Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders [NOOK Book]

Overview

"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.

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Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders

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Overview

"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.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940011242182
  • Publisher: John Howard Reid
  • Publication date: 3/22/2011
  • Sold by: Smashwords
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 505 KB

Meet the Author

Author of over 100 full-length books, of which around 60 are currently in print, John Howard Reid is the award-winning, bestselling author of the Merryll Manning series of mystery novels, anthologies of original poetry and short stories, translations from Spanish and Ancient Greek, and especially books of film criticism and movie history. Currently chief judge for three of America's leading literary contests, Reid has also written the textbook, "Write Ways To Win Writing Contests".

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders- A good read on a rainy day

    "It's not every day that a cop gets to travel on the same train as the murderer." The opening line sets the scene for John Howard Reid's mystery novel, The Health Farm Murders. Thirteen people have booked in for a week's vacation in the idyllic surroundings of Sister Susan's Happy Valley Health Farm which is situated in the vicinity of the Blue Mountains in Sydney. Forty Five years 'young' Merryll Manning is the cop from Miami who sets out for a much needed therapeutic holiday. On the train he meets other health seekers like him who are all ostensibly in pursuit of a health nirvana.
    Sister's Susan's health farm turns out to be more of an austere monastery with strict vigilance and sparse vegetarian food. The thirteen vacationers themselves are a varied group. A retired sea captain regales anyone he encounters with his stories of exploits at sea while a chubby minister nicknamed, Pastor Tubby grabs bars of Hershey's because the food is so inadequate at Sister Susan's Health Farm. Merryll Manning encounters astrologer, E.J. Hopkins who analyses everything and everybody, the retired cinema exhibitor, Russell Payne, retired textbook publisher David Gray and several others.
    The thirteen holiday makers have barely settled into the farm when one of the inmates is murdered. Merryl Manning is in his element now. The vacationer takes a back seat while the cop takes over to solve this intriguing serial murder mystery.
    This is a great traditional whodunit with all the classic twists and turns of a mystery thriller. Merryll's unconventional deductive abilities quickly outdistance the local police sergeant George Lambert's limited policing skills. Merryll also has a quirky sense of humour and an uncannily accurate observation of the people and surroundings. While the story starts out with an impressive array of characters and the reader is found flipping pages to cross check who is who, John Reid quickly manages to grip the reader's attention and keep him glued to the end. To add to the book's value is the Australian setting which Reid has depicted with much panache and accuracy. For the Australian reader it brings to life this land's magnificence and for the reader who has never set foot here, it is sure to rouse an interest and perhaps a visit at least to the gorgeous Blue Mountains.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Vaunted Sleuth Returns

    When Miami police sergeant Merryll Manning travels to his mother's homeland of Australia, he looks very much forward to a week of rest and relaxation on a health farm, where he also plans to gain some helpful pointers about overall healthy living. What he gets instead, though, is thrust in the middle of a quickly unfolding murder mystery involving a rash of different victims. Surrounded by a host of likely suspects - all of whom seem to have something to hide - not to mention the growing suspicions of local law enforcement, Merryll soon realizes that he has his work cut out for him if he aims to solve the mystery - and preserve his own life - before it's too late...

    The second installment in the Merryll Manning mystery series, The Health Farm Murders picks up right where its predecessor left off. Through the masterful combination of vivid, lifelike characters and genuine, compelling suspense, author John Howard Reid has crafted another riveting murder mystery sure to captivate the reader's interest until the very end. Further enhancing the tale are Reid's striking descriptions of the wondrous Australian countryside, providing a lush backdrop for the equally compelling action of the story.

    With more than its fair share of surprising twists and turns, The Health Farm Murders is a gripping mystery thriller on par with the likes of Christie, Cornwell, et al. An engaging suspense thriller.


    Josee Morgan
    Apex Reviews

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    An Entertaining, Enjoyable, Intelligent Whodunit!

    Miami Police Sergeant Merryll Manning is on vacation at a health farm in Australia after answering an ad that promises a return to health and happiness. Just what he needed, or so he thought. Merryll's hopes for rest and relaxation are quickly dashed when a fellow guest is found dead.

    Available for the first time in North America, this is the second of twelve Merryll Manning books first published in Australia in 1985 by author John Howard Reid. Despite being a sequel, the book reads well as a stand-alone, and there is no need to read the prequel to become accustomed to the character.

    Sister Susan's Health Farm is set in fictional Happy Valley, based on Blackheath, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, Australia. Author Reid introduces a large cast of intriguing characters, each of whom have retreated to the farm for their own unique reasons. His protagonist is no stereotypical detective; Merryll (Merry) Manning is a sophisticated, eccentric policeman rather than the macho, ego-driven cops so common in the mystery genre.

    When a retired film exhibitor is found dead and the local police arrive, there is immediate friction between Merryll and police sergeant George Lambert. Lambert's police skills appear limited and Merryll questions the sergeant's ability to solve a homicide. Lambert points the finger of guilt at local thug James "Jimbo" Punter. Merryll suspects the sergeant has a personal bias against Punter and learns Jimbo once had an affair with Lambert's wife.

    Another guest is found dead. Merryll turns up clues that put nearly every one of the twelve vacationers, and even the proprietress Susan Delaflore, under suspicion at one time or another in the story. An enormous police manhunt for Punter begins in the vast valley. Meanwhile, the survivors of Sister Susan's farm set out on the final hike of the visit to Pulpit Rock Lookout. The hike is vigorous and dangerous as the author brings all the players together for an epic confrontation, but keeps the reader guessing the true identity of the killer until the final pages.

    The author has a knack for scene-painting narrative. His vivid descriptions of the mountain scenery and the simple accommodations of the farm effectively put the reader right in the scene, watching the drama unfold. Mr. Reid has penned a captivating, soft-boiled detective story with a strong main character, a terrific supporting cast, and a plot with twists, turns, and plenty of red herrings. He treats the reader to a tale filled with tension, conflict, and quirky humor. The violence is minimal and there is no foul language.

    I highly recommend Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders. This is an intelligent, old- fashioned-styled mystery that won't disappoint. Those who love a great whodunit will be hooked. Merryll is a superb hero and this is sure to be an entertaining, enjoyable series.

    More "Merry" mysteries please!

    John Howard Reid
    Lulu.com (September 16, 2008)
    978-0557010066

    Reviewed by William Potter

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    Jacque Stengel- TCM Reviews

    Going on vacation to the world down under is a dream for most of us, but Merryll Manning not only gets to travel to Australia but to a health farm to learn about healthy living. A dream come true?

    Miami is the home of police sergeant, Merryll Manning who finds himself in his mother's homeland of Australia on a week long vacation to a health farm. He is first seen on a train with various other colorful characters also attending the farm. Each person brings his own fears and idiosyncrasies to the Blue Mountains. However, Merryll Manning soon finds himself in the middle of several murders and in the crosshair of the local Sergeant, George Lambert. The colorful characters all seem to be hiding something and it looks like it is up to Sergeant Manning to solve the crime. A local, who had an affair with Sergeant Lambert's wife seems to be the most likely suspect, but is he just the scapegoat for the affair? Can Sergeant Manning solve this crime before he loses his own life?

    This book was first published in Australia and England and had a great following and finally a decade later it is being released in the United States. The story travels through roads that I have yet to tread and this author makes me want to visit with his vivid descriptions of the land. He even makes the desolate areas sound intriguing.

    I was a bit confused at the start of the story because of all of the people involved in the story so I really appreciated the cast of characters at the beginning of the book to keep them straight. This is a book you have to follow through to the final word. You never know when one character will reach out and just surprise you with something they did or had done to them. After I started to figure out who was who, the story flew and kept me interested until the very last page. I did find my vocabulary was greatly enhanced by the time I finished the book. It was an enjoyable read and I'd recommend this for anyone who is up for a challenge of who done it. I hope Mr. Reid gets to share some other adventures of Merryll Manning with the folks here in the U.S.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2010

    Every Character becomes a suspect

    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.

    The Health Farm Murders

    2008
    Lulu Press, Inc.
    230 pages
    ISBN# 978-0-557-01006-6

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  • Posted October 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    "Looks can be VERY deceiving."

    This is the 2nd book in the Merryll Manning suspense series; The Heath Farm Murders is brilliantly written in a crisp, first person narrative. This story follows Merryll as he travels to Sister Susan's Health Farm. With a strict environment and a no-junk food rule, Sister Susan's might be more than some guests had bargained for. The characters in this story can be somewhat eccentric, but they are also well-developed, very human and incredibly interesting! Scenic vistas, wide-open spaces and fire-scarred forests lend an uneasy, deserted atmosphere to Happy Valley that works well to builds tension and heighten the reader's awareness. This smoothly-flowing suspense novel will keep readers hooked with surprising, unexpected twists and creative plot developments. Merryll Manning has his work cut out for him as he has to assist with investigations and watch his own back; with a killer on the loose, who knows what could happen next. The author has included a very helpful list of characters at the beginning of the novel which readers may find useful. This is a highly recommended novel of suspense and mystery! Copyright (c) Nurture Your BOOKS --- Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

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  • Posted September 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Must Read

    Title: Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders
    By John Howard Reid
    Lulu, 2008
    Genre: Mystery/Suspense Thriller
    Pages: 232


    Merryll Manning is a police officer in Miami Florida. In much need of a vacation he is taking a holiday to Happy Valley, in Australia. Happy Valley is based on a real town Blackhealth, in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia. Merryll is scheduled to stay at The Health Farm which is full of promises of changing your life for the better. The Health Farm is run by Sister Susan. Sister Susan is a Health Nut that takes healthy eating to the extreme. The guests are a colorful group of characters that are very much set in their ways. They are less than happy when upon their arrival they are offered no food, not even a mere cracker. One guest offers them a Hershey bar that he has packed in his suitcase. The guests are more than happy for his generosity. Merryll has more than he has bargained for with this bunch of extreme individuals. His holiday is cut short when a murder happens right under his nose, now he is on a mission to catch the killer, but not before the killer murders more men practically before their eyes. Merryll can forget about any rest on this vacation, he is in the middle of a killing spree.

    This is a great book for all of you mystery lovers. You will be taken away by the story, to a point where you feel like you are in the same room as the rest of the characters, especially since Reid has a way of taking you to this place with his details, and if you forget who's who Reid has listed the character's in the beginning of the book to refer back to. It is a well written mystery that you will be anxious to find out who the killer is.

    John Howard Reid has written many books. The Merryll Manning series is a series worth your collecting for your reading pleasure.
    Download this book to your kindle today, through Amazon.

    More books by Reid
    Merryll Manning: Trapped On Mystery Island
    In All His Glory (Set in Agent Egypt)
    Prophet, Priest, and King (A novel of King Solomon)
    Micaela Morris in Jo's Heaven (Short Stories)
    A Packet of Dreams (Short Stories)

    Tracy Brusa
    http://tracybrusa.vpweb.com

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