Title: Theft on Thursday
Author: Ann Purser
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, 2006
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Genre: British Cozy, Amateur Sleuth, #4 Lois Meade
Source: Paperback Swap
First Line: "She done 'im in," the old man said with relish.
It's been a few years since we last saw Lois Meade. Two of her children have flown the nest, and her musically-inclined son, Jamie, is ready to fly away to university himself. Lois's housecleaning business is going well, and she's seen very little of Detective Inspector Hunter Cowgill.
The biggest news in Long Farnden is the new vicar and his godson. The vicar came to his calling rather late and is having a difficult adjustment to the locals, and his godson, Sandy, is constantly on the prowl for a pretty girl.
All this fades to the background when Sandy, Lois's mother, and the verger all fall victim to a very nasty flu-- and Cowgill asks for Lois's help in gathering information on a group that seems to be a nightmarish blend of the Ku Klux Klan and Satanists.
Although I liked how the plot was constructed, this book fell a bit flat for me, and I think I can trace my dissatisfaction to the characters. For me, there just wasn't enough Lois and too much of characters I didn't care for: Sharon the naive gossip, Sandy the lech, the lady of the manor Mrs. T-J, and the rather indecisive vicar.
However, Theft on Thursday is still filled with what I love about this series: a wry sense of humor, the life of a middle class family in an English village, Lois dealing with her business and anything else that's thrown in her path. Even though the group of arson-loving KKK/Satanists show that city life all too often encroaches upon the countryside, Ann Purser's Lois Meade series is one of the best traditional British cozy mystery series to be found.