Primrose Convention

Overview

When the publisher of the Skipley Chronicle hired Primrose Holland as his newspaper's advice columnist, it was either the best decision he ever made - or the worst. For Rosie, a pathologist who quit her job at the morgue to come to this local weekly in the spirit of adventure, is larger than life in every sense. But the reason her breezy column has doubled the Chronicle's circulation is the same reason she's a tough employee: she's not afraid to speak her mind, and speak it loudly. Faced with letters from readers...
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Overview

When the publisher of the Skipley Chronicle hired Primrose Holland as his newspaper's advice columnist, it was either the best decision he ever made - or the worst. For Rosie, a pathologist who quit her job at the morgue to come to this local weekly in the spirit of adventure, is larger than life in every sense. But the reason her breezy column has doubled the Chronicle's circulation is the same reason she's a tough employee: she's not afraid to speak her mind, and speak it loudly. Faced with letters from readers about everything from inadvertently eating a slug to the etiquette of finding your mother in bed with a younger man, Rosie's advice is always unorthodox, frequently hilarious, and prone to land her in hot water. But Rosie never gets in as much trouble as she does when she volunteers to help Fiona Morris look for her brother Philip, who disappeared while birdwatching in the Hebrides. Fiona and Rosie set off for Scotland to look for Philip, along with two recruits: another of Rosie's readers, birdwatching expert Arthur Prufrock, and his gardener, reluctant psychic Shad Lucas.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A missing engineer, a reluctant psychic gardener, an outspoken advice columnist cum pathologist, and an elderly bird enthusiast are some of the colorful characters in Jo Bannister's entertaining The Primrose Convention. Primrose, the nearly 200-pound columnist, dives with gusto into the mysterious disappearance of a reader's brother in Scotland, dragging her resourceful friends and associates with her into sleuthing and danger. Bannister specializes in painting full-bodied characters and settings with a few vivid strokes, and her canvases are meant to be savored.

—Elizabeth Foxwell

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The usually reliable Bannister (The Lazarus Hotel, 1997, and the Castlemere series) gets off to a surprisingly bland start in this kickoff of a new crime series. Her sleuth is advice columnist Rosie Holland, a rotund, tough-talking middle-aged woman living in Birmingham. Fiona Morris's bird-watching brother, Philip, has gone missing in the remote Hebrides islands off the coast of Scotland. She contacts Rosie, who turns to Arthur Prufrock, another ornithologist, who in turn brings along Shad Lucas, a young gardener and the reluctant possessor of psychic powers. This unlikely detecting team sets forth for Edinburgh and the offices of the British Trust for Wildlife, a bogus organization soon revealed as a front for immigration agents on the lookout for illegal aliens entering the country. Philip's lonely watching brief in the islands has clearly made him a witness to more than just nesting seabirds. Rosie is pleasant enough, although some readers might find her a bit too maternal and wise. And, although the pace picks up toward the end and the plot, once unfurled, is intriguing, the book suffers from the fact that so much of the suspense is backloaded. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Most people wouldn't think of consulting an advice columnist for help when their brothers go walkabout, but then most advice columnists are nothing like Primrose Holland, who edits the women's page for the Skipley Chronicle and contributes her own column, filled with such inimitably tactful recommendations as a bagpipe reveille for an elderly bird-watcher troubled by nocturnally noisy neighbors. So it's only natural that Fiona Morris should ask Rosie to stick her nose into the business of Philip Morris's disappearance. Is he really off watching birds in the Shetlands, as a scribbled postcard attests, or has he been spirited away from his Edinburgh rooms as part of some deep-dyed criminal enterprise? Joining forces with Arthur Prufrock, the old bird- watcher who likes his quiet, and Prufrock's second-sighted gardener Shad Lucas, Rosie sets off from the Midlands to Edinburgh to pick up Philip's trail. And if the detectives are not only more interesting but more numerous than the suspects, Bannister, fresh from her rougher-edged Castlemere procedurals and her tour de force The Lazarus Hotel (1997), hasn't forgotten to supply all the tension, and when necessary the brutality, she needs to keep you hot on Philip's trail too. A beautifully judged start for a most welcome new series.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312181574
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1998
  • Series: Rosie Holland Series
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 1.03 (d)

Meet the Author

Jo Bannister lives in Northern Ireland, where she worked as a journalist and editor on local newspapers.Since giving up the day job, her books have been shortlisted for a number of awards.Most of her spare time is spent with her horse and dog, or clambering over archaeological sites.She is currently working on a new series of psychological crime/thrillers.
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