short book which can be read at a sitting but it raises some interesting questions about the possibility of Norman's innocence of the crime. It is up to the reader to make up their own minds whether the jury was right. Should Norman have paid the ultimate price for the crime? I enjoyed reading this little book and found my sympathies swinging between the two main characters several times while I was reading it. If you want a quick read and enjoy crime stories based on real like cases then you may enjoy this one.
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