The Charity Shop Detective Agency by Peter Boland

Title: The Charity Shop Detective Agency

Author: Peter Boland

Published on: 13 December 2022

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

A serial killer is stalking the elderly of Southbourne. The only clue left behind is a domino in the hand of each victim — with a name scratched on the back. Eighty-six-year-old Sarah Brown is found dead in her hallway one morning by her delivery man. She was stabbed in the back.

Fiona, Sue and Daisy, volunteers at the local charity shop, Dogs Need Nice Homes, can’t believe their favourite customer is dead. The ladies vow to bring the killer to justice. With plenty of tea and cake along the way, and despite squabbles with their rivals, the Cats Alliance across the street, the Charity Shop Detective Agency is born.

What a fantastic start to a cozy mystery series! I loved the eclectic mix of characters, a dash of humor and the murder mystery… ooh, full of secrets and surprises.

I have come to love ‘senior’ amateur sleuths – this story gives you a Miss Marple vibes; we have three Miss Marples here, not just one! Fiona, Partial Sue and Daisy. Fiona is the leader of the group, Partial Sue and Daisy are, um… good, but I liked Fiona the best.

Don’t get started on the ways in which these ladies decide to gather clues. From ordering online so that they could interrogate the delivery boy to buying spy gadgets – to keep an eye on the suspects. Speaking of “keeping an eye on the suspect”, we have the trio on their first stake out.

They pick a random Ian Richard – the name etched on the domino that Sarah held in her hand when she was killed. They sit in the car waiting for their suspect to get out of his house. But it never seems to happen. So they finally decide to ring his doorbell and make an excuse… But as soon as he opens the door, they see he’s on a wheelchair and he was waiting for them to put him to bed. Eh?

He was actually waiting for his night nurse and there seems to be a delay. But he’s an old man and it’s way past his bedtime so he requests the trio to lift him and take him upstairs, to his bedroom. They agree and carry him. Halfway through the stairs, he remembers he left his glasses downstairs… so they carry him all around the house in search of his glasses. By then, the night nurse arrives and tells the trio that the man they are carrying is perfectly capable of walking… and doesn’t have glasses.


The nasty Sophie from Cats Alliance, a rival charity shop from across the street, and her assistant Gail make things difficult for the trio. But then, there’s a The local detectives do not mind Fiona, Sue and Daisy doing a bit of amateur sleuthing… as long as they do not become the next victim! How many stories have you read in which the detectives give amateur sleuths the “go ahead” sign, eh?

The mystery behind the murders kept me guessing till the end. I loved the storytelling and the quirky characters. The killer’s identity was a huge shocker. One of the trio comes face to face with the killer… thank god for a guardian angel or there would have been another murder! S’right! 😉

Overall, this was an entertaining and enjoyable read. Some things didn’t make sense but when the story is entertaining, I am willing to overlook a niggle or two. I am looking forward to reading more of this series. The story ends with the trio getting another case… looks like the Charity Shop Detective Agency is already in demand!!

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