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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.

A Bicycle Built for Murder (A Manor House Mystery #1)

A Bicycle Built For Murder - Kate Kingsbury

In my stuggle to overcome my Reader's Block, I thought perhaps a re-read of a nice, historical cozy would do - a bit like eating dry toast when one's stomach isn't playing nice, or one is feeling puny.  That's not to say the read itself is bland, but rather comforting;  I've been here with these characters before, and the town of Sitting Marsh should slip on like a well-loved sweater.  Plus, I get to tick off that box that says "write reviews for books you already own but never reviewed".  Multi-tasking.  

 

The Manor House Mysteries are rather like a cup of Hot Chocolate that hasn't *quite* got enough sugar in it.  This is entirely due to the fact that I don't love the MC.  Lady Elizabeth Compton is almost likeable, but for the fact that she takes herself rather too, too seriously at times and I find myself rolling my eyes at her comments.  Lady Compton is a good character study of the changing times in England during and after WWII, and I appreciate what the author is trying to accomplish; someone trying to hold on to life as she knows it.  For the most part, this works.  Just every once in awhile there's the eye-rolling "oh-get-over-yourself" moment.

 

The books take place in England during WWII and the US Army Air Force has just moved into Sitting Marsh.  I love the setting and the author does a very credible job juggling the glamour of the times with the razor edge tension of living in a country at war.  Black out curtains, rationing, black-marketing, dances and dating are all woven beautifully in throughout the story without being harpy or preachy or lecture-y.

 

Humour is interjected throughout the book by way of Lady Compton's butler, Martin.  He's in his late 80's and dementia is setting in, setting the stage for some rather slapstick moments.  The comment about saucepans for helmets I found especially amusing for some reason.  Violet, however, I dislike.  She's a harpy.

 

I remembered who the killer was from my first read so I can't accurately say how good the mystery itself is, but I think the author did a good job crafting the plot;  a lot of suspects with credible motives and a rather decent red herring (I think).   I'm looking forward to re-reading this series; I remember really liking the overall story arch and they'll be a nice break in the TBR battle.