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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Murder at the Brightwell (Amory Ames Mystery, #1)

Murder at the Brightwell - Ashley Weaver

It's going to be hard to say anything about this one without making it sound like I'm damning it with faint praise.  The cover quote says it's "An elegant Christie-esque romp".  Putting aside that I'd hardly call most of Christie's work a "romp", there is a similarity in tone, and certainly setting.  This is a well-written, relaxing read.

 

The main characters are upper-class repressed Brits in the 1930's.  It seems things changed enough after WWI that a bit of scandal was acceptable, although nobody had better get too emotional about it.  Very stiff-upper-lip.  It sounds like I'm being snarky - but I'm not, I quite enjoyed the calm control that is such a part of Amory she could hardly be anything else; even during situations where a bit of hysteria could be considered appropriate.

 

Amory is married to a rogue.  He charmed her out of her engagement with her childhood friend, and then promptly left her at home while he played about the continent.  After 5 years, her ex comes to her and asks for help convincing his younger sister not to make the same mistake Amory did, and Amory decides what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  Only her husband, Milo, follows her.  And someone ends up dead.

 

Here's my only real complaint about the book:  Amory consistently forgets to be mad at Milo.  She certainly has plenty of reason, and it's not like she's a limp rag around him, but he need only say something charming, or kiss her, and she forgets all about pursuing their marital issues.  It's trying to the reader's patience after awhile.  I don't care if Milo looks like Thor and acts like James Bond, if I was married to him and his name was linked to every other woman in Europe, we'd be having that row and I'd not be distracted.

 

The mystery was awesome at the end.  Never saw that coming.  Incredibly well-plotted, although the writer doesn't give up a lot of clues.  I don't mind this but I know some people do.  Amory flirts with TSTL a couple of times, but mostly, it works.

 

Overall, a very, very good debut novel I enjoyed immensely.  I'm quite looking forward to the second book out at the end of this year.