Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders
"Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders" always claims the reader's complete attention. This novel is a most commendable mystery thriller, fully deserving its overseas' acclaim. When not delving into diets and other aspects of "healthy" living, the author displays considerable powers of invention. His very fertile imagination creates extremely sticky situations for his unique investigator-hero. More
Here is a review by Chantel Stewart, featured on the back page of the 1987 Large Print edition: Thirteen guests at a health farm -- an unknown killer -- remote and exotic settings in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales -- here are all the ingredients for a classic mystery thriller. Strongly plotted -- cleverly drawn and extremely interesting characters -- bright, believable dialog -- plenty of action and suspense -- as well as mystery -- "The Health Farm Murders" is a thriller well above the formula, with a climax that is absolutely stunning and unforgettable. The following review by Cherie Fisher appeared in "Reader Views", August, 2009: "Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders" is a well-written story full of intrigue and suspense that will keep you turning pages until the final surprising outcome. John Howard Reid wrote this story twelve years ago, and now it is finally making its way into the United States market. It is the second of twelve in the Merryll Manning series. The story is written about a town called Happy Valley, but it is actually based on a real town called Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia. Merryll "Merry" Manning is taking a well-earned vacation from the Miami Police Department, or is he? He arrives at Sister Susan's Health Farm in Happy Valley, Australia, excited at the prospect of doing something healthy and restful from his stressful job. He quickly finds himself in the middle of an investigation as the other visitors at the health farm start dying. Police Sergeant Lambert is quick to blame Jimbo Punter, a local who had an affair with the Sergeant's wife. Merry is not convinced that Jimbo is involved and looks at everyone as a suspect. Each of the suspects is a very colorful character, but do they have the potential of turning into a deadly killer? The author does an excellent job of describing the local countryside in detail. The story setting is in a beautiful valley that was burned by fire. It includes a harrowing hike through the sometimes beautiful, sometimes desolate terrain that has many landslides, sheer cliffs and rivers – all places for people to meet unfortunate ends. As Merry is fully immersed in this nightmare, he finds part of the truth to what has been happening as he almost loses his life. The other part of the truth comes out later and is very surprising. I recommend "Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders" by John Howard Reid to mystery fans; it makes for a great summer read. Leonard Ward wrote in "The Canberra Times": "Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders" has already attracted some attention overseas, so it’s pleasing to report that this book, set in a thinly disguised Blackheath in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, fully deserves that strong commendation. The action takes place at Sister Susan's Health Farm off Govett’s Leap Road In Blackheath (called Selkirk in the novel). That establishment has a revolting vegetarian regime, although the author maintains that Sister Susan's peculiar ideas are actually "based on the diets advocated by highly-respected nutritionists. When not delving into diets and other aspects of "healthy" living, the author displays considerable powers of invention. His very fertile imagination enables him to create some extremely sticky situations for his murder-investigator hero before the book's culprit is eventually found. It is a measure of the author’s inventiveness that "Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders" always claims the reader's complete attention. This novel is a most commendable mystery thriller which fully deserves its overseas’ acclaim.
Available ebook formats: