First Line: "Peace, perfect peace," Doran murmured, indolently reaching out from the cushioned garden hammock for the tall frosted glass of John Collins on the table beside her.
When Doran Fairweather's partner in her antiques business shows up with a rare clock, Doran doesn't quite believe the story he tells as to how he managed to procure it. Nothing doing, she must go and check the details; the reputation of her shop is at stake.
Going along for the ride is Doran's boyfriend, the Reverend Rodney Chelmarsh. At first the pair are very successful at mixing pleasure with business until one of the leads Doran is investigating is murdered. Doran is well on her way to proving that the lovely old clock is indeed too hot to handle.
I was absolutely charmed by the first book in this series, Malice Domestic, and I wasn't surprised-- Mollie Hardwick wrote the novels accompanying such PBS hits as Upstairs, Downstairs and The Duchess of Duke Street.
Unfortunately, I wasn't as charmed by this second book. Oh, there are still literary references that remind me of Dorothy Sayers and descriptions of antiques that put me in mind of Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy-- I just can't turn my nose up at wit and wisdom-- but the sparkle is definitely missing in this outing. Everything in Parson's Pleasure feels vaguely familiar, and Doran commits two sins that are high up on my Say It Ain't So list. (1) She withholds information from the police, and (2) she knew there was a murderer on the loose yet still sneaked off by herself to check a hunch.
Even though I am a bit disappointed with Parson's Pleasure, I'm going to read on in the series. Chelmarsh has an absolutely hideous daughter who is quite capable of creating spectacular trouble for Doran and Rodney. I want to see how Hardwick deals with her-- especially since the author planted such strong foreboding in this book!
Parson's Pleasure by Mollie Hardwick
Ballantine Books © 1992
Mass Market Paperback, 178 pages
Cozy Mystery, #2 Doran Fairweather mystery
Source: Paperback Swap