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Thin Woman
Dorothy Cannell
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Thin Woman (Ellie Haskell Mystery #1)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,574 Ratings  ·  269 Reviews
Reluctant to show up at her family reunion carrying so many extra pounds, unmarried, overweight Ellie Simons hires Bentley T. Haskell to pose as her fiance, thus beginning a weekend of romance, jealousy, and murder. Reprint. PW. K.
Audio Cassette, Abridged, 0 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by Random House Audio (first published 1984)
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Aug 19, 2008 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of well-written cozy mysteries
Recommended to Kathryn by: Melanie, and a cozy-British mystery book list
An enjoyable, humorous and very cozy mystery. The first half of the book got off a bit slow for me--we didn't seem to be making any progress, or finding many clues, to the "mystery." However, I enjoyed the cozy and easygoing writing style, all the details and little character traits (especially of Ellie). I found the second half much more exciting as we finally got a mystery to start working out--I admit that a few of the clues were too obvious, and though I had worked out most of the "whodunit" ...more
Jan 25, 2011 Mariam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ellie Haskell is a hapless young woman who is too chubby, too old, and too clumsy for life to take her seriously and bring her a man. Now, I am not a romance reader and this book is no typical romance......., you will not find here a long drawn out scene in which the main character experiences "flutterings" and "butterflies". Instead, you will find a thwarted Ellie eating an entire box of eclaires on her own (which we all know is the real story behind heartache and longing), or buying an outfit, ...more
Grouchy Editor
What a bloody mess. Cannell adopts a 1930s, Agatha Christie-like style for her debut novel, which is a pleasant enough mystery for about two-thirds of its length. But then the author loses all sense of reality.

The heroine-narrator, an interior decorator obsessed with food, utters howler after howler (“I desired a roast beef sandwich with horse-radish and pickled onions with a wanton savagery that I had never felt for any man”), and her romance with an oddball male escort almost –- but not quite
Plot wasn't fascinating, except one aspect. Don't know what UK company the author uses to get remodeling done, but I want to hire them: she described her Heroine getting a complete kitchen makeover (Aga and all), complete antique-house electrical permitting and rewiring, a bedroom or two, and at least a drawing room, all done in 5-6 months, no delays, nothing in the wrong size.
Anne Hawn Smith
This is one of my all-time favorites. Overweight Ellie Simons hires Bentley T. Haskell to pose as her boyfriend for a weekend visit to her uncle's estate. He dies and leaves the estate to them if Ellie can loose weight and Bentley write clean and decent book and they both can solve the mystery. It was such a zany idea especially when the protagonists become attracted to each other. Ellie, especially, is a very well developed character and the action in the book is zany and fun. All in all, it's ...more
Oct 11, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: light, favorites, mystery
Ellie is the perfect main character. I laugh every time I think of her in the giant purple dress. She is unmarried and way overweight. She hires a male escort to accompany her to a family gathering. The obvious happens many times, but this is one of those great light-reads.

This is one of my very favorites for the light reading category. I have read my paperback version so many times that the cover has fallen off and has been re-taped numerous times. I was feeling sad tonight and really wanted s
Aug 06, 2010 ara133photography rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
This book was Fantastic! It kept me smiling and sometimes laughing out loud the whole way through - very witty. I LOVED all of the characters; the plot was swift-moving but the descriptions gave me enough 'time' to imagine I was really there. This is by far the best of her books. In fact, I have reread it so often it is falling to shreds! A wonderful cozy book - any time I'm feeling down or nervous or moody, I can pick this up and be instantly swept up into Ellie's crazy life. Really really a gr ...more
Apr 27, 2009 Sherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a serious "Twinkie" book, by which I mean it was yummy but I wouldn't want to subsist on a diet of it. A super fast read (less than 2 days) that combines Miss Marple with Moonlighting. Would be a perfect book to read on a long flight. Lighthearted mystery book with funny characters; somewhat predictable, but I didn't guess the big twist. Summer reading at its best. Yay me for reading something!
May 21, 2012 Sonja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Toll, toll, toll! Dieses Buch hat mir von Anfang bis Ende sehr viel Freude bereitet! Ich liebe den Sarkasmus der etwas schrulligen Charaktere, ich mag die Idee, auf der die Geschichte aufbaut, das Rätselraten und schließlich die für mich sehr überraschende Auflösung des Falles.
Absolut empfehlenswert! Ich werde mir auf jeden Fall auch die anderen Bücher der Autorin anschauen.
Apr 20, 2016 Semina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
3.5 stars

This little quirky jewel found its way to me this morning while I was shuffling through the fiction section in my University's library, trying to fill my time in between my classes.

The first page caught my attention and I spent the rest of my afternoon reading this novel, which is all it needs to be; a "relaxation novel", as my mother likes to refer to them. Simple, yet interesting, there's a nice and of course, really expected, but the suspense is executed properly to make up for i
Jan 27, 2010 Martha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a long time ago, and really enjoyed the wit...a lot of tongue in cheek humor...mystery, romance, and kind of book...Cannell has several more in this series...her last is one I just got to read, and am looking forward to it.
Feb 06, 2015 Regan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a fantastic read! One of the absolute best books I've ever read. And the ending! Really well done.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
An enjoyable, light-as-cotton-candy cozy that held my attention from beginning to end, even though I had figured out the baddy in the first couple of chapters. A twist on the country-house mystery, where the main characters have to pass a couple of tests to win the treasure and the inheritance. Ellie has to lose 60 lbs in six months (good luck, honey), while the man she hired to be her rent-a-boyfriend for the family reunion has to produce a "clean" book for publication. But can they survive unt ...more
Aug 05, 2015 Meryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hysterical.One of the funniest books I've read.Ellie Simmons hires an escort to pretend to be her fiancé for a family reunion.After the reunion her Uncle Merlin dies and they are all brought together again for the reading of the will.Merlin bequeaths Merlin's Court to her and Ben if they meet certain conditions within six months.The first one is that Ellie lose 63 lbs.Ben must write a book with no smut in it and they must find the treasure at Merlin's Court,or else everything goes to the remaini ...more
Mar 06, 2011 Geokowgurl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Don't waste your time with this book. It is extremely slow moving and the author uses a TON of adjectives, (like the white, fluffy, slow moving, yet dainty clouds), in an effort to make the book long enough to publish I think. It seems as if the story was created to make a fool out of a heavyset character and it is focused on slandering her do to her weight. However, since it is written from that characters point of view I guess that makes it okay? Hmmm, I was sadly disappointed by this book.
I found The Thin Woman to be a light, quick, and entertaining read. It maintained my interest to the end, and kept me guessing as to who the culprit was. I had a number of theories about the identity of the villain, and even though one of my guesses was correct, I had never felt very certain about any of my guesses. I developed what I considered a good theory on what the treasure was, but when the treasure was discovered, my guess wasn't even close. The twist at the end was fun and plausible, ye ...more
Janet Mahlum
This is a fun little English Country Manor mystery full of charm. The writing style is mediocre but plot and characters are nicely developed. Uncle Merlin has passed away and left a will fraught with peril. Ellie and her escort and pretend fiance Ben must live in the house for 6 months. Ben must write a book without a single word of smut and Ellie must lose 63 pounds in that time period. And, as if that doesn't sound impossible enough, they must find the house's treasure. But someone is bent on ...more
I found it difficult to stay interested in this book. It felt like a romance novel for the first half (oddly enough with food being the other half of the scandalous and forbidden relationship.) But once they parted ways and her thoughts and heart were no longer ruled by her cruel tempting lover who hurt and comforted her anytime her life wasn't ideal (to be clear, I'm talking about the chocolate eclairs and butter), then it almost seemed to be heading the route of an actual romance novel. Thankf ...more
Apr 10, 2014 Marianne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this, funny and an unexpected ending. First in the Ellie Haskins series by this author. I have already downloaded the next 3 books in the series.
Dec 07, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good read in the light, cozy, mystery category! Fun characters, good story, and a "didn''t guess that" ending! I will absolutely read the rest of the series.
Mar 06, 2016 Opera4fun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've never read anything by Dorothy Cannell before but I picked this up in a used book store and it's the first book in a series about a very outspoken female protagonist and her future husband and a series of adventures that brings them together. I really enjoyed this story. It's a great start of the cozy series about an interior decorator and her new husband. Lots of red herring and a great little country house type mystery. The writing is excellent and the characters are very present and inte ...more
Judy A. Ptacek
Nov 10, 2014 Judy A. Ptacek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good mystery

Suspenseful mystery set in an old dilapidated mansion. A will has strange clause that requires Ellie and Ben to remain in the house for six months and find a treasure to inherit the house and money. If they fail complete the required tasks then the other relatives would inherit. That raises the possibility of someone trying to cause the couple to fail thru many strange accidents. Many suspicious characters add to the mix with developments and twists in the plot. A satisfactory ending
Feb 17, 2016 Clara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Girl and boy meet cute; travel to a gathering of girl's unpleasant relatives at decaying family manor; girl and boy get involved in mystery occasioned by the death of girl's uncle; girl and boy snipe at each other while solving mystery; boy and girl are aided in their sleuthing by an eccentric sidekick. Girl renovates manor (did I mention she's an interior designer?); boy, girl, and sidekick solve mystery; boy and girl decide they've been in love all along. Happy ending, until the next title in ...more
Jun 23, 2009 Marfita rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozies, mysteries
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 09, 2012 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was well written, but the book (which I read in electronic format) was so badly proofread I wanted to box someone's ears! It's obvious that it was typed and a spell-check was run, but there was no human intervention before the publishing. Here's an example:
"You may mink poorly of her going off with another man, but she was a remarkable woman."

This would pass spell check, but the word should have been "think". Many instances like this exist in the book, taking one out of the story and b
At times funny, at times romantic, at times mysterious, this first in the series took a little getting used to the author's style. However, this story of family secrets, a mysterious portrait, and a treasure hunt intrigued me enough to put the series on my Kindle library wish list.

Partial to cats with my mysteries, this description of Tobias Feline pleased me: A very conventional cat, he refused to come up the fire escape and through the window. Perched on the hall table outside my door, he woul
Oct 31, 2015 C-shaw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A library book, famed mystery author Dorothy Cannell's first, subtitled _An Epicurean Mystery_. I'm already thrilled with her delightful (British) writing style, have copied down several witty quotations in my common book.
* * * * *
I almost gave this book five stars because of its readability and likeability. Dorothy Cannell is a wonderful writer. Characters were entertaining, story line kept moving, mystery was impossible to solve until the last few pages. I loved it!
Aug 25, 2015 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Family secrets, disfunction kin, hidden treasures, and the death of Uncle Merlin lead Giselle (Ellie) Simons and her paid escort Bentley T. Haskell to pose as an engaged couple as they struggle to the solve the puzzle and inherit Merlin's wealth. While I didn't solve the whole mystery I did know (or strongly suspect) the identity of Dorcas.

Would benefit with a more careful editor.

No sex
No violence
Kim Power
Aug 24, 2015 Kim Power rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read

The Thin Woman is a contemporary Jane Austen crossed with Agatha Christie. A mysterious heritage, eccentric relations, a mysterious and increasingly vicious prankster. Ellie's voice is marvellous: funny, ironic, and honest. There are some problems with the editing. The text hasn't always translated well to digital. But the writing is terrific. This author has won me over.
It's got some humorous bits, but mostly it feels rather sloppy and the constant "Oh, Ellie, you are soooooo fat!" commentary is just grating. The mystery is not particularly well developed, so I never felt any urgency or even a good grasp of what was going on or how much time was passing. And I'm still not sure how the very end worked at all.
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(from Fantastic Fiction online)

Dorothy Cannell was born in London, England, and now lives in Belfast, Maine. Dorothy Cannell writes mysteries featuring Ellie Haskell, interior decorator and Ben Haskell, writer and chef, and Hyacinth and Primrose Tramwell, a pair of dotty sisters and owners of the Flowers Detection Agency.

(from Internet Book List)

Dorothy Cannell, a mother of four, grandmother of te
More about Dorothy Cannell...

Other Books in the Series

Ellie Haskell Mystery (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • The Widow's Club (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #2)
  • Mum's the Word (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #3)
  • Femmes Fatal (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #4)
  • How to Murder Your Mother-In-Law (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #5)
  • How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #6)
  • The Spring Cleaning Murders (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #7)
  • The Trouble with Harriet (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #8)
  • Bridesmaids Revisited (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #9)
  • The Importance of Being Ernestine (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #10)
  • Withering Heights (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #11)

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