Book review of ‘A Spoonful of Murder’ by J. M. Hall

There’s a bit of a resurrgence of the Miss Marple-esque elderly lady sleuth going on at the moment. I blame Richard Osman. A Spoonful of Sugar promised so much, but I’m not too convinced that it entirely delivers.

A Spoonful of Sugar is set around the East Yorkshire towns of Thirsk and Northallerton, and promises a cast of female retirees using their many skills to solve a murder mystery. They have cups of tea at a garden centre, and visit friends with dementia, a funeral and a strip club. It’s a nice story but, unfortunately, it was just a little ‘twee’ for my liking.

There are some male characters (notable for their youth, hardiness around the home or dastardly dealing with elderly ladies) but the main roles are all female and rather insipid. It may just be me, but I found that this group of retired primary school teachers really didn’t really have enough individualism going on for me to be able to completely tell them apart. Their lives are rather mundane at the start, they have some excitement then go back to normal again afterwards.

I don’t want to be insulting about this novel: it’s got a decent premise, a satisfying ending, and the dialogue is well-written. However, for me, it just lacked a little pace. If you’re looking for an ultra-cosy murder, and let’s face it plenty of readers are, then give this a go.

Thank you to NetGalley, J. M. Hall and the publisher for this ARC in return for my honest opinion.

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