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Merryll Manning: The Health Farm Murders - John Howard Reid, Author

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

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

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

Review Stir, Laugh, Repeat at
Stir, Laugh, Repeat

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