Crouch End Confidential, the agency started by housewife and mother, Cathy O’Farrell, with ex-cleaner, Pimple, is failing badly. Hardly surprising when Cathy’s too soft-hearted to charge their only clients, little old ladies seeking lost pets and a school kid searching for his stolen bike. A new case involving a teenager in possession of an unexplained Glock pistol promises to change all that. Quickly Cathy’s deep in waters over her head, forced with hilarious results to pose as a mathematics tutor, a subject of which she’s truly clueless. There’s also the tricky situation of best friend and new mother Rosa hiring her to investigate her fiancé, Alec, plus the mysterious sabotage of Cathy’s friends’ cycle shop and a gang of yobbos dealing drugs at her children’s primary school. Worst of all, an ill-fated trip to rural Norfolk has Cathy’s husband, Declan, intent on buying a post office and transplanting the family to safer climes, threatening to tear Cathy permanently from her beloved North London home. Pretty soon Cathy’s risking her friendships, her marriage and even her life untangling all these messes. But that’s what you get for meddling in murder…
What we say – review by Nikki Mason:
Cathy is back and ready to throw herself into a brand new mess…erm, I mean adventure!
The Crouch End Confidential series are a masterclass in easy to read prosaic farce. And this new addition is no different. Cathy is in a bit of a pickle. Her business isn’t booming and the cases she does get see her getting stuck up trees as she chases cats, her husband wants to move their family to the country, her best friend is hiring her to spy on her errant fiancé and when a new case comes in that involves maths, guns and unruly teenagers, Cathy’s head is fit to burst. So surely she can be forgiven for making a few wrong decisions…can’t she?
Although I found Cathy’s childishness at times a little irritating, I really enjoyed the book as a whole. There are so many hilarious and delicious characters, all of whom feel like real tangible people, however cameo their role. Add to that some terribly British feeling disasters and I swear you’ll be hooked and sniggering. Also I challenge you not to groan out loud each time Cathy digs herself deeper into trouble and cheer each time she miraculously pulls herself out.