Ellie opens the door to a man who is a stranger but instantly recognisable as the father of her housekeeper's young son. Mikey had been conceived at a party during which his mother, Vera, a schoolgirl, had been drugged and raped. Abdi hadn't wanted anything to do with her, but now he is a consultant whose wife cannot have children, and he aims to pay off Vera and adopt Mikey. Ellie discovers that Vera still thinks fondly of her then boyfriend, even though he had also rejected her.
When Ellie Quicke's friend, Felicity, witnesses a Pitbull savage a young mother in the park, she goes into shock and calls on Ellie for help. Ellie's enquiries indicate that the dog and its owner are strangers to the neighbourhood, but soon there are other attacks...and after each one, the dog vanishes.
Bea Abbot is asked to find the man or woman who laid a booby trap for Sir Lucas Ossett, the powerful head of an international company. She finds Sir Lucas’ wife in a state of fear, while gossipy elderly ladies cast doubt on their neighbours; these include a "therapist", an ex-employee of Sir Lucas’, and a cross-section of yuppies and oddballs. Call-girl cards have been left in tenants’ letterboxes, a cat has met an untimely end, and snow is forecast.
Bea Abbot's friend, Leon Holland, has asked for her help in establishing an alibi. But why would he need one? First, he tells her, he had a narrow escape from being run down in the road, and then he was lured to a car park to meet someone who didn't turn up. Matters escalate when two bodies are found in the car park stabbed to death. Then everything is thrown into chaos as a devastating virus infects the agency's systems. A hidden camera. Hate mail. A nasty practical joke.
Ellie's friend on the police force asks her to enquire about some deaths which might or might not be suicide. Unbeknown to the police, an elderly lady with dementia has come across some drugs and is using them to ease people in pain out of their misery. At the same time, the project to turn the quirky, turreted Pryce House into a hotel is dogged by problems and suspicion falls on the difficult twelve-year-old boy Mikey who Ellie has taken in.
While Bea Abbot worries that she’s lost control of her domestic agency, she’s asked to find some domestic help for an eccentric little musician falsely accused of murder. She doesn’t realize how dangerous this might be until Jeremy - fleeing from attempts on his life - lands up on her doorstep. Researching the gang who’d used an attractive girl to entrap Jeremy, Bea finds traces of them throughout high society. Can Bea keep Jeremy - and herself - alive, while all he thinks about is composing a song for pretty, dead Josie?
"Protagonist is not too bright."
Troubles never come singly. Ellie’s old friend and housekeeper falls off a ladder and hurts herself after seeing a “ghost” in a neighbour’s house, while Ellie is trying to get rid of a desperate young man, who says he’s looking for his great aunt… who happens to own the house in question. Mrs Pryce had told everyone she was moving to a retirement home, but never arrived there.
Bea Abbot and her husband have been running a highly successful domestic agency for many years, but when he falls ill and dies, she is pressured by her MP son and novelist daughter to retire. Bea is so tired from the long years of nursing her husband that all she wants is peace and quiet, and to have her pretty early Victorian house in Kensington, London, all to herself. What she gets is a couple of young lodgers with troubled backgrounds and an old friend banging on her door, asking for help.
While out collecting some Portuguese laurel for the formidable flower arranger Mrs Dawes, feisty widow Ellie Quicke comes across a dead body - a corpse without an identity. Next day, Mrs Dawes is discovered by Ellie and her grandson, Frank, badly beaten and close to death. Much to Ellie's dismay, the police think shaven-headed Neil, Mrs Dawes' grandson, is responsible, even after a third body comes to light.
Bea Abbott runs a domestic agency which does not “do” murder. But the disappearance of Tomi, the star of an award-winning short film, is a different matter, especially when the charming Chris bribes Bea with a bouquet of flowers. Can Bea find time to help him, when some well-meant advice she’s given to her daughter-in-law has led to a breakdown in family relationships? Bea discovers that Tomi’s circle contains a secret so deadly that they are dying one by one, even though none of them will go to the police.
Ellie and her new husband Thomas are called to deal with Ursula, a young student who has staged a sit-in at church. Ursula challenges Ellie to solve three mysteries: a broken engagement, her friend Mia's disappearance, and a murder. As she investigates, Ellie begins to suspect that there is more to these events. Soon she finds her own friends and family targeted as a powerful group hunts her down.
Velma is charm itself, especially when she's being inexact with the truth. Now she wants Bea, widowed owner of the Abbot Agency, to check up on her stepson Philip - he's somehow acquired a valuable picture last seen in the flat of an elderly lady who's been murdered. Maggie, Bea's assistant, moves into a flat in Philip's building, to investigate. However, Rafael a professional art thief who aims never to leave his victims alive, is also after the picture.
Cast out in disgrace from the family estate, dashing young Sir Gervase Escot was drawn towards the great castle at Malling. For there lived the much-courted beauty, Lady Elaine, to whom Gervase was once to have been betrothed. Rescuing a young girl from robbers, Gervase discovered that she was Elaine’s sister, the Lady Beata - a rebellious girl pledged from birth to the Church, taking with her an enormous dowry to redeem her father’s pride. Would Gervase ever be able to reveal his true identity to Beata?
The fake diamond in Dilys Holland's engagement ring implies that all is not well with her marriage. And Bea Abbot has already clashed with Dilys's husband, the bullying Benton, when she refuses to help him rescue his ailing company. But matters are about to turn a great deal worse when Dilys tries to commit suicide. Or does she?
Ellie has always disliked the local big estate agent - aka Great White Shark - and is distressed when her daughter Diana announces that she is carrying his child and about to become his fourth wife. But Ellie is soon drawn into the family circle when one of the Hooper children dies in their private gym and another succumbs to a peanut allergy. The police want to write off the deaths as accident and misadventure, but Ellie believes someone is targeting members of the Hooper family. Surely Diana wouldn't… or would she?
Ellie Quicke, although comfortably re-married, is still inclined to act hastily. But when she took in a young rape victim, she didn’t expect it to become an invitation to murder. When she was released from the hospital, Mia had nowhere to go. Mia is threatened by violent deaths which dog her every move . . . and Ellie’s. But who is responsible for these terrifying “accidents”? Ellie has other things on her mind as well, after being asked to help organise the weddings of both her best friend and her daughter.
There’s nothing sinister about Zander’s request for Bea Abbott to accompany him on an errand to a grieving widow, but it’s an awkward situation. Zander exposed a scam that his boss Denzil had been running on the Tudor Housing Trust…after which Denzil had, unexpectedly, died. His widow wants to sue the Trust, while the paperwork that could have proved her husband’s guilt has gone missing. Oliver, Bea’s computer geek of an assistant, is delighted to delve into the mysteries left on Denzil’s computer.
"This book is sort of "fluff""
Bea Abbot's domestic agency does not investigate murder...that is, until she finds herself in the company of a dead man dressed as a pantomime dame. It looks like suicide, but why don't his red-spangled shoes fit? Matthew Kent was an entertainer known to be a modest man in private, so why had he staged this grotesque charade in death? And why is his daughter so keen to hustle away his remains?
It was on the boar hunt that the Lady Joanna injured her arm – saving a nine-year-old page from the charging beast. And there – in the forest – there was no one to help her…other than the Hermit…He was like no other hermit she had ever seen – he was young, strong and dark – and vowed to silence. His name was Keren, but he was always called the Hermit…