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A Pen Dipped in Poison: A witty and cosy mystery story, perfect for fans of Richard Osman

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Sometimes she wanted her husband of thirty-three years to clap her cheerfully on the back and say words to the effect of: My darling - knock the world dead!

Extremely well-drawn characters… the plot is carefully assembled… the writing is so good… I loved this story! as well as the summary on the back ("one by one, careers are ended, marriages destroyed") of the book are a bit misleading. This was my first entry into the world of retired school, teachers, Liz, Pat and Thelma, and although I hadn’t read the first case I didn’t feel that I was left behind ( I’ll be catching up with that one as soon as possible). The plot and pacing were absolutely perfect in this one, and I was so happy that we got to learn more about the ladies’ families.Retired schoolteachers Liz, Pat and Thelma are great friends and I was looking forward to catching up with them in A Pen Dipped in Poison.

When Kayleigh Brittain, the new head teacher, receives the first of what will be a series of nasty letters targeting teachers at the school, Thelma thinks it’s an isolated and unpleasant incident.EDIT to say I'm really bothered by the fact there's a character in this in an abusive relationship literally getting beaten by their spouse, and it gets no resolution. His first novel, A Spoonful of Murder, is about retired primary school teachers who turn to sleuthing. There’s an underlying theme of change that ties in neatly with the ‘under new management’, as the retired ladies struggle to accept difference in the education environment since they were working there and also struggle with changes in their home lives – each of Thelma, Liz and Pat having some version of marital problems going on in the background of their reluctant investigation. It turned out that I guessed the guilty party early on, but I’m still pleased with how the mystery plot played out, as it included numerous surprises.

The first half of the novel, where members of the school staff start receiving poison pen letters I enjoyed, it built itself up very well but unfortunately I feel that the second half just deflated, there was barely any mystery to solve and overall I felt it was very underwhelming.

I understand he's from Yorkshire, but it does show some short sightedness to seem to assume your audience is from your geographical region.

The characters are likeable and quirky, the story moves quickly and this talented author leaves us wanting for more?I liked the premises of the three retired friends turning into wannabe Miss Marple’s trying to project the school they so loved but the first half of the book did drag a little for me. This story dragged about someone writing pen letters in the school that the ladies used to teach in. Our budding Miss Marples are retired teachers who investigate a spate of poison pen letters sent to members of staff at their old school. Retired schoolteachers and amateur sleuths Liz, Pat and Thelma have a brand-new mystery to solve in this witty tale.

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