Tag Archives: England

Bells, Tails & Murder by Kathy Manos Penn – a Review

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I’m a big fan of cozy mysteries, especially those set in Britain. I’m also a huge animal lover so this one intrigued me from the cover and title. It was a bit of a slow start and I almost stopped reading it because nothing much was happening in the first chapters. The writing style wasn’t really up my alley either, but that’s a personal preference. Others may love it, so I’m not downgrading my review due to that.

I persevered and the story got better. One thing that bothered me was I couldn’t tell how old the heroine was. She seemed young and stylish, and men kept asking her out- ones that seemed young and also ones that seemed older- (which could really mean she’s any age—but, it was a bit confusing not to be able to picture her properly) but she kept calling herself an old lady and she took a ton of naps. Every day, she got so tired she had to nap. Her age may not matter in the grand scheme of the plot, but it stayed in the back of my mind as I read. I confess, it was distracting as she’d seem young one moment and older the next.

The Cotswold village was well-described and had all the elements one would expect, from the pub to the tea room, to the bookstore and inn. The village was peopled with an interesting cast of characters as well. The premise surrounding the murder and the author of the Peter Pan books, J.M. Barrie was clever and well done.

While I did figure out who was the red herring and who was the culprit pretty early on, I enjoyed the story as it unfolded. The added fun of the cat, Christie, and the dog, Dickens, who the heroine could understand as if they spoke English rather than barking and meowing, was a neat take on the cozy mystery genre. I liked that some of the characters had names with ties to the Peter Pan tales and the pets were named after writers.

There was lots of wine and lots of Greek salad in the book which made me hungry and I was glad the author included her father’s recipe for the salad and dressing. That was a nice surprise at the end of the book.

I’m giving it three stars for the slow start, but I recommend the reader keep going if discouraged by the lack of action at the beginning. It gets better.

Customer Service Winners and Losers

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Piles of Money

Customer service? How about no service! I just went round and round with my credit union the other day. My son moved to England for grad school and we called the credit union ahead of time and told them he was moving and we even changed his address. This is an international credit union that does business with people all over the world.

Sure enough, he went over and the first thing he tried to buy was a cell phone over there since his wouldn’t work internationally without huge charges. Guess what? The credit union wouldn’t honor the charge and cut off his card for “suspicious activity.” WTH? Crazy.

So, I called them as I’m the joint owner of the card. They would not listen to me about the charges being okay. They wanted HIM to call- what part of “He can’t get a phone because you cut off his card” didn’t they understand? He needed credit to get the phone and they cut off his credit because he was in a foreign country. It was one of those things called a vicious circle, right?

The only way I had to communicate with him was by email. He tried to email the credit union but they ignored his request to allow the charges. It was ludicrious. I went round and round with them, finally, exasperated, I told them they needed to look at my other accounts because I was coming to take ALL OF MY MONEY out as soon as I got off work. Guess what? They took the freeze off the kid’s card. GEEZ. How crazy was all that?

I’m still debating taking the money and leaving. If I hadn’t been a customer since I was 16, I might.

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