Waste of a Life by Simon Brett
12/6/22; 192 pages
Decluttering mysteries #3
Waste of a Life by Simon Brett is a highly recommended mystery and the third installment of his entertaining decluttering mystery series.
Ellen Curtis is the owner and sole employee of SpaceWoman, a decluttering company in Chichester, England. She doesn't do major cleaning out of hoarders houses, she helps people overwhelmed with stuff organize what they have. When Social Services asks her to bring order to the home of Cedric Waites, she agrees to work with him. Waites is an elderly recluse who needs to have his home decluttered and repaired in order to live in it. Ellen has to be persistent to finally get Waites to allow her in and eventually start to get the repairs and organization that he needs done. She is shocked and sad to arrive one day and find Waites dead. It is even more shocking when she learns that the police believe he was poisoned.
Along the way Ellen tackles some other interesting cases, does some sleuthing and questioning on her own, and learns of a rivals campaign to smear her. She is also dealing with her two grown children and problematic mother. This is lighthearted entertainment rather than a heart-stopping thriller. The appeal is in Ellen's personable and upbeat narration and descriptions of the people she is working for and events she's experiencing.
As you're reading it may seem that the other decluttering cases are just filler, but they actually provide information pertinent to several mysteries. The pace is quick and Waste of a Life can easily be read in a day. Although this works as a standalone, after reading it I'm definitely interested in reading the first two in the series, The Clutter Corpse and An Untidy Death. Ellen is a great character and this could easily lead to another book in the series.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Severn House via NetGalley.
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