A Bitter Pill to Swallow : The Portman Creamery Mysteries

  • by CS Patra
  • Narrated by Ruby Rivers
  • Series: The Portman Creamery Mysteries
  • 3 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Meet the ladies of Portman's Creamery. Led by Irene and Chrissie Garcia-Galvan, this team of detectives solves the cases that others cannot. Join Pippa, Becca, Mary Beth, Stacey, and Winky on their latest quest, taking them into the medical field.
When a well-known and loved doctor is found shot inside his own office, the women of Portman's Creamery are called in. No sign of struggle, no sign of a break in. It is as if the killer walked in, committed the crime, and walked right out. No clues are found at the site. Upon investigating, they realize the doctor isn't the only who has been killed in such a manner. It has been going on for a while. There is a big secret that he's been keeping and the ladies have to hurry before the killer strikes again.

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"No one wanted to be reminded."

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Think of this book as a do it yourself poor person's Agatha Christie, and if you enjoy reading about a group of ladies thinking that they are a second hand Miss Marple, then this might just be the book for you. sadly, it wasn't my cup of tea (or even scoop of ice cream) for several reasons.But the rights holder had generously gifted me a copy of A Bitter Pill to Swallow so it seemed only fair to listen to the (bitter - sorry, couldn't resist it) end.Firstly, the editting, or rather, the lack of it. In the first chapter alone there were numerous incidents of the narrator stopping mid sentence only for her to repeat that phrase again. Editting glitches happen occasionally and, whilst irritating, are not usually worthy of mention. But this time it was far too frequent not to notice, although, to be fair, later chapters are vastly improved. Then there is the story: a receptionist at a small town medical clinic arrives one morning to find one of the doctors dead, shot in his surgery with no signs of a struggle or evidence of a break in. A clear case of homicide and the police are called in. So far, so good. The detective in charge, however, goes straight to a local ice cream parlour, the Creamery, and essentially recruits the female staff members there to do his job for him, passing on to them the minimal information known about the case at the time and even inviting those not at work at the shop to attend, and participate in, formal police interviews. I don't know how it works in America, but any of our boys in blue in the U.K. who did that would quickly find themselves without a badge and a job. Meanwhile,.the formidable ice cream sleuths dig up information that would have been apparent to the laziest of investigators, including the recent unsolved murders of two other eminent physicians, and that of a nurse, all of whom had been both friends and work colleagues of the doctor just killed. With almost psychic revelation, the female sleuths consider the possibility that the deaths might be connected, to the amazed delight of Inspector Plod.

And so it continues, a simplistic story despite the constant cries from the women about how complex and difficult a case this had turned out to be, and one which certainly doesn't merit the almost three and a half hours of play time. Much of it is taken up be the repetitious conversations of the Creamery crowd as they discuss their ideas and findings. The narrator does a good job at differentiating between the women but the nasal voice of at least one is very hard to enjoy. Despite Ruby River's lovely tonal voice, her text reading, too, is made to sound depressing by the down turn at the end of most sentences.

This is a light-hearted - no, a silly - story of how to make complex a simple murder mystery. To be honest, I even enjoyed it in a perverse way after I had swallowed my initial indignation. But it is not a book I could recommend to anyone: it gives both the investigation agencies and the intelligence of women a bad name.

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- Norma Miles

Book Details

  • Release Date: 28-12-2016
  • Publisher: CS Patra