An Abbot Agency Mystery
Severn House Publishers, March 2014
Author Veronica Heley has created a fine character in Bea Abbott. Bea is a middle-aged woman with excellent business acumen, who runs her own domestic agency to supply rich people with the help they need. She’s also a good boss who’s has earned the loyalty of her employees as well as a couple foster children, grown and on their own now, who are happy to help her out if need be.
Well, needs be.
Bea’s son, Max, is a Member of Parliament (the story is set in London) and is ambitious to rise in his party. He’s married to a wealthy society woman, has a child on whom Bea dotes, and seems to have everything going for him. His problem is that he needs more money, or he–and his wife– think he does.He gets mixed up with a shady character who is determined to acquire not only Bea’s business, but demands she run his and make it as successful as she has her own.
Bea says “no” and there’s the rub. Turns out the shady character is one Ben Benton who isn’t above knocking his wife and small daughter about. Worse, he isn’t above threatening–and striking–Bea when she refuses his “business offer” even as her son stands by and allows it to happen.
Then Benton is murdered, his abused wife disappears, and Bea is left to solve the mystery, just as a new man enters her life.
The mystery here is intriguing, the way Bea and her helpers work to solve it well done. Most of the characters are well-drawn. The problem for me was that I didn’t like any of them, except Bea, her foster children and her staff. Her son treated her despicably, the new man strikes me as untrustworthy, and even her “old friend” seems dismissive. I think she should give them all the boot! A worthy read that stirred my ire.
Reviewed by Carol Crigger, December 2015.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.