Series: Victorian Village Mysteries #2
Publication Date: 7/9/19
Number of Pages: 288
I can hardly believe that this is only the second book in the series. The first book, Murder At The Mansion, did such a phenomenal job of setting up the characters and the backstory that you feel as if, in this book, you are coming home and visiting with old friends and places. The overarching background story concerns Asheboro, Maryland – a very small town that has gotten lost in the migration to larger cities. The only industry has closed down and the younger people are all moving to the larger cities for work. This leaves the town with few residents and no money to sustain itself. In a desperate, last-ditch effort to save the town, they are looking are re-making the town into a Victorian Village in the vein of colonial Williamsburg, VA.
Kate Hamilton is busily trying to figure out how to convince the town merchants to rip out all of the modernization in their storefronts and change them back to their original Victorian configuration. Most of the changes from the last hundred years has been superficial and left the original structures intact. She also needs to find another tourist draw to the village and is hoping to find that in the remainder of the Henry Barton papers. In the last book, they found valuable and historic letters to Henry from Clara Barton, but that won’t be enough to draw tourists to their town. So, they are hoping that there will be additional historical documents of significance in Henry’s papers. Those things are very, very important because the town doesn’t have the money for any of the projects and if something of importance and value isn’t found, the town will just wither and die. So Kate has her hands full.
As Kate, Josh and Carroll ready the documents from the Barton mansion to the town library, Kate has a young man drop in at the closed library asking to visit the family section of the library. Kate tells him that the library is temporarily closed because they don’t have a librarian and that he’ll have to ask permission from the town leaders before he can come in. The young man leaves and Kate soon locks up and leaves the library. When she returns the following day with her friend Carroll, it is to discover the body of the young man who had just visited the day before.
Kate calls Detective Reynolds of the State Police and tells him what has happened. Nobody knows who the young man is – and his death wasn’t natural or accidental. Kate and company try to leave the murder investigation to Detective Reynolds while they focus on the documents – but – things keep happening that lead them to believe that the murder is somehow associated with the documents and they begin to wonder if there aren’t more documents stored somewhere else. What other secrets could there be? Is there something that would garner the town the money it needs to save itself? What was the young man looking for? Who could have killed him and why?
This is a fun read with excellent mysteries – murder and other. I also liked the introduction of the historical and research information included because it made the scenarios very believable. All-in-all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next book.
I’ve read other series by the author and she seems to bring any romance elements into it very slowly – much to my dismay. I love a good mystery, but it also needs to have a good, strong romance element in it for me. So far, the romance in this series is tenuous and I’m getting antsy about it. Is Josh the one? The real, strong connection doesn’t seem to be there so far. Is it Ryan? Unlikely, but possible. Someone else? Who knows. I’m ready for it to be settled.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.