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The Thin Woman (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #1)
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The Thin Woman (Ellie Haskell Mystery #1)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  3,172 ratings  ·  233 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.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 1st 1992 by Crimeline (first published 1984)
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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithCrocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha ChristieA is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
Cozy Mystery Series
38th out of 611 books — 1,689 voters
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeAbby Cooper, Psychic Eye by Victoria LaurieThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithMurder at the Vicarage by Agatha ChristieThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Best Cozy Mystery Series
142nd out of 1,075 books — 1,306 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 19, 2008 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
May 21, 2012 Sonja rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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
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
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.
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.
Judy A. Ptacek
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
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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
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
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.
Don't get me wrong, I liked this book. However, the story was not tied together very well. There are ideas and confessions which don't go anywhere and you wonder why the author put them in and why the editor didn't take them out.
Did someone say this was Cannell's debut? That explains some of it.
I am looking forward to reading more in the series and I'm hoping the subsequent reads will be a bit more solid.
(My rating scale is that three stars is average/solid writing. Two stars means there are w
Very Amusing

I downloaded a sample of The Thin Woman and did not want it to end, so I purchased the Kindle version. The mystery was intriguing and it was very funny. I could really picture the characters in my mind by the descriptions and became enthralled with the story. Overall, I really enjoyed the book.
Jenny Evans
This is no literary masterpiece, but it's a fun book and for what it is, it's good. It's an 80s British comedic mystery. It was cute, cozy and a light read. Since I was just reading it as that there was even a twist I didn't see coming. I'll probably read more by this author, because this was my first by her.
I didn't think this book was that well written but I enjoyed it. Something about the main character's mood swings was hard for me to relate to. The story was engaging, though and I was in the mood for something light to read. It was kind of funny, but some of the humor was harsh.
This is the first Dorothy Cannell mystery I have read. I liked it very much. Connell's characters and plots remind me very much of Agatha Christie. They are not full of profanity and gore, but gentler and somewhat classy. This story was about a dysfunctional family and the quest for an inheritance. Connell weaves a good story filled with humor and subtle family incongruities. The end was most satisfying and surprising. I found several books by Dorothy Cannell in my book cupboard. I met her the y ...more
Lindsay Bennett
Enjoyed this cozy mystery.Nothing too serious so if you don't want any blood or serious thought provoking issues ruining your entertainment this is the book for you. This was the first of this series so I am looking forward to some more fun Sunday afternoon reading.
There were some good things lurking in this - I've always liked the trope of "I need an escort" because it offers such opportunities for couples to move into a relationship quickly. It was also interesting to see some non-standard body types being starred - the plump heroine, the short hero. The book was trailed on a number of sites as being funny, too - which is generally a plus.

Unfortunately, the sum of the parts just didn't work for me. I think the main downside was the first person narrativ
Nov 12, 2014 Kay rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: humor
Deliciously overwritten with a light hand, the puce prose had me laughing out loud and never gagging. The story shots kept me grinning. Pace very fine, too, and plot, while not dropping as many bread crumbs as I would have liked, worked just fine. A lilt in a dark winter's day!
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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)
The Widow's Club (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #2) Withering Heights (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #11) How to Murder Your Mother-In-Law (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #5) Mum's the Word (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #3) The Spring Cleaning Murders (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #7)

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