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Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Ellie Quicke Mystery Series

I just finished reading the second book in the Ellie Quicke Mystery Series by British author, Veronica Heley. (The two I’ve read so far are: Murder by Suicide and Murder by Accident). If you remember, Veronica was a featured guest on the Keep Me In Suspense Blog on July 16th.

Since that time, I’ve gotten to know Veronica better. I guess I expected someone as accomplished as she is (like over 50 books published) to be, well, above it all. She’s not. She’s very down to earth, besides being a really nice person.

She recently completed the Eden Hall series for Zondervan. I have not yet read those, but I plan to. In the meantime, I’ve been reading her Ellie Quicke Mystery series, published by Severn House Publishers.

These are definite British cozies with all the British culture I love. So many things give me this feel. The stores, the food (Yorkshire Pudding, anyone?), and (of course) tea.

Interestingly enough, though the Ellie Quicke mysteries aren’t published by an “inspirational” publisher, the main character is decidedly Christian. Not only does she go to church, she seeks God for guidance.

One of the reasons I believe Veronica is so successful is her gift for characterization. The cast of characters in her books is large, but I have never been confused or wondered who is who. Each person has some quality or quirk, if you will, that sets them apart from the other characters.

Her mystery plots are brilliantly convoluted, with plenty of suspects. And the emotional development of all the main characters is seamlessly interwoven into the story.

Even reading just two of the books, I can see that Veronica has planned Ellie’s character growth well. Over the series, the heroine grows and changes. In the first book I read, Ellie was a new widow, insecure, with little self-confidence. At times I wished she were a real person standing in front of me, so I could grab her, shake her shoulders, and tell her to get some self-respect. At the same time, I understood exactly how she felt and I was rooting for her to succeed. Any character that causes me to feel that deeply is well written. Besides which, Ellie is a real person with real faults. I love that. She's not perfect.

I highly recommend Veronica’s books, especially for anyone who loves a cozy mystery. You’ll find all of her books on Amazon. Many of them are also available at libraries, but if you read one, you’ll want the whole series on your shelves. These are the kinds of books that you can read again and again.

And I’ve heard whispers that Veronica has more books up her sleeve. Perhaps a new series? I, for one, will be the first in line to buy them.


Blogger Ron Estrada said...

That's my favorite part of writing a series. You can slow down your character's growth. He or she doesn't have to be a Christian by the end of book one, but taking a tentative step forward. Several characters at different stages of growth will bring back readers who want to see how things are going. The series allows me to develop several characters deeper than I could in a single novel.

10:56 AM  

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