Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: Victorian Book Club Mystery
Publication Date: 4/28/23
Period: Victorian – 1893
Number of Pages: 250
I always love each new installment of this entertaining cozy mystery series. The talented, intelligent, gracious, kind, and often a bit scattered Lady Amy is delightfully entertaining. Then, the equally intelligent, talented, kind, and not at all scattered William is just as entertaining – especially as he tries to manage Amy and keep her in matching shoes. They are so well-suited to each other, their banter delights, and being doting parents to Charles is just perfect.
William had looked forward to moving his wife and newborn son to his quiet, tranquil country estate for several reasons. It is the perfect place to raise a child and in a quiet country village, surely his wife won’t be constantly tripping over dead bodies as seemed to be her habit in Bath. Too bad that dream of peaceful tranquility is quickly smashed.
Luckily the estate has a very large home on it because soon William, Amy, and Charles are joined by all manner of house guests who are also entertaining. Amy and William find their mouths constantly dropping open at the radical changes in each of their visiting relatives – they cannot believe the fastidious Aunt Margaret has become prone to crying, emotions, and less than fastidious appearance. Then, there is William’s mother and new step-father – who would believe what his mother is now very happily doing. Amy’s austere, by-the-book, staid, proper father’s change is as drastic as her Aunt Margaret’s. Yes, those jaw-droppingly changed individuals have descended upon William and Amy for the duration, plus they are joined by a myriad of others as the book progresses.
Poor William, so much for peace and solitude in which to enjoy his new family. Then, to add insult to injury, there is a murder – and then another. The magistrate in Reading is an incompetent, doddering octogenarian who offers no help and tells them they’ll have to solve it themselves – but he does send an equally doddering, inept old man to act as coroner. Yes, another house guest to add to the mix.
They know the murders have to be linked, but cannot find a link between the two victims. One was much beloved and the other was reviled. What could they possibly have in common? Amy and William know they are missing something but they have no clue what that could be – until Amy and Charles are in danger. William is desperate to protect them – but will he arrive in time?
This was an entertaining story filled with a mystery that is seamlessly interwoven with the everyday life of a small English village. The characters are all delightful and you will love seeing them and what they get up to. The only thing I was left wondering about was the state of the marriage of Amy’s father and Mrs. Elliot – it wasn’t mentioned at all. Maybe that will resolve itself in the next book – or between books.
I recommend this book and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.