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Warning at One [Mass Market Paperback]

Ann Purser

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Book Description

Nov. 3 2009 Lois Meade Mystery (Book 1)
The tenants of Lois Meade's terrace house in Tresham are frustrated by their neighbor's feisty pet cockerel, Satan. His owner, Clem Fitch, refuses to part with his feathery companion-making Lois's tenants fly the coop. Luckily, her son Douglas agrees to rent the house.

But when Clem and Satan are found dead, Douglas-who is involved with Clem's daughter-becomes a prime suspect in some foul business.




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Warning at One + Tragedy at Two + Threats at Three
Price For All Three: CDN$ 27.97

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (Nov. 3 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425231178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425231173
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.4 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #201,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent cozy provides lovely visit to British village Dec 10 2010
By CJ-MO - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The title of Ann Purser's Threats at Three may be a little misleading. It is the 10th book in the Lois Meade Mystery series, not the third. The series began with Murder on Monday and went through all the days of the week before starting to use numbers in the titles.

The main character, Lois Meade, runs "New Brooms", a cleaning service in the English village of Long Farnden. Her cleaning business has given her many opportunities to help the local police solve many of their cases. Threats at Three opens with the village council discussing fundraising ideas to pay for the restoration of the one hundred year old village center hall. Most village residents are excited about the project, but at least one person disagrees - someone tries to burn down the beloved hall! Inspector Hunter Cowgill soon finds himself searching for the would-be arsonist as well as trying to identify an unknown body found in a canal.

There is a large cast of characters in this book whose lives are very intertwined, as you might expect in a small village. This really gives the reader a glimpse into life in Long Farnden. Lois's husband Derek Meade works on the village center fundraising committee, which includes know-it-all newcomer Gavin Adstone, and is making plans for a soap box derby. Lois is convinced by her daughter to give a cleaning job to a Paula Hickson, a young mother struggling to support her children after her abusive husband disappears. Lois's daughter, Josey, is friends with Gavin Adstone's wife Kate and is dating Inspector Cowgill's nephew Matthew. The village grapevine goes into full gear when Paula's son Jack disappears, then reappears a couple of days later. Nobody knows if he was kidnapped by his estranged father, by a stranger that has been hanging around the schoolyard selling drugs, or if Jack was just staying over at a friend's house as he claims.

While this is a cozy mystery, the characters are well-developed have many layers. This makes the book realistic and keeps it interesting. The characters are often unpredictable, which makes the everyday events in the story even more entertaining. For example, while Lois is well-liked and takes care of her family, friends, and employees, her daughter-in-law sometimes find her interfering. Lois's mother, "Gran" is opinionated and outspoken and can be funny, but her comments are sometimes rude. Just when you think you have her pegged as a crabby old lady, she shows she can be caring by reaching out to help a family member or fellow resident in the village. Paula's estranged husband Jack Sr. and Gavin seem to be villains at the beginning. However, Jack shows that he is a hard worker and does care about his family in spite of his previous violence, and Gavin starts to befriend the same committee members that he scorned at the beginning of the book in spite of some shady business dealings.

Inspector Cowgill's relationship with Lois is a little perplexing but interesting. By all descriptions and observations, Lois and Derek appear to have a happy, affectionate marriage. However, we learn the Inspector welcomes Lois's help with his cases not only for her observations, but also because he is in love with her! Cowgill is very pleased that his nephew is dating Lois's daughter since that gives him more of a reason to keep in touch with Lois. Lois changes the subject when family members make comments about the inspector's feelings for her, but once when the inspector kisses her cheek good-bye, Lois remains smiling and touching her cheek after he leaves. This complex relationship is intriguing, and I hope it continues in future installments of the series.

I greatly enjoyed this easy-going mystery. In addition to likeable characters, the descriptions of life in Long Farnden and the little details like water boiling on the Aga stove and choir practice at the village church transported me to this quaint village, which turned out not to be the sleepy town it first appeared.

The Long Farnden vicar said it best when discussing all the newcomers moving to their village:

"Life in this small community was often nothing like the tranquil existence some incomers
seemed to expect, but when presented with a problem, or somebody genuinely needing
help, many of the real villagers rallied around..."

I was happy to be an "incomer" and experience some time in the life of a Long Farnden villager. Readers of Ann Purser's earlier works will enjoy this installment. Fans of M.C. Beaton or Agatha Christie's Miss Marple will enjoy "Threats at Three".

This review was originally written for the "Season for Romance" E-Zine. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good "cozy" English mystery Dec 21 2008
By S. McGee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is Lois Meade's eighth outing as a sleuth, working (often reluctantly and usually awkwardly) with the police inspector who has an unrequited crush on Lois, the owner of a thriving cleaning business.

Lois's cleaners have access to all kinds of unusual goings-on in the towns and villages where they work, so this is a good plot device. In this case, Lois is caught up in the mystery of Gordon Street, where she owns a house (purchased in the wake of a lottery windfall in a prior book.) At first, the only problem appears to be the presence of Clem Fitch's rooster, the aptly-named Satan, who has driven out Lois's tenants by doing what roosters do at dawn every day of the week. But there are other, more ominous, doings afoot on Gordon Street. Lois's team begins working for a mysterious elderly and blind (possibly?) woman who moves into "Braeside" across the street from Clem (why does the heavyset man who is her son yell at her, the cleaners worry?); while a reclusive skinny man living on the other side of Clem behaves very suspiciously. A murder ignites a two-track investigation; the police on one side and Lois on the other.

The plot in this book is solid, full of twists and turns. The characters are predictable; the outspoken, energetic and intelligent Lois, her stolid and loving husband; their three children; the hapless police detective; the members of the cleaning staff, etc. (For the reference of those who enjoy this book, Ann Purser was once referred to as the new Miss Read for a series of non-mystery novels revolving around rural characters; these actually are better-written, in my opinion and well worth seeking out; titles include Orphan Lamb and Thy Neighbor's Wife.) A character from that non-mystery series, Ivy Beasley, makes a guest appearance in this and some other Lois Meade books.

The case is eventually resolved with the help of Douglas, Lois's eldest son, who moves into the empty house next to Clem and the rooster and finds love with Clem's grandaughter along the way. This is a book to read more for the characters than the plot, however.

One note: the titles (which began with days of the week and now appear to be moving on to numbers) have less and less to do with the plots. I believe in the first book there was a murder on monday, but I can't figure out what "warning at one" has to do with the plot at all. *Shrug*
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars engaging tale Dec 11 2010
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The villagers of Long Farnden, England want to raise the money to refurbish the village hall. The community meets to discuss plans including who does what with electrician Derek Meade chosen as the lead of the fundraising subcommittee.

Not everyone is euphoric over the Village Hall Renovation Fund-Raising renovation plan to "save our shed". Some feel it is a waste of money and prefer nothing occur while one person fears her spouse will cause trouble for the townsfolk. New Broome cleaning business owner Lois Meade becomes embroiled in the middle trying to prevent a calamity from happening. However she fails as the first corpse is found leading to Inspector Cowgill investigating the homicide and Lois "helping" him.

Well written, the latest Lois Meade amateur sleuth (see Warning at One and Tragedy at Two) is an engaging tale that spends most of the story line on a small village politics when an issue divides the community. The support ensemble cast is solid as each picks a side in the community debate. However, the whodunit takes a back seat to the increasingly divisive ugly fight to shed or not to shed.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Threats at Three Feb. 5 2011
By Allene - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Threats at Three is a series book by Ann Purser. This is actually the tenth book in the series. All are centered around the English village of Long Farnden and the lives of characters introduced in the first book which was Murder on Monday.

When I started reading Threats at Three I didn't think I would like it but hung in there for a chapter or two and began to get interested, not so much in the plot, but in the characters. Actually, the plot was a little thin. For instance who was trying to burn down the hall? If that was clearly established I missed it. The characters, however, seemed well defined and tempted you to read the forerunner books to see how they developed.

If you like fast moving action, dead on suspense, and a stunning rap up, this book is probably not for you. If, instead, you want to spend a leisurely couple of days in an English village peering in the windows of some of the families then Threats at Three will be your 'cup of tea'.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something is missing in this Lois Meade Mystery Feb. 1 2010
By S. Collier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am generally a great fan of Ann Purser's Lois Meade mysteries, they are entertaining and offer a great, quick read for a cozy weekend at home. However, this latest installment leaves me scratching my head at several loose ends. First of all, she never really addressed who stole the items from the supermarket, unless I missed something, or it was implied that the villian, Alistair (John) Smith and his cohorts did the deed. Also, like reviewer aboleyn, I would like to know the significance of the pork chops in the stream. There are just too many things left undone in this book, and because if this, I had a hard time following the book at times. I will read the next installment, but I hope it doesn't leave so many pertinent items out of the story.

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