Review | The Hangman’s Row Enquiry by Ann Purser

Spoiler Free

Hangman's RowA bread knife stuck in the heart does not normally come under the category of natural causes.

Published: May 4th, 2010

Publisher: Berkley Mystery

Pages: 312 (Paperback)

Series: Ivy Beasley Mystery #1


3 Stars

Oh, and by the way, All Problems Solved is a terrible name. How about Enquire Within?


Ivy Beasley, the beloved cantankerous spinster from the Lois Meade mysteries, has found a silver lining in her golden years as an amateur sleuth.

She teams up with Gus, a mysterious newcomer to the small English village of Barrington who can’t resist a little excitement even as he strives to keep his past a secret, and her own cousin, a widow with time on her hands and money in her purse. Together they’re determined to solve the murder of Gus’s elderly neighbor.


Recently, British mystery shows on Netflix have become my favorite thing and I was excited to start this book because it sounded exactly like my favorite shows! While I really enjoyed the book as a whole, there were a few things I had a problem with.

I thoroughly enjoyed all the characters; Ivy was feisty, Deirdre was funny, Gus was cunning, and Roy was beyond sweet. All the side characters had their quirks as well and I was always happy while I was reading. This book packs all the classic cozy feels but it’s made even cozier by the charming British country side and the small village locale. This book was an absolute joy to read and I was transported to a beautiful British village day where the old ladies take walks through the village square and friends sip tea in fancy country homes.

Since the book series is called the ‘Ivy Beasley Mysteries’ I had assumed the book would centralize around Ms. Ivy Beasley, but this book was told in the third person omniscient. I don’t hate this point of view, in fact I really enjoy it because I’m seeing the story from all sides, but there were a few issues I had with it for this particular book. One, I kind of wished the book series was named ‘Enquire Within Mysteries’ instead because the book revolved around the whole group, not just Ivy. Second, and this was my biggest pet peev, this point of view made it SO easy for me to figure out who committed the crime that I knew right away and just kept reading to figure out why and because I liked the characters. I’m hoping the next book won’t reveal too much too soon the way this one did.

I have kind of a love-hate relationship with the plot, however. When it came to the overall mystery I was confused in both a good and bad way. Good because I really didn’t know why Mrs. Blake was murdered and the intricacies behind the mystery; bad because I knew right away who was the culprit. I was hoping the book would shock me at the end by revealing the killer was someone who I hadn’t considered, but it was exactly who I thought it would be and that was kind of a let down. What wasn’t a let down was the actual mystery behind the mystery, Enquire Within really did uncover a big village secret and I was left guessing right to the end.

The author’s writing style was really great and I could always feel the tone of the book and that was something that made this book really enjoyable to read. When I was having a bad day I picked this up and was transported to a different world that was guaranteed to make me feel better, and this was my favorite part because that’s what books should do! I’ll be reading the next book in the series because I craved this feeling, adored the characters, and was entranced by the conspiracy that unfolded and cannot wait to read more!

Happy reading


Book Links  GoodreadsAmazon                    B&N         BAM


The Ivy Beasley Mysteries




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