Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Murder Your Mother-In-Law (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #5)” as Want to Read:
How to Murder Your Mother-In-Law (Ellie Haskell Mystery, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Murder Your Mother-In-Law (Ellie Haskell Mystery #5)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  818 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
The Thin Woman - Ellie Haskell - is back, in the most mischievous, marvelous mystery to hit the marital pike yet. Ellie's mum-in-law Magdalene has moved in permanently and poor Ellie finds herself up to her formerly fat neck in crocheted doilies and cheap statues of Catholic saints. As Magdalene runs her finger over every surface in Merlin's Court (checking, undoubtedly, f ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Bantam (first published January 1st 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about How to Murder Your Mother-In-Law, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Murder Your Mother-In-Law

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read

I love the Ellie Haskell series. A good read, well written. I enjoy Dorothy Cannel's books immensely. They're always well laced with humor.
Aug 12, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
Ellie Haskill hosts a dinner party, and her in-laws fight. She and other women of the town complain about their "mums" and most of the book is spent waiting for something to actually happen
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely book, a bit old-fashioned, maybe, but nevertheless a very good and entertaining read.
Very good entertainment for all, who do have a horrible mother-in-law !
Apr 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Another in the Ellie Haskell beleagured housewife mystery series. Set in a small English coastal town, this time Ellie's plans for celebrating her in-laws' anniversary go completely awry as usually happens with Ellie. Dealing with her in-law problems brings her into contact with three other wives in the village who are also having mother-in-law problems. Their musings about how to get rid of their mothers-in-law results in murder and blackmail which Ellie eventually unravels.

This follows the pat
Karen B.
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I discovered Dorothy Cannell with her first mystery The Thin Woman which was laugh out loud, one of the funniest cozies I have ever read. I read a few of the next volumes but I was reading ahead of the author's releases and got out of touch so was glad when I ran across this.
Ellie has a mother-in-law who a real pain, (but her friends have even worse Mothers-in-law I think). Ellie tries to have a celebratory dinner for her in-laws' anniversary and everything goes crazy.
I love the style of the
Feb 23, 2009 rated it liked it
I have a love/hate relationship with Cannell's books. On the one hand, I don't want to like these books. I don't want to read about someone as social-status-conscious as Ellie Haskell, I don't want to enjoy reading about her latest adventures. Yet, somehow, Cannell draws me in.

Maybe, this time, it was the drama surrounding the pie-baking contest that Ellie would be judging. Or the quirkiness of the characters, including Ellie herself. No matter what it was, this was a wonderful piece of fluff to
Diane Burton
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved, loved, loved this book. When Ellie Haskell's in-laws visit (against her husband's advice), her life is turned upside down. Her MIL is classic passive-aggressive. Enough to drive her to drink or murder. Commiseration with 3 friends at the local bar leads to consequences none of them expected.

The story takes place in England and the expressions are pure British. Hilarious. I wanted to slap Ellie several times as she let people walk all over her. She's the peace-maker, but come on, girl, g
Kaitlyn Dunnett
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mystery
The story is great fun. This audio version was a bit jarring with its strange mix of accents, so if I was only rating that I'd have given it a 4. I actually finished the last few pages in my old hardcover copy since I'm not doing that much driving with the weather so bad and that's when I usually listen to audiobooks. I was surprised to find a note on the flyleaf that I originally read the book back in 1994 and apparently listened to the audio version for the first time back in 1998. A bad memor ...more
Dec 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
How to Murder Your Mother-in-Law/Dorothy Cannell
I didn't care for the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton because of the overly broad characterization. This book trumps Agatha Raisin in that regard.
Use of first person narration doesn't work very well here, in my opinion.
As well, the author's use of language is sloppy. Misused "foist" in a way that mystified me as to what she intended.
Reviews talk about "wit" but I found only a very obvious, hit-you-over-the-head style of humour.
Jess Wilson
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
I got this book because I thought the title was funny. The author proved to me to be very witty. The one part of the book that was missing was mystery. I wanted to read a murder mystery with a splash of humor. I actually got to page 160 out of 200 and no one had died or done really anything mysterious. I was very disappointed and had to stop reading. I'm allowing myself to stop reading books that I don't enjoy. It's pretty liberating.
May 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010
What a witty book! I found this at a used book sale and picked it up based on the great humor I found in the title alone. This book did not disappoint. It was laugh-out-loud funny. Strongly recommend for anyone who has a critical mother-in-law, and a less-than-perfect relationship with her.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ellie Haskell has a mother-in-law problem and discovers she is not the only one. Four women find themselves sharing their woes and hatch up imaginary plots to bump off the problems. However, when those plots start to come true, Ellie tries to discover what is happening.
A humorous, cozy mystery.
Nov 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cute little read. Different from my usual reads. The author's vocab is outstanding. I really enjoyed her interesting choice of words. This wasn't a hilarious novel, but it gave me some chuckles every now and then. Definitely a book club read for housewives. :-)
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was hilarious!! I loved it. Falling under the "cozy" mystery category, there was more humor and drama than mystery, however. The mystery doesn't really start taking place until the last 70 pages or so, but the book is so good, you won't mind. I highly recommend Dorothy Cannell.
Ann Busbey
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dorothy Cannell has a wit that keeps you turning pages for the sheer joy of the smile she brings. She skillfully weaves the primrose paths in twists and turns that keep you wondering what's around the bend. I'm adding her to my list of favorite authors!
Jan 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Cute ( not what you think), but i still liked her first book a lot better
Cindy Ketcham
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very light read. Humerous throughout.
Sep 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
One of her best. This is a must read for Cannell readers.
Oct 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, humor
Ellie's humor is understated.
Now they have twins.
4 women have mother in law trouble at the same time.
Katie Powell
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love the Ellie Haskell books - None of them are as fun as the first in the series, The Thin Woman, but they all are quick, snappy reads. Highly recommend the series.
Apr 15, 2011 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I disliked it. English sitcoms work great for me on the TV, but apparently not at all in print.
May 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
the thin woman is much better - i really didn't like the main character (ellie) in this book. the situations seem overly farcical sometimes. it's not bad but i won't be reading it again.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
This was one of those books that I read just because it was there. It was all right. Kind of heart warming.
May 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-mystery
Dryly funny. Definitely 3.7 stars if such a rating were possible. In the great tradition of ironic domestic comedies with a little murder thrown in. DPL e book
Debby Allen
May 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Three stars barely. Frenetic, mind bogglingly dipsy, okay, two stars it is. A little cute, predictable, verging on tedious.
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This has been in my to-read stack for a while and I wanted to get it read and done. Very light and quite improbable story.
Anna Schilke
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Love it when a murder mystery causes me to laugh out loud!
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
title put me off for years, slow build
Sep 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dorothy Cannell has a sense of humor that just won't quit. I love her British prose and quirky characters.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Scandal in Fair Haven (Henrie O, #2)
  • Murder Gets a Life (Southern Sisters, #5)
  • Major Vices (Bed-and-Breakfast Mysteries, #7)
  • Maggody in Manhattan (Arly Hanks, #6)
  • The Class Menagerie (Jane Jeffry, #4)
  • Dead Man's Island (Henrie O, #1)
  • Puppet For A Corpse (Inspector Thanet, #3)
  • Murder Can Run Your Stockings (Desiree Shapiro Mystery, #13)
  • Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon (Meg Langslow, #4)
  • The Herring in the Library
(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 Thin Woman (Ellie Haskell)
  • 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 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)

Mystery & Thrillers Deals

  • Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake, #2)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Shaken (Jack Daniels Mystery, #7)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Her Last Day (Jessie Cole, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Split Second
    $3.99 $1.49
  • The Killing Lessons (Valerie Hart, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scat
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Blood Money (Joe Dillard #6)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Bluebird, Bluebird
    $13.99 $2.99
  • The Falcon at the Portal (Amelia Peabody, #11)
    $8.99 $1.99
  • In Good Faith (Joe Dillard #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Forbidden Stone (The Copernicus Legacy, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Monogram Murders
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Hanging Judge (The Judge Norcross Novels)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Visitant: A Venetian Ghost Story
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Die Like an Eagle (Meg Langslow #20)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Damaged
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Virgin in the Ice (The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Little Monsters
    $10.99 $1.99
  • A Reason to Live (A Marty Singer Mystery Book 1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener (Agatha Raisin, #3)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Infinity Born
    $6.99 $2.49
  • True Fiction (Ian Ludlow Thrillers #1)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Long and Faraway Gone
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Deadly Recall (Jessie Cole, #2)
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Curse of the Pharaohs
    $9.99 $2.99
  • When You Disappeared
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Queenpin
    $10.99 $1.99
  • I'm Thinking of Ending Things
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Song of Kali
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Counterfeit Heiress (Lady Emily, #9)
    $7.09 $2.99
  • Ugly Young Thing (Strangers #2)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Rhodenbarr, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Trespassing
    $5.99 $2.99
  • In Cold Blood (A Beatrix Rose Thriller Book 1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society
    $7.99 $2.99
  • The Stranger Inside (Strangers #4)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Remains
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Doubt (Caroline Auden, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Marriage Pact
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Signature Wounds (A Grale Thriller Book 1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Trouble with Goats and Sheep
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Naturalist (The Naturalist #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Girl from the Sea
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Hammerhead Ranch Motel (Serge Storms Mystery, #2)
    $2.99 $1.99
  • The Five Red Herrings (Lord Peter Wimsey, #7)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Lady Cop Makes Trouble  (Kopp Sisters #2)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily, #1)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Furious (Faith McMann Trilogy, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Forgotten Ones
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Moving Day
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Jade Dragon Mountain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Hangman's Daughter (The Hangman's Daughter, #1)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • The 19th Wife
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Dead Over Heels (Aurora Teagarden, #5)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • The Whole Enchilada (A Goldy Schulz Culinary Mystery #17)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Curse (Blur Trilogy #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Poisonous (Max Revere, #3)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • An Expert in Murder (Josephine Tey, #1)
    $4.74 $1.99
  • Mission Flats
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Blur  (Blur Trilogy #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Death of a Travelling Man (Hamish Macbeth Mystery)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • The Grave Tender
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Roseanna (Martin Beck, #1)
    $10.99 $1.99
  • I Am Watching You
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Persons Unknown (DS Manon, #2)
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Given Day
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Outrage (Faith McMann Trilogy, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lion (John Corey, #5)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Injustice For All (Joe Dillard #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Wrath (Faith McMann Trilogy, #3)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Stockholm Octavo
    $9.74 $1.99
  • The Buried Book
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Cutting Season
    $9.24 $1.99
  • The Party
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Birthday Girl
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Friend
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Fractured
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Winter Over
    $4.99 $1.99
  • American by Day
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Shifting Tide (William Monk, #14)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Necklace
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Good Behavior
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Big Fear (Hollow City Series, #1)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • Birdman
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Clockers
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Never Smile at Strangers
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Moonlit Garden
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Holy Island (DCI Ryan Mysteries, #1)
    $3.99 $1.49
  • The Barkeep
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Good Liar
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Cold (A Joe Tiplady Thriller #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Criminal Defense (Philadelphia Legal #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Poppy Done to Death (Aurora Teagarden, #8)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Twisted
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Open and Shut (Andy Carpenter Series, #1)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • No Shred of Evidence (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #18)
    $10.99 $1.99