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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.

Devil May Care

Devil May Care - Elizabeth Peters

This is one of Elizabeth Peters' stand-alone novels, and one of two I found at a book sale and brought home with me.  I really like EP's Jacqueline Kirby and Vicky Bliss series' so why not her stand-alones? 


Devil May Care was a fun read; nothing taxing, or deep, but entertaining.  The plot itself was a little...well...loose.  The blurb is almost outright wrong, but:


Ellie is young, rich, engaged and in love. These are the carefree days before marriage and new responsibility, and anything goes -- including house-sitting at eccentric Aunt Kate's palatial estate in Burton, Virginia. Ellie feels right at home here with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but she soon realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the mansion. And her sudden interest in the past is attracting a slew of unwelcome guests -- some of them living and some, perhaps not. And the terrible vegeance that Ellie and her friends seem to have aroused -- now aimed at them -- surely cannot be...satanic.


First, I don't think Ellie is rich, yet.  No information about her past or present circumstances is given beyond that she's engaged and she's heir to her Aunt's fortune.  Second, I'm pretty sure she's not in love;  it's pretty clear from the first scene on the first page that the bloom is off that rose, so to speak.


The "dusty old book" is accurate - but it's the books mere presence that sparks everything - not any interest Ellie has in the past.  Which is good, because she doesn't really show any interest in the past.  I'm not actually sure she has an interest in anything.  


Ellie is a likeable MC, but only in that way you meet someone and they just strike you as likeable and friendly.  The reader never gets a chance to know Ellie at all, but she isn't a special snowflake or TSTL; she is independent, loves animals and gives lip when necessary.


No matter - the story was still a good time.  Ms. Peters is excellent with dialogue and she's an ace at drawing characters with few words.  Her setting was also equally well done; she adds a touch of gothic here and there, and I think this book might have been meant as a tip-of-the-hat to gothic ghost stories, but it just never quite got there.


I think Summer of the Dragon was a stronger story, but I'm not sorry I read this one at all - I'll pick it up now and again when I'm looking for something fun.