Murder At Morrington Hall by Clara McKenna

Murder at Morrington Hall (A Stella and Lyndy Mystery #1)Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: A Stella and Lyndy Mystery #1
Publication Date: 5/28/19
Number of Pages: 304

This was a smashing good debut novel for Clara McKenna. My absolute favorite genre is Historical Mystery – but that has to have a romance in it as well, and this book definitely meets those needs. The writing is excellent and the mystery was well done with twists, turns, and red-herrings.

I enjoyed meeting both Stella Kendrick and Viscount “Lyndy” Lyndhurst. Both were very relatable characters for that time, both were likable, and I think we saw both begin growing into themselves. My favorite was Stella because she had the shock of her life thrown at her all at once – and in front of a bunch of strangers – not to mention having the devil himself for a father – and she handled in all with great aplomb. Lyndy caused me consternation at times because he seemed to take on some of the same disapproving attitudes as the rest of the family and friends. I mean, HE was the one in need – his family was the one in need – Stella wasn’t really getting anything out of the bargain. However, he did mostly appreciate Stella’s being different and became quite supportive of her.

Bright, fun-loving, free-spirited, open, honest, and beautiful, Stella was delighted when her father told her he was taking her with him on a visit to England to attend the wedding of an acquaintance’s son. Her father is cold, aggressive, abusive, and never does anything without it having some benefit to him – but – she can’t find any of that in this wonderful opportunity. He has even insisted on bringing her very own horse along for her to ride while they are there. As the premier horse breeder in the United States, he is also bringing along a couple of thoroughbreds to give to the groom as wedding presents.

Lyndy has known about and reluctantly agreed to, wedding the American for many weeks. It isn’t the marriage he would have chosen, but he’ll do it to save his family and estate. He’s not sure what to expect, but he’s not exactly enthusiastic about it. His mother, on the other hand, is totally set against the alliance – while his father is the one who set the wheels in motion.

Stella certainly doesn’t make a good impression on the up-tight, strait-laced, unsmiling, disapproving English family who seems to be determined to belittle her. Then, she discovers the REAL reason she’s there and flatly refuses. Not that her father gives her any choice.

A comment here about the parents – I disliked all of them, but I almost found myself disliking Lyndy’s parents more than Stella’s father. Yes, her father was rude, crude, and abusive, but at least he didn’t pretend to be something he wasn’t. What he said, he said out loud and plainly spoken. Lyndy’s parents and friends (even sometimes Lyndy) put up a false front, belittling in snide little comments. So, I disliked them – especially his mother – almost as much as I disliked Stella’s father.

On the day Stella arrived at Morrington Hall, and discovered that she was to be the bride, she also discovered a dead body. The body belonged to the Vicar who was there to perform her wedding ceremony. Who would murder a man of God? There are no clues – even the murder weapon is missing. Then, a few days later, a prized champion racehorse is stolen. Are the two events related? Next, one of the wedding guests is attacked. Again? Do we have three unrelated crimes? Oh! My! The investigation is on and Stella and Lyndy have to join forces to help solve it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I hope you will as well. I loved seeing Lyndy and Stella comes to realize that they have a lot in common and come to appreciate their differences and see them as strengths rather than weaknesses. I can’t wait to see how Lyndy and Stella come to deal with his family and the rest of the aristocracy in England. Also hopefully, Stella’s father will head back to America and we won’t have to deal with him anymore.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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