‘The Mystery of the Lost Husbands’ by Gina Cheyne
Is murdering husbands an addiction or merely a bad habit?
This is the question facing Private Investigator Cat Harrington when rich builder, Tom Drayton, dies shortly after his wedding night. Suspicion falls on his widow, Anastasia Rodriguez, the survivor of three previous ‘lost’ husbands.
Two years later, Anastasia is engaged again, to Cat’s friend Angelo, an Italian snail collector.
Angelo’s sister, Gia, employs Cat and the SeeMs Detective Agency to discover if her brother’s financé is a killer.
The search for Anastasia’s lost husbands takes Cat and her team from Scotland to the South of Spain and on to Argentina.
They have just a few weeks before the wedding to discover if Anastasia is a murderer and save their friend from becoming victim number five.
For fans of ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ and ‘The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency’
I once worked as a cleaner in a stone mason’s yard. It was odd work. Big men – and they were all men – lifted heavy rock and the sanded and sculpted it into fireplaces and kitchen counters any other form of home good which can be made of expensive rock.
In the mean time, I – at the time at student – would be a dog’s body, lugging rocks, emptying bins and trying to sweep up. All I really remember was all of us looking like apprentice Casper the friendly ghost impersonators as the limestone dust got everywhere. Smoking a roll up was nightmare.
The reason this book reminds me of that unusual summer? Firstly, because this novel has the same sort of madcap energy off-kilter joie de vivre which I associate with that time, but secondly – and more pertinently if I’m honest – the firm had been won in a divorce by the wife of the original owner and her new partner.
When the novel begins with a painter and decorator letting Cat know about Anastasia’s supposed murder of their boss, I did just wonder if maybe there was more to the stone mason divorce win than met the eye.
For the rest of you without such idiosyncratic associations, this novel does indeed combine elements of ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ and ‘The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency’ but also does a charmingly campy drive by on Footballer’s Wives or Dynasty. There’s glamour, exotic locations and some truly boo hiss characters it’s fun to spend time with.
Plus, you know, a dog finding detective agency – perhaps there should be a cross over with KT Lee’s ‘A Nose for Mischief’.
Author Bio –
Gina has worked as a physiotherapist, a pilot, freelance writer and a dog breeder.
As a child, Gina’s parents hated travelling and never went further than Jersey. As a result she became travel-addicted and spent the year after university bumming around SE Asia, China and Australia, where she worked in a racing stables in Pinjarra, South of Perth. After getting stuck in black sand in the Ute one time too many (and getting a tractor and trailer caught in a tree) she was relegated to horse-riding work only. After her horse bolted down the sand, straining a fetlock and falling in the sea, she was further relegated to swimming the horses only in the pool. It was with some relief the racehorse stables posted her off on the train into eastern Australia to work in a vineyard… after all what could go wrong there?
In the north of Thailand, she took a boat into the Golden Triangle and got shot at by bandits. Her group escaped into the undergrowth and hid in a hill tribe whisky still where they shared the ‘bathroom’ with a group of pigs. Getting a lift on a motorbike they hurried back to Chiang Rai, where life seemed calmer.
After nearly being downed in a fiesta in Ko Pha Ngan, and cursed by a witch in Malaysia, she decided to go to Singapore and then to China where she only had to battle with the language and regulations.
Since marrying the first time, she has lived and worked in many countries including Spain and the USA.
For a few years Gina was a Wingwalking pilot, flying, amongst others, her 64-year-old mother standing on the wing to raise money for a cancer charity. She was also a helicopter instructor and examiner and took part in the World Helicopter Championships in Russia and the USA.
She became a writer because her first love was always telling a good yarn!
Under the name Georgina Hunter-Jones she has written illustrated children’s books such as The Twerple who had Too Many Brains, and Nola the Rhinoceros loves Mathematics.
She now lives in Sussex with her husband and dogs, one of who inspired the Biscuit and Pugwash Detective Series about naughty dogs who solve crimes.
The Mystery of the Lost Husbands is the first in the SeeMS Detective Agency series and Gina’s first crime novel for adults.
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