by J.M. Hall
In 2022, I found "A Spoonful of Murder" among donated books for sale in Ripley church, left some money in the box and took it home with me. It turned out to be a really good read (click here for my review), and you can imagine my delight when I found its successor at The Little Ripon Bookshop last summer.
Retired school teachers and friends Thelma, Liz and Pat are still meeting at Thirsk Garden Center for coffee on Thursday mornings. Some things have changed in their home lives, and they are not entirely open with each other, trying to pull through problems by themselves without bothering their friends.
Then they learn of nasty anonymous letters starting to turn up at their old school, and before they know it, all three of them are more than knee deep in a puzzling mix of nasty letters, dodgy (or not?) school accounts, a mysteriously over-heating biomass boiler, school supplies disappearing from the stock room and other funny business.
One of the letters effectively ends someone's marriage, another one leads to a near-suicide, and others claiming that nobody wants the efficient Head there seems harmless in comparison.
What did said Head of the school spot at the summer fête that made her look so shocked for a moment? And who would bother typing letters and hand-delivering them at the risk of being discovered when you could do it all much easier and more effectively on Social Media?
In spite of their homelife situations demanding attention, the three friends combine their efforts, and of course one of them works out the mystery. Not all is well that ends well, but some wrongs are righted, and the old closeness between the three and their husbands is re-established.
Just like the first book, I very much enjoyed this one, last but not least because I know so many of the places mentioned. Even my and my sister's favourite place for eating out in Ripon, Oliver's Pantry, makes an appearance!
I am certainly going to have a browse at The Little Ripon Bookshop this summer - sure that I will find #3 waiting for me.