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Foul Play at Four
A Lois Meade Mystery, No 11
Ann Purser

Berkley Prime Crime
Dec 2011/ ISBN: 978-0-425-24359-6
Mystery/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Lois Meade has her hands full with her family and her cleaning business, New Brooms. However, that never slows her down when there is mischief afoot in the village of Long Farnden. There has been a string of robberies of late, and it hits home when her daughter Josie's shop is robbed. Before the crime can be solved, another occurs at Farnden Hall, the estate home of local magistrate Mrs. Tollervey-Jones. The magistrate is away, visiting her son in London, when thieves break in. Lois· husband, Derek, recognizes that the truck he has spotted there is the same one involved with the theft at Josie's shop. The crooks bash Derek over the head and leave him unconscious, and Lois is the one to find her husband injured.

Now it·s personal. Lois is determined to bring these ne·er do wells to justice even if she has to do it alone. Naturally, her friend, DCI Hunter Cowgill won·t think of her chasing after dangerous men on her own, but he knows she is stubborn as ever, and that they will share information. Cowgill has long harbored romantic feelings for Lois, as she and Derek are both too well aware, but he·s never crossed the line and Derek tolerates him as long as he keeps Lois safe.

With Farnden Hall now up for sale, the village faces changes, and Lois is determined to do her part to make them changes for the good. With New Brooms employee Dot Nimmo as her sidekick, Lois sets off to find the criminals and turn them over to DCI Cowgill.

I found this to be an interesting novel because the reader is always ahead of Lois and of the police when it comes to who, what, when, where, and why is going on with the criminal element. The descriptions of the village and surrounding areas are vivid, and I found myself pausing to look at the beautiful cover of this book frequently. It was as if I could soak in the feel of the place from the picture to go along with the words. I also enjoyed Lois' pick for a sidekick this time, and found that I was chuckling aloud more than once.

Fans of Purser's previous books will love this good British cozy mystery. There is not a lot of suspense or serious threats to life and limb for our favorite characters, but the intrigue and being able to follow the thought processes of the criminals kept me reading straight through to the very last page. However, I am left with one question: what became of poor little Orly?

Other reviews in this series

Weeping On Wednesday, No 3 [review]
Warning at One, No 8 [review]

Reviewer Laura Hinds is the author of Are You Gonna Eat That Banana?
Reviewed 2012
© 2012