Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mrs. Malory's Shortest Journey by Hazel Holt

52. Mrs. Malory's Shortest Journey (British title - The Shortest Journey) - third in the Mrs. Malory series
by Hazel Holt
mystery, 1992
finished, 11/1/09

Ah, how nice to be back in the company of Sheila Malory. She is such a homey, comfortable person, one you might long for as a friend or neighbor. She truly cares about her friends, and those who are in need of company. In this book, she is spending time with two particular women, both friends of her late mother, who are in a nursing home. Hazel Holt writes of a situation we all face sooner or later.

Mrs. Jankiewicz and Mrs. Rossiter were almost the last of Mother's friends - so many others had died - and when they were gone yet more links with my past would be broken; one day soon there would be no one who still thought of me as a child.

A character who often appears in these books is a friend of Sheila's called Rosemary. She has a harridan of a mother who is demanding, puts unjustified guilt on her daughter, and is just plain selfish. In Mrs. Malory's Shortest Journey, we find that Mrs. Rossiter's children are the equal to Rosemary's mother. Sheila reflects on this:

I stood for a moment pondering on the unfairness of life that gave Rosemary a mother like Mrs. Dudley and Thelma one like Mrs. Rossiter.

The mystery in the story is that Mrs. Rossiter disappears from the nursing home. There is a lot of speculation because of an odd will which involves her dying sister and her. The solution is very satisfying, and was for me quite unexpected.

I don't read this series for the mystery element. I read it because I want to spend time with kind, generous Sheila and her animals, in her lovely town. I'm buying all the books in the hope of reading them over and over. They do me good, just as does a visit with a friend. If you haven't made her acquaintance, I'd like to introduce you. The books are listed in order here with alternate titles.


  1. Sounds like a timely book for me. There are few of my Mother's friends still living. One lives just a few condos away from my Stepdad. A funny coincedence. She now comes to lots of our gatherings. She always remembers a tidbit about life as I don't remember it. ha..

  2. I love this, Lisa. Thanks for telling me. Isn't it just so nice to be a little kid again, which only happens in these instances.

  3. This book sounds lovely and I like the idea of spending time with a friend!

  4. I've read several of these, all in the wrong order but it doesn't matter. I like them for just the reasons you do, plus Sheila Malory's love of Charlotte M Yonge, which I share. I'm so glad there are lots more for me to read!

  5. You've talked about this series before and I remember making note of it (sounds like one I'd enjoy)...just haven't gotten to it yet.
    Also, your new header photo perfectly captures a sunny November day. I love it!

  6. Staci, I realized that is really what my reading life is like - spending time with literary friends like Mrs. Dalloway, Hercule Poirot, Kurt Wallander, Isabel Dalhousie.

    Call me madam -and a new one coming out! Hazel Holt is amazing; like P.D. James or Elizabeth Peters writing late in life.

    Thank you, JoAnn. This is the view out my bedroom window. I'm pleased you remember me writing about Mrs.M.

  7. I love books like that-the way you summed it up on the last few sentences is such a perfect description of my comfort reads. :D

  8. Eva - sometimes I think all my books are 'comfort reads' in one way or another. :<)


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