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False Money (An Abbot Agency Mystery) Hardcover – March 1, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
Book 5 of 6 in the Abbott Agency Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Heley's uninspired fifth Abbot Agency mystery (after 2010's False Pretences), 19-year-old Chris, a friend of Bea Abbot's adopted son, Oliver, surprises Bea with a bouquet of flowers at her London office. Chris uses his charm to persuade a reluctant Bea to track down Tomi, a young woman who came to the U.K. from Nigeria with her doctor parents when she was two. The stunning Tomi, who acted in a short film Chris made the year before, is now missing. Meanwhile, Claire, a short-term day nanny, contemplates murder. Unfortunately, passages from Claire's perspective often identify the name of her next intended victim and the means she plans to employ, undercutting the suspense. The motive behind the killings will strike many as a letdown, though series fans will enjoy visiting with old friends. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Domestic agency owner Bea Abbott (False Pretences, 2010, etc.) goes to bat for one of her unofficial offspring while her real son and daughter-in-law do their best to keep her from her grandson. Between visiting his home district and fretting over his overwrought wife Nicole, MP Max Abbot has little time to care for his colicky new son Pippin. Max's mother Bea is sure that all Pippin needs is a change in formula, but even the mildest correction to Nicole's parenting is met with hysteria. It's no wonder Bea prefers her makeshift brood: hyperkinetic Maggie, who fearlessly bosses around contractors on behalf of the Abbot Agency; brainy Oliver, whose success at Cambridge helps counterbalance a legacy of rejection by his parents; and charming Chris, flush with the success of his first film venture. Bea knows that Chris is an operator, but she can't ignore his pleas to help find his Nigerian friend Tomilola, ostensibly because she's disappeared with his library books. As attempts to find Tomi dead-end, Chris grows genuinely alarmed. After Tomi's body turns up in a field off Fulmer Lane, her sometime boyfriend Harry and Harry's friends Jamie and Hermia help Chris and Bea retrace the beautiful Nigerian's last days. Meanwhile, Max and Nicole bar Bea from their home, hiring a nanny to care for Pippin. But as her pursuit of Tomi's killer intensifies, Bea starts to fear that their choice of caregivers may put her beloved grandson in danger. Fans will be treated to the usual family complications as they wait for the inevitable shoe to drop. --Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2011

Bea Abbot, who runs a domestic problem-solving agency, is asked to help find Tomi, the star of a short film who had befriended some of Bea's young friends. They all swear that the missing woman would never cause anyone anguish by just disappearing. At the same time, Bea must deal with her ¬daughter-in-law, who treats her like a maid and refuses to allow Bea to touch her own infant grandson.

VERDICT As in this title's predecessors (False Pretences; False Step), Bea reveals her personal strength as she nourishes the friends she has reluctantly adopted as her own surrogate family and cleverly unwraps the motives behind several deaths. For fans of sophisticated contemporary cozies. --Starred Library Journal Review, March 4, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: An Abbot Agency Mystery (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 072786985X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727869852
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,098,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Mrs. D. H. Wood on April 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You cannot fault Veronica Heley and her writing the characters are wonderful she makes the book become alive as you do not want to it this down for fear of missing something cannot wait for the next book to be published. Carry on writing. It would be lovely to be one of the characters the good one that is in the book her lovely apartment her MP of a son and all the others who live and work for her. I just think this could go on and on there are very few writers who write like this and no peeking at the end it spoils it. Trouble is you have to read all the books that come out you just might miss something you can never tell if something might just be happening now .............
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Format: Hardcover
Veronica Heley's books are mostly delightful to read. False Money revolves around the apparently unrelated disappearances and deaths in a group of friends. Bea Abbot is unwillingly drawn into the situation and with her usual gentle persistence and the help of her household, find the truth behind a very ugly series of crimes.

What is disturbing in otherwise very enjoyable books is the fact that Ms. Heley persists in saddling both of her heroines in crime (Bea and Ellie Quicke) with abusive, truly hateful, and sadistic children who blackmail these women through grandsons. I don't understand why both women, who are otherwise intelligent and capable, willingly accept such treatment at the hands of adult children who appear to be the devil's spawn. If that's not bad enough, both seem to spend a great deal of time apologizing to said children for not being readily enough available to be abused by them.

In False Money, Bea's MP son and incompetent daughter-in-law call her up to demand that she come over to clean and cook for them at all hours, as the new baby is creating havoc in their self-involved lives. Bea always gives in, and dutifully acts as their unpaid servant although she is not allowed to touch her grandson or make suggestions about his care since they claim (very nastily) that she doesn't know what she's doing and only causes them trouble. After they verbally abuse and use Bea, they literally slam the door in her face when she leaves. Yet, she feels guilty if she is too busy to run to them as soon as they call. Bea rationalizes their treatment for the sake of her grandson, who is not at all thriving due to parental stupidity but really, enough is enough of this martyr routine.
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By Miss Ivonne on December 9, 2014
Format: Audible Audio Edition
Partway through this cozy, Veronica Heley's fifth Abbott Agency novel, I was singularly piqued. I thought the novel was bearing a dissatisfactory resemblance to its immediate predecessor, False Pretences. I was all set to give it a two-star review sprinkled with spoiler alerts, decrying the rehashing of "False Pretences" with nary a change. I should have known better, having inhaled Heley's previous novels, that she would never deliver a sub-par mystery novel. And she hasn't.

For suddenly, the novel veers off into an entirely unforeseen direction. Readers will realize who the murderer is long before even the perspicacious Bea Abbott, owner of the Abbott Agency, a domestic staffing agency; like the writers of the Colombo TV series of yore, Heley always divulges the perpetrator(s) early, and the fun consists of following the Abbott Agency's steps in solving the crime. Once again, in "False Money," readers will love seeing how Bea and her motley crew unearth the killer and find justice for the murdered Tomi.

In a separate storyline, Bea's selfish son and daughter-in-law, new parents of baby "Pippin," are so determined to follow the latest baby-raising fad that the poor infant fails to thrive; as usual, Nicole and Max, self-important and self-absorbed, give poor Bea a terrible time. Bea definitely has more patience than I! I would have given the whining, superficial Nicole a good telling-off long before now and then rounded on the conceited Max!

While "False Money" isn't the very best in the series -- that would have to be
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