A review | Broken Heart Attack by James J Cudney

Broken Heart Attack is the second in the Braxton Chronicles Series. When I read the first one, it was my first look into the world of Cosy Mysteries and I enjoyed the book very much. But this second one I loved.

The plot centres on the death of Gwendolyn Paddington, a friend of Kellar Ayrwick’s grandmother, Nana D. It’s a classic whodunnit involving several relatives and a will. Or were there two wills? And what about the rumours of an unknown child? Nana D insists that Kellar investigate as he has solved mysteries successfully before.  

Kellar is the main character and the story is told in the first person which always makes any  story more immediate. He comes across as warm and witty, a college professor and a family man, but also someone who doesn’t take life too seriously. His tone is jocular but as the story unfolded I began to wonder if this was all a front, if it was Kellar’s way of keeping the world at arm’s length. He has terrible problems to deal with in his family life and impossible decisions to make and I worried about him a lot.

His grandmother, Nana D is my favourite character; in fact she’s my new role model! When faced with situations in future I shall ask myself – what would Nana D do? (But I hardly ever get faced with situations!) Kellar also has an ex-wife and a little daughter, and parents and siblings.

(You hardly ever hear about a hero’s family. Who were James Bond’s parents? Did he have siblings/cousins/grandparents? It’s as if heroes arrive on earth wearing tuxedos and drinking martinis “whole and entire unto themselves”.

The other characters in this book are distinct and easy to remember. There’s a handy who’s who at the beginning of the book but I only used it a couple of times. There are plenty of plot twists and turns and the narrative rolls along with ease, keeping the reader on edge but making you smile at the same time:-

“Hints of a ferocious dog came to mind when his alarming expression and cold, dark pupils centred on his unsuspecting mother.”

“… and kept her short, spiky grey hair perfectly styled. I’d suspected at one time it was a wig, and if I ever had the chance I’d rip that sucker off to test my theory.”

 The dialogue was terrific especially between Kellar and Nana D:

“This better be important. I love you to pieces, Nana D, but I was dreaming about a warm, sunny beach full of calming waves and palm trees.”

“Get your patootie out of bed. The sun is on its way up and you’ve got a nurse to grill . . . “

They teased each other but they also relied on each other, not least for Nana D’s delicious desserts which Kellar relished.

The story is well paced and shaped, and I believed every word of it. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. It’s great when you enjoy a book and really like the characters, to know that you can spend more time in their very pleasant company.

WARNING by Jenny Joseph

I came across this poem a long time ago when I was fairly young and loved it. I found it inside a book the other day and thought I would share it, since now I AM that old woman! I expect a lot of you have already read it.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me,

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired

And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings

And make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens

And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat

And eat three pounds of sausages at a go

Or only bread and pickle for a week

And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry

And pay our rent and not swear in the street

And set a good example for the children.

We have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?

So people who know me are not too surprised

When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.

A quote from “We All Die in the End”

And I felt a lurch in my stomach as I spoke. People always think they feel things in their hearts, but they don’t – it’s all in the stomach. On Valentine’s Day there should be big red stomachs hanging up in shops, and the cards should say – you are my sweet-stomach, my stomach is all yours, and stuff like that.

Thelma

“I wonder if I should wash . . . Thelma, do you think I should have a wash?”

            Thelma dithered beside the bed, moving from one wee foot to the other, waiting to heave Thomas to his feet. The top of his pyjamas hung open and his belly bulged over the bottoms. There was a line of sweat where the bulge began and another across the back of his neck when he bent to look at his feet.

            “Whatever you like, dear. The water’s hot.”

            “Well, I will then. I’ll have a nice wash and you can change the bed. I’m a bit sticky. One of the boys spilled beer . . .   “

            Thomas waved a hand near his pillow and then clutched Thelma’s arm. She braced herself and waited while he moved his heavy legs to the floor.

            “Up we go,” she said. “Upsy daisy.”

            Slowly, Thomas pushed his feet into his summer gutties and hauled himself up along Thelma’s, thin shoulder. She glanced at his jacket hung over the chair, pockets sagging a bit with change, good! Thomas’ hand was tight on her wrist and she fixed her eyes on the plump, pink fingers. She would prick him like a sausage . . . prick, prick, prick, all over, and his pink skin would burst open with wee pops and the yellow fat would ooze out, relieved and grateful.

            “I’ll have a piss first,” Thomas said.

            “Yes, and have a shower,” Thelma said. “You’ll feel the better of it.”            

Thomas nodded and shut the bathroom door. Thelma could hear him coughing, and then he was pissing and spitting and farting and coughing all at once – the whole bloody orchestra, as he said himself.

amazon.com/author/elizabethmerry

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