The Health Farm Murders – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘On re-entering my room, I saw a man going through Zapata’s things. At first I thought one of the other guests had got wind of Taylor’s chocolate hoard and was helping himself. “Hold on there!” I expected the helping-hand guest to wheel around and offer some feeble excuse. Imagine my surprise when he pitched Zapata’s bag right at me! The bag knocked me over but as the guru made to rush past I lashed out at his shins with my foot, tripping him up. As he fell forward on his face, I threw myself on top of him. He tried to roll sideways, kicking out with his feet, but I was too heavy for him. I grabbed his head with both hands and forced it on to the floor; but he arced out his left arm and caught me a glancing blow on the chin, – not forceful enough to knock me off. I knelt the more heavily on top of him, and burying both my knees into his arms, pulled his head back and forth by the hair, smashing his forehead repeatedly into the floor. “Enough! Enough!” he cried out. “You and I are going along to see Sister Susan.” We both stood up. He preceded me into the corridor. He was a thickset gent, maybe thirty-five or forty, wearing black slacks and a black jumper. It was just beginning to dawn on me that he didn’t seem like a fellow guest at all, when there was a sort of gurgling sob from the next room. The door opened and one of the Seabrook brothers wobbled out, his face ashen, his normally bulging eyes now wide as saucers. “It’s Mr. Payne!” he cried out. “He’s dead!”
Good old “Happy Valley.” Located near Sydney, Australia and the perfect place to take a break to rejuvenate your body while taking a refresher course in living the natural way. Run, owned and operated by Sister Susan who promises to clean out your system, revitalize tired cells and set you on the road to health, happiness and low self-hostility. This sounded like the perfect get-away for police Sergeant Merryll Manning of the Miami Police Department. Little did he know that his trip would be quite the opposite.
The characters in The Health Farm Murders are of quite a variation. You have a minister, a movie critic/numerologist, a movie theater owner and an old sea captain, just to name a few. With the 1st murder I started looking at the possible suspects. I had my felon picked out only to have him murdered. I picked another suspect out of the guests visiting Happy Valley but soon found that person to have an alibi which appeared to make it impossible for him to be the murderer. So I changed my suspect choice and he too ended up being murdered. This went on throughout the WHOLE book! The Health Farm Murders turned out to be a book that completely stumped me as a “who-done-it” reader.