Review: Forbidden Fruit by Ilsa Evans


Title: Forbidden Fruit { Nell Forrest Mystery #3}

Author: Ilsa Evans

Published: Momentum: Pan Macmillan October 2014

Status: Read from November 01 to 02, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Forbidden Fruit is the third fabulously entertaining book in Ilsa Evans’ cozy mystery series set in the small fictional Australian town of Majic, featuring the middle aged accidental sleuth, Nell Forrest.

Forbidden Fruit picks up not long after Ill-Gotten Gains left off. Nell has moved into her newly purchased and renovated home, once the storefront for her absentee father’s butcher shop, and is digging a hole to plant an apple tree in her backyard when she uncovers human remains. The body is eventually identified as a young wife and mother who once lived in the adjoining premises and disappeared in the early 1970’s. The police suspect Nell’s father murdered her, prompting his return from England where he has been living for over thirty years, but Nell is convinced they have it wrong and sets out to prove his innocence.

Nell has her hands full in Forbidden Fruit what with two of her five daughters about to give birth, new in-law’s-to-be to entertain, her part time lover, Detective Ashley Armistead, demanding a commitment, and her ex husband parading his newborn daughter around town, yet she can’t help but get involved in the investigation when her father is charged with murder. Aided by her sister, Petra, and with clues provided by the gossipy residents of Majic (including Grace June Rae – the character I won naming rights to), Nell uncovers some disturbing secrets about the early years of her parents marriage, and unmasks a killer.

The mystery is well plotted with a trail of red herrings and surprising twists. It was well over halfway before I figured out the identity of the real killer, though not their motivation until the final scenes.

I have loved the humour in this series, from the ‘fan’ letters (Nell writes a syndicated newspaper column called Middle Aged Spread) that preface each chapter, to the exasperated snark Nell mumbles under her breath. The barely restrained chaos of Nell’s family life is a real feature in all three books, as is the eccentricity of the residents of Majic.

Forbidden Fruit, like the entire series, is a delightful blend of mystery, humour and domestic drama. Sadly this will be the final installment in the Nell Forrest Mystery series unless Nell finds a stronger audience. I implore readers whose interest is piqued to purchase a copy from your favourite ebook retailer.

* As of Nov 2014 the first book, Nefarious Doings is free to download from Amazon and both books 2 and 3 are just a few dollars

Available to Purchase from

Momentum I Amazon US I Amazon AU I Amazon UK

iBooksB& N I Kobo I Google Play

Also available


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kathrynsinbox
    Nov 04, 2014 @ 22:36:24

    I have yet to read any books in this series, but your review is a great recommendation, Shelleyrae.



  2. readingwritingandriesling
    Nov 04, 2014 @ 23:27:59

    A touch of humour is always appreciated by this reader.



  3. RIEDEL Fascination
    Nov 06, 2014 @ 10:51:44

    I’m pleased when novels are set down under. Two out of three I’ve read by Ozzies, were set elsewhere! How are you Shelley? Dial-up hasn’t made it easy to browse my subscribers, whom I appreciate dearly. My birthday is November 18th! I am in need of light-heartedness and a very good time.

    I don’t think you caught the news: one of our young cats died for no reason (major natural cause). I’m traumatized by it and was astounded not to be inundated with condolences (at my blog, where I’ll see and cherish them). Hearing people understand “cat” = “son&daughter” to me, is very healing. Despite only living 4 years, I want people to know our sweet boy. Along with entertainment, a community is for lifting people up, so I’m reaching out to mine. I’m much better but had to try again because a cricket response hasn’t sat well with me. It might help to explain I WANT to hear from people. My post is here. Gratefully, Carolyn.



  4. Trackback: AWW2014 Crime Roundup #5 | Australian Women Writers Challenge
  5. Trackback: Review: Dastardly Deeds by Ilsa Evans | book'd out

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