If you enjoy Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, you will love Lorena McCourtney‘s American counterpart, Ivy Malone. As Ivy’s friend Mac says, ‘Ivy Malone, you’re the woman who jumps into murder and mayhem the way some women jump into a shopping spree.’
Ivy is an LOL (little old lady) who, after losing her best friend Thea in a thunderstorm, discovers that she has become invisible. It’s a kind of LOL invisibility, where she just seems to blend into the background unnoticed. Ivy quickly realises what a useful trait this is, especially when she finds herself up to her elbows in murders and bodies everywhere she goes.
In Invisible, Ivy is concerned that someone is vandalising the beautiful old cemetery outside of town. Fancying herself a real sleuth, Ivy goes after the culprits, spying out the old cemetery at night. During the day, she busies herself with wondering what her young neighbour Kendra is up to, until Kendra winds up dead. Ivy manages to successfully solve both mysteries before the police do, but ends up in danger from the criminal Braxton family.
Ivy feels as though she is In Plain Sight of the terrible Braxtons who want their revenge on her. She leaves town to get away from them and is straightaway embroiled in another murder adventure. Her irrepressible sleuthing drives the police mad and gains Ivy local notoriety. Which brings her to the attention of the Braxtons once again, causing her to take the drastic action of trading her conspicuous Ford Thunderbird for an ancient motor home and going On the Run. Along the way Ivy adopts a smoke-hating cat called Koop and a young hitch-hiker called Abilene, who is running away from her abusive husband. Together they stumble across a flock of starving emus and a couple of dead bodies. A suicide pact or murder? Ivy and Abilene can’t decide, though the local police seem to have made their minds up.
In Stranded, Ivy believes the Braxtons are still on her trail; Abilene knows that her abusive husband is after her. But when their motor home breaks down, Ivy and Abilene have no choice but to stay in the small town of Hello. Mysterious stranger Kelli offers them a house to stay in; a house where her uncle was recently found murdered. And Ivy finds herself the busy sleuth once again, almost getting knocked on the head by an exasperated murderer….
Ivy Malone is fun, gutsy and determined. Each book is filled with humour and colourful descriptions. Ivy’s unshaking faith in God is skilfully interwoven throughout. Memorable characters stroll easily through the pages. Characters like Ivy’s neighbours Magnolia and Geoff. Ivy ‘would just as soon never have known that Geoff wore boxer shorts printed with miniature magnolias’. His wife Magnolia has big, colourfully dyed hair and wears flamboyant outfits that no one else could ever get away with wearing. They are forever trying to match-make Ivy with Mac, a fellow motor home enthusiast. Ivy thinks ‘his Florida tan and his white hair definitely put him over into Senior Hunk status’. But then there’s quiet, charming Jordan, a retired lawyer who enjoys taking Ivy out for the occasional meal….
I absolutely loved these books. I couldn’t put them down. For anyone who enjoys Agatha Christie type ‘who dunnits’, the Ivy Malone Mystery series is a must-read. And if you’re quick, you can still download the first one from Amazon for free!