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Exhaustive Enquiries (A Melissa Craig Mystery) Hardcover – April, 1994
The Amazon Book Review
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From Publishers Weekly
Introduced in A Little Gentle Sleuthing , plucky mystery writer Melissa Craig gets a taste of real-life nastiness in her low-key fourth adventure. Melissa agrees when millionaire Richard Mitchell asks her to write a murder mystery script for his birthday celebration on Halloween. But then in rehearsal at Mitchell's recently purchased Heyshill Manor Hotel in the Cotswolds, one of the players, a quiet, tense friend of Mitchell's, is fatally injured in a fall down the cellar steps. Mitch suspects the death was not accidental and asks Melissa to investigate quietly, suggesting she begin with the hotel manager. Melissa is puzzled to learn that the manager, whose wife has used exquisite art reproductions in decorating the hotel, has had a mechanic fit his car with a dummy tail pipe. On a walk in the countryside, she spies a car mysteriously leaving a hidden shed. As Halloween nears, Melissa uncovers a hidden stash of artwork and must figure out if the various mysteries she is encountering are connected. Fortunately her old friend Detective Chief Inspector Ken Harris comes to her aid and between them they solve the murder. Craig's slender plot is plumped up considerably by likable Melissa and her coterie of friends.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Another unabashedly retro adventure for Agatha Christie- wannabe Melissa Craig (Over the Edge, 1993, etc.), who agrees to write a mystery farce for the Stowbridge Players to perform at Heyshill Manor, the hotel recently acquired by blowhard millionaire Richard Mitchell. Rich Mitch is besieged by the contending forces of Dittany Blair, a librarian who plays the heroine in Melissa's play, and the Hon. Penelope de Lavier, of the Dizzy Heights boutiques. But the murder of Mitch's old mate Will Foley leads Melissa far afield from Mitch's romances, though closer to her own romantic interest, Chief Inspector Ken Harris, who keeps warning her to quit investigating the evidence that places an art-theft ring in Heyshill Manor. The inspector would sleep better if he realized that he was in the kind of book in which nothing really happens to the heroine. The stock characters are dusted off and put through their paces (archly civil spats, midnight searches, endless cups of tea) amiably enough until the unmasking of the hilariously unconvincing villain. By and large, though, it's all as soothing as a nice game of Clue. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Top customer reviews
And now back to this book:
Betty Rowlands really has her Melissa Craig character down to a "t" - civilised, yet quite capable of being both brash and rash; intelligent without being unrealistic or overwhelming; and above all, consistent and therefore believable.
This is the fourth book in the series, and is possibly a little more restrain than its predecessors. Nevertheless, it moves along at a good pace that keeps the reader's attention, and there are enough clues spread through the book to make the ending entirely credible.
If there was anything about the book I'd change I think I'd like to have seen a little more of Charlotte and Penelope - and possibly a little less of Mitch. Chris, on the other hand is given just the right amount of space to make him interesting, and amusing, without getting in the way of the plot.
In other words, a very well-crafted story which keeps to the high standard of the previous novels in the series (and not a ball of wool in sight!).
I enjoyed the latest Mel Craig mystery much more than I had the previous case, Over the Edge, set in France. I wished that the character, Iris Ash, had played a larger role in this case, however as she lends a levelheaded tone to each of Melissa's cases. One of the developments that I enjoyed was a new romantic interest for Mel (although the vocation of which is largely overused in this genre) and the plot was both fresh and interesting. I highly recommend this series and this book even if you have not read any of the previous novels in the series.
The first book in the series is "A Little Gentle Sleuthing". Enjoy!
A Cozy Lover