Friday, November 27, 2020

A Preoccupied Weekly Link Round-Up

 


You never know what's going to kick your muse in the seat of the pants. This time it was HGTV

Last year, I didn't put up one single Christmas decoration, which is much different from years past. I had a good excuse: I was right in the middle of my fight with cellulitis and had to spend as much time as possible with my leg elevated. But after Halloween this year, I began getting itchy, wanting to get the decorations out of the shed, and doing a bit of decorating.

Denis and I got the containers out of the shed and brought them into the house. I went through them and managed to purge quite a few things that I never intend to use again, and then began the slow process of deciding what I wanted to do.

I wanted "Christmas Lite." I just don't have the desire to go all out as I have before with thirteen trees and much, much more. I slowly began to put ideas together, and then I made the mistake of deciding to watch "Holiday Crafters Gone Wild" on HGTV. Talk about inspiration! I'm still not done-- especially since my ideas keep morphing-- but I will be sharing photos in the near future. It's still amusing me how one program got all my brain synapses firing!

On that note, I'd better get out to the corral before I start with the lights and garlands and snowmen. Head 'em up! Moooove 'em out!


►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
 
►Fascinating Folk◄
  • Marion Pritchard, the Dutch rescuer who "lied, stole, and even killed" to save the lives of 150 Jewish children during World War II.
  • The courageous tale of Jane Johnson, who risked her freedom for those who helped her escape slavery.
  • Mary Golda Ross, the first Native American aerospace engineer and space race pioneer.
  • Sara Josephine Baker, the doctor and public health pioneer who saved the lives of 90,000 children.
  • Stacey Abrams, Georgia's political heroine... and romance author.
  • The rare authority of Alex Trebek
  • Sir David Attenborough: Nature shows that prosperity doesn't mean endless expansion.
 
►The Happy Wanderer◄
 
►Crafty Gems◄
 
►I ♥ Lists◄

 
That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.
 
Stay Safe. Stay healthy. And don't forget to curl up with a good book!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

December 2020 New Mystery Releases!

 

2020 is the only year I've ever wanted to fly by. Sometimes it felt as though time were moving glacially slow and at others, it was supersonic.

There have been many changes in all our lives this year, many of them unwelcome, but I know if we just buckle down and do what's right for us all, we'll make our way out of the tunnel and be back in the high life again. (Sorry, that song's an earworm this afternoon.)

The following list contains my picks of the  best new crime fiction being released throughout the month of December. The books are grouped by release date, and the covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon.

Let's see if any of my picks have made it to your own personal Must Read lists!


=== December 1 ===
 
 
Title: The Opium Prince
Author: Jasmine Aimaq
Standalone thriller set in Afghanistan
384 pages
 
Synopsis: "Afghanistan, 1970s. Born to an American mother and a late Afghan war hero, Daniel Sajadi has spent his life navigating a complex identity. After years in Los Angeles, he is returning home to Kabul at the helm of a US foreign aid agency dedicated to eradicating the poppy fields that feed the world’s opiate addiction.
   
But on the drive out of Kabul for an anniversary trip with his wife, Daniel accidentally hits and kills a young Kochi girl named Telaya. He is let off with a nominal fine, in part because nomad tribes are ignored in the eyes of the law, but also because a mysterious witness named Taj Maleki intercedes on his behalf. Wracked with guilt and visions of Telaya, Daniel begins to unravel, running from his crumbling marriage and escalating threats from Taj, who turns out to be a powerful opium khan willing to go to extremes to save his poppies.
 
This groundbreaking literary thriller reveals the invisible lines between criminal enterprises and political regimes—and one man’s search for meaning at the heart of a violent revolution.


Title: Murder Is a Must
Series: #2 in the First Edition Library cozy series set in Bath, England.
336 pages

Synopsis: "Hayley Burke, curator of Lady Fowling's collection of first edition mysteries, is settling into her position at the First Edition Library in Middlebank House. She's even made progress with Lady Fowling's former secretary, the ornery Miss Woolgar. The women are busily preparing for an exhibition that will showcase Lady Fowling's life and letters. Hayley knows the exhibition is a huge undertaking and decides, against her better judgement, to hire Oona Atherton, her former boss from the Jane Austen Centre to help with the planning.
 
Oona is known for being difficult, but all seems to be going swimmingly until she and Hayley uncover a one-page letter that alludes to a priceless edition of MURDER MUST ADVERTISE signed by several Golden Age of Mystery authors. Oona feels this book could be the focal point of the exhibition and becomes obsessed with finding it.
 
When they find clues that appear to point to the book being somewhere in the First Edition Library, Oona is certain she's unraveled the mystery and texts Hayley the good news, but upon arriving back at Middlebank, Hayley finds her old boss dead at the bottom of the stairs. Did her discovery of the rare book get her killed or was it some angry shadow from her past? Hayley must read between the lines to catch a malicious murderer."
 
 
Title: Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers
Author: Tessa Arlen
Series: #2 in the historical Woman of World War II series set in England.
320 pages
 
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
 
Synopsis: "It is the late autumn of 1942. Our indomitable heroine Poppy Redfern is thoroughly immersed in her new job as a scriptwriter at the London Crown Film Unit, which produces short films featuring British civilians who perform acts of valor and heroism in wartime. After weeks of typing copy and sharpening pencils, Poppy is thrilled to receive her first solo script project: a fifteen-minute film about the Air Transport Auxiliary, known as Attagirls, a group of female civilians who have been trained to pilot planes from factories to military airfields all over Britain.

Poppy could not be more excited to spend time with these amazing ladies, but she never expects to see one of the best pilots die in what is being labeled an accident. When another Attagirl meets a similar fate, Poppy and her American fighter-pilot boyfriend, Griff, believe foul play may be at work. They soon realize that a murderer with a desire for revenge is dead set on grounding the Attagirls for good. . . .
"
 
 
Title: Accra Noir
Edited by Nana-Ama Danquah
Short Story Anthology set in Ghana.
256 pages
 
Synopsis: "Accra is one of the most well-known cities on the African continent. It's the capital of Ghana, which in 1957 became the first sub-Saharan (read: black) nation to gain its independence from colonialism. But the city, in all its globalism, predates the nation. Prior to becoming a sovereign land, the area now known as Ghana was the Gold Coast colony. In 1877, when the British took possession of the colony, Accra was installed as its capital. For nearly a century, in addition to being a political and financial center, the city was a major trade hub. People came from Europe and other African nations to trade everything from gold and salt to guns and slaves...

One thing that people, too easily seduced by the city's charm and history and beauty, forget about Accra is that it is a major metropolis. Accra is New York; it is Los Angeles; it is Shanghai, Mexico City, Santiago, Caracas, and Cape Town. It is an urban area, with poverty, desperation, and the inevitable result of a marriage between the two: crime...

The stories that you will read in this collection highlight all things Accra, everything that the city was and is--the remaining vestiges of colonialism, the pride of independence, the nexus of indigenous tribes and other groups from all over the world, the tension between modernity and traditionalism, the symbolism and storytelling both obvious and coded, the moral high ground, the duplicity and deceit, the most basic human failings laid bare alongside fear and love and pain and the corrupting desire to have the very things you are not meant to have."
 
 
Title: Premeditated Mortar
Series: #8 in the Fixer-Upper cozy series set in California.
304 pages
 
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
 
Synopsis: "Shannon Hammer is about to embark on one of the biggest projects of her career. Her best friend Jane Hennessey has purchased one wing of the Gables, formerly the old state insane asylum, located on a bucolic hillside two miles northeast of Lighthouse Cove. Jane plans to turn her section into a small luxury hotel complete with twenty ocean-view rooms, a spa, and a restaurant.

Shannon is raring to get started on the enormous project and is shocked when a group of unruly protesters shows up at the groundbreaking ceremony and wreaks havoc. She’s even more freaked-out when someone pushes her into a pit of bricks in a closed-off room of the asylum. Despite her close call, Shannon wants nothing more than to get back to work . . . until she finds a body not far from where she was pushed. Now Shannon is determined to get to the bottom of the goings-on at the Gables even if it kills her. . . .
"
 
 
=== December 3 ===
 
 
Title: The Fatal Flying Affair
Author: T.E. Kinsey
Series: #8 in the Lady Hardcastle historical series set at the turn of the twentieth century in England.
315 pages
 
Synopsis: "August 1911. Emily Hardcastle and her inimitable lady’s maid Florence Armstrong are enjoying a fine summer until Harry, Lady H’s brother, turns up out of the blue with a mystery for them to solve.

A routine parachute test at a local aeroplane factory has gone horribly wrong—with pilot Dickie Dupree plummeting to his death. Harry is certain there is more to this ‘tragic accident’ than meets the eye, having discovered that someone at the airfield is leaking top secret intelligence to foreign rivals.

In between strolls to the Dog & Duck and planning for the annual village show, the daring duo dust off the Crime Board and go undercover at Bristol Aviation. With international powers investing heavily in aeronautics, the stakes are high—sky high—and the suspects soon mount up.

Can Lady Hardcastle find the culprit before someone else falls down dead?"
 
 
=== December 8 ===
 
 
Title: Snowdrift
Author: Helene Tursten
Series: #3 in the Embla Nyström police procedural series set in Sweden.
384 pages
 
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
 
Synopsis: "One winter night, 28-year-old Detective Inspector Embla Nyström receives a phone call that sends her reeling. It’s been fourteen years since her best friend disappeared from a nightclub in Gothenburg, but Embla recognizes her voice before the call abruptly disconnects. Embla is thrilled to learn Lollo is still alive, but before she can dive into the case, she gets another phone call—this time from a relative. A man has been found shot dead in one of the guest houses he and his wife manage in rural Sweden. Could she come take a look?

When Embla arrives on the scene, she receives another shock. The dead man is Milo Stavic, a well-known gang member and one of the last people seen with Lollo. And, as Embla soon learns, the same night that Milo was shot in the guest house, his brother Luca was also killed. Why, after all these years, is someone targeting the Stavic brothers, and where is the third brother? With help from a handsome local detective and his police dog in training, Embla launches an investigation into the three Stavic brothers, hoping it will bring her closer to finally finding Lollo and putting an end to her terrible nightmares.


Title: Cold Wind
Series: #2 in the Alaska Wild amateur sleuth series set in Alaska.
304 pages
 
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
 
Synopsis: "Beth Rivers is still in Alaska. The unidentified man who kidnapped her in her home of St. Louis hasn’t been found yet, so she’s not ready to go back.

But as October comes to a close, Benedict is feeling more and more like her new home. Beth has been working on herself: She’s managed to get back to writing, and she’s enjoying these beautiful months between summer and winter in Alaska.

Then, everything in Benedict changes after a mudslide exposes a world that had been hidden for years. Two mud-covered, silent girls appear, and a secret trapper’s house is found in the woods. The biggest surprise, though, is a dead and frozen woman’s body in the trapper’s shed. No one knows who she is, but the man who runs the mercantile, Randy, seems to be in the middle of all the mysteries.

Unable to escape her journalistic roots, Beth is determined to answer the questions that keep arising: Are the mysterious girls and the frozen body connected? Can Randy possibly be involved? And―most importantly―can she solve this mystery before the cold wind sweeping over the town and the townspeople descends for good?


=== December 10 ===


Title: Winterkill
Series: #6 in the Ari Thor/Dark Iceland police procedural series set in Iceland.
276 pages
 
Synopsis: "When the body of a nineteen-year-old girl is found on the main street of Siglufjörður, Police Inspector Ari Thór battles a violent Icelandic storm in an increasingly dangerous hunt for her killer … The chilling, claustrophobic finale to the international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

Easter weekend is approaching, and snow is gently falling in Siglufjörður, the northernmost town in Iceland, as crowds of tourists arrive to visit the majestic ski slopes.

Ari Thór Arason is now a police inspector, but he’s separated from his girlfriend, who lives in Sweden with their three-year-old son. A family reunion is planned for the holiday, but a violent blizzard is threatening and there is an unsettling chill in the air.

Three days before Easter, a nineteen-year-old local girl falls to her death from the balcony of a house on the main street. A perplexing entry in her diary suggests that this may not be an accident, and when an old man in a local nursing home writes ‘She was murdered’ again and again on the wall of his room, there is every suggestion that something more sinister lies at the heart of her death…

As the extreme weather closes in, cutting the power and access to Siglufjörður, Ari Thór must piece together the puzzle to reveal a horrible truth … one that will leave no one unscathed.


=== December 29 ===


Title: Absence of Alice
Series: #9 in the Sarah Winston Garage Sale cozy series set in Massachusetts.
288 pages
 
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.
 
Synopsis: "Sarah's latest client, Alice Krandle, is sure she has a fortune in antiques on her hands. She's already gotten a generous offer for the whole lot before her garage sale has even begun, but she thinks she can earn more with Sarah's expert help. The problem is that while Sarah's sorting through items from decades past, her landlady, Stella, faces a clear and present danger.

Stella's kidnapper has contacted Sarah with a set of instructions, and "Don't call the police" is at the top of the list. But they didn't say anything about Sarah's friend Harriet--who happens to be a former F.B.I. hostage negotiator...


Title: A Wicked Yarn
Author: Emmie Caldwell
Series: #1 in Craft Fair Knitters cozy series.
304 pages

*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books.

Synopsis: "Mother's Day should be a cinch for the good folks of the Crandalsburg Craft Fair, and knitting enthusiast Lia Geiger has a good feeling about this year's yield. But things quickly get knotty when Lia's daughter announces she's quit her job and Lia finds herself tangled up in the murder of her best friend's ex-husband. While Belinda's alibi quickly gets her off the hook, nasty rumors spread throughout Crandalsburg that shroud the entire fair in suspicion.

Could the vendors be responsible for the murder of a man hell-bent on unraveling the fair just days before his death? Lia and her crafty group of Ninth Street Knitters must put down their needles to gather clues and save the crafting community they've grown to love.
"


This is a rather eclectic list of mysteries, isn't it? There should definitely be something for everyone on it, and I like the fact that it contains a nice mix of my favorite authors as well as brand-new ones. 

Did any of the books tickle your fancy? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams

 

First Line: The man on the park bench stared at the empty space above the knuckle of Nora Pennington's pinkie finger.
 
The man on the park bench seems like so many others who visit Miracle Springs, North Carolina, hoping the the hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can sure what ails them. But Nora Pennington, owner of Miracle Books, senses that he's different somehow, and when red-hot gossip tells her that he jumped in front of a train just a few hours later, she isn't as convinced that it's suicide as the lackadaisical police seem to be.
 
Nora then learns that three other women share her opinion, and-- to the hermit-like Nora's utter surprise-- she forms the Secret, Book & Scone Society to find justice for the dead man. Nora is a bibliotherapist, adept at prescribing the perfect book to ease a person's deepest pain. Hester Winthrop is the owner of the Gingerbread House and a master at baking just the right "comfort scone" for those who request one. Estella Sadler, owner of the Magnolia Salon & Spa, and June Dixon, Miracle Springs Thermal Pools employee round out the group. At their first meeting, they realize that they are all damaged in some way and that they all have trust issues-- and that the only way this group is going to work is if they each share their darkest secret, the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place. Revealing secrets builds trust. But do they have what it takes to find the truth behind the dead man's murder?
 
~
 
I will always recommend Ellery Adams' Books by the Bay series for cozy mystery fans, even though it has a controversial ending. (A Killer Plot is the first book.) I admire Adams' willingness to risk alienating her fans in order to end her series the way she wanted to (and the ending fit the character, by the way). There can be something therapeutic about her writing and the way she deals with damaged characters. As the Secret, Book & Scone Society members reveal their secrets one at a time, a layer is pulled back, allowing us to begin to see what's behind the person's facade. 
 
Some readers may ascribe Nora's bibliotherapy and Hester's comfort scones to some sort of magic, but I don't. I think all four women are highly empathetic, and it's this empathy that helps them arrive at the truth-- as does their belief that everyone deserves a second chance. I did despair when the local law enforcement was introduced-- the nickname "Sheriff Toad" says it all-- but I should've known better since I am no stranger to Ellery Adams' writing. 
 
Reading The Secret, Book & Scone Society was balm for my spirit. I liked the mystery. I liked the setting. Most of all, I liked Nora, Hester, Estella, and June. I know that reading the second book in the series is in my future.  


The Secret, Book & Scone Society by Ellery Adams
eISBN: 9781496712394
Kensington Books © 2017
eBook, 322 pages
 
Cozy Mystery, #1 Secret, Book & Scone Society mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell

First Line: The Cross River picks its way down the mountains of the Cameroons, until it runs sprawling and glittering into the great bowl of forest land around Mamfe.
 
In 1949, Gerald Durrell went on an expedition to collect rare animals in the British Cameroons in West Central Africa. Once in his chosen destination, he finds himself developing a good working relationship with the Fon of Bafut, a local ruler who likes a man who can hold his liquor. Durrell is soon undertaking many hunting trips with a group of local hunters and their motley pack of hunting dogs all of whom are called the Bafut Beagles.
 
~
 
The Bafut Beagles, like other installments of Durrell's endeavors in animal conservation, is filled with wonderful anecdotes of the animals he captures and his experiences with the local people. His sense of humor when describing some of the mishaps he has with the people and animals is laugh-out-loud funny, and his sense of wonder at the awe-inspiring scenery is extremely evocative. Unfortunately, I did not find this book to be quite as enjoyable as others of his that I have read, and my reaction boils down to two things: a heavy hand with pidgin English, which made my head hurt whenever I had to translate large sections, and the slight note of condescension I detected whenever Durrell spoke about the locals, although he did occasionally praise them.

Even though I did have trouble with those two things I mentioned, I still enjoyed the book-- especially since I'd just returned from a trip to a local zoo where I'd seen three or four species of animals that the author talked about in the book. I look forward to reading more of Durrell's work in animal conservation.

 
The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell
eISBN: 9781504042826
Originally published in 1954.
Open Road Integrated Media © 2017
eBook, 206 pages
 
Non-Fiction, Standalone
Rating: C+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Win an Autographed Copy of Riley Sager's Home Before Dark!


So much of this year has...what's a polite way of putting it?... stunk that I feel giving away autographed books is a good way of brightening things up a bit. I know that opening the mailbox and finding a book always puts a smile on my face. How about you?

This time I'm giving away an autographed copy of Riley Sager's Home Before Dark, courtesy of my favorite bookstore, The Poisoned Pen. Here's my review of the book if you'd like to get an opinion, and here's a synopsis of the book itself.
 

"What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

Today, Maggie is a restorer of old homes and too young to remember any of the events mentioned in her father's book. But she also doesn’t believe a word of it. Ghosts, after all, don’t exist. When Maggie inherits Baneberry Hall after her father's death, she returns to renovate the place to prepare it for sale. But her homecoming is anything but warm. People from the past, chronicled in House of Horrors, lurk in the shadows. And locals aren’t thrilled that their small town has been made infamous thanks to Maggie’s father. Even more unnerving is Baneberry Hall itself—a place filled with relics from another era that hint at a history of dark deeds. As Maggie experiences strange occurrences straight out of her father’s book, she starts to believe that what he wrote was more fact than fiction.
 
Alternating between Maggie’s uneasy homecoming and chapters from her father’s book, Home Before Dark is the story of a house with long-buried secrets and a woman’s quest to uncover them—even if the truth is far more terrifying than any haunting."
 
 
~~~What You Will Win~~~

One autographed hardcover edition of Riley Sager's Home Before Dark. It has a protective mylar cover on the dust jacket, and is fresh from The Poisoned Pen Bookstore. You can see it in the photo above.

Now for the rules of the giveaway...
 
 

~~~The Rules~~~

  1. To be entered in the drawing, send an email to kittlingbooks(at)gmail(dot)com.
  2. The subject line of your email must read Sager Giveaway.
  3. The body of your email must have your name and mailing address.
  4. Send your entries to me by noon, Sunday, November 29, 2020.
  5. Due to the high cost of postage, this giveaway is open to US residents only.

 

~~~The Small Print~~~

Very Important: If your emails are missing any of the required information, i.e., the correct subject line and your name and mailing address, you will not be entered to win. How do you know if you've been entered? If you have not received an email from me within 24 hours which says, "Your entry has been received. Good Luck!" you'll know something went wrong. That's okay. Try again!
 
 
The winner will be notified by email, and the announcement will be made here on Kittling: Books on Monday, November 30, 2020. The book will go out in the mail the very next day.

Now it's time for all of you to fill up my inbox with entries! Treat yourself to a good book!

Friday, November 20, 2020

An It Took Me Awhile Weekly Link Round-Up

 
Let's face it. Sometimes I'm just slow on the uptake. I've been knitting up a storm on the evenings Denis is at work, and I've completed six afghans-- certainly a record when it used to take me two years to finish just one. Obviously, knitting and watching television really help to keep my mind off the pandemic and anything else that might be bugging me.
 
But guess what? After months, I finally began to tire of my nightly British and Australian crime drama marathons. I'm even beginning to remember all the whodunits on Midsomer Murders. I wanted something that would hold my interest but wasn't another crime drama. Then it finally dawned on me. Duh.
 
The Poisoned Pen has been hosting all sorts of virtual events during this pandemic, but I was woefully behind on watching them. Normally I would either watch one while sitting here at the computer or on my smartphone. Neither "venue" was ideal. When I sit here at the computer, I'm almost always writing something and the dialogue from the events can easily derail my train of thought. I'm also lazy and get tired of holding my phone... and the screen is so smallllll... *whine*
 
The night I was going through the various channels on Roku was a revelation. There was the Youtube channel. After The Poisoned Pen events appear on Facebook, they are posted to Youtube. I can watch/listen to all these events I've missed on the big screen while I'm knitting. Hallelujah!
 
Took me long enough to figure that out, didn't it?
 
The photo shows me knitting on an afghan for Denis (who keeps telling me to hurry up) while watching Barbara Peters and Val McDermid in conversation. I've gone through almost a dozen more events since then and am looking forward to more tonight. Now I'm wondering what else I've been slow on the uptake on...
 
Enjoy the links!

 
►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
 
►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
 
►The Happy Wanderer◄
 
►Fascinating Folk◄
 
►Crafty Little Gems◄
  • Liz Joy of Inspired to Taste tells the stories of classic fairy tales and memorable books using the elaborate pies she bakes and decorates. (They have to be seen to be believed!)
 
►I ♥ Lists & Quizzes◄

That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. And don't forget to curl up with a good book!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Tidings of Death at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

 

First Line: "I declare the museum open day a resounding success."
 
Trying to keep all the various parts of Honeychurch Hall in reasonably good condition is expensive, which is why Kat Stanford is finally able to persuade the Earl of Grenville to open the Museum Room to villagers in an effort to raise money for roof repairs. For the price of admission, visitors will be able to view an unusual display of antiques-- including the legendary Bleeding Hawk of Honeychurch Hall.

When a young couple travel two hundred miles from London to view the treasures, their appearance sets off a disastrous chain of events. The man is attacked by the estate's Jack Russell terrier. A suit of armor falls on the ancient butler. Two valuable antique pocket watches go missing as well, and when a second body is discovered near an old quarry, Kat realizes there's a cold-blooded killer on the loose who will stop at nothing to keep the past where it belongs. In the past.

~

Hannah Dennison's light touch keeps her Honeychurch Hall series fresh and entertaining. In Tidings of Death at Honeychurch Hall, the pace is almost frenetic as the cast of characters find themselves in the last ten days before Christmas.

One of the things I have always enjoyed about this series is that Dennison shows readers how tough it can be for land rich, cash poor nobility in England to keep their stately homes and estates afloat. (A case in point is Highclere Castle which featured in Downton Abbey. It was in a sad state until the television series became a hit and tourists flooded in. Only then were the owners able to finance badly needed repairs on the house.) In Dennison's series, however, the noble Grenvilles are quite the eccentric bunch. The imperious dowager countess who strikes fear in the hearts of everyone. The rather scatty countess who's easily led astray. The earl who isn't above a shady deal or two to try to accumulate some badly needed cash. The eight-year-old heir, Harry, is probably my favorite, although he does have a rather tough time of it in this book with the young guest Fleur constantly trying to lead him astray.

The stately home setting is merely the icing on the cake; it's the cast of characters who keep me coming back. It's a wide-ranging cast, too, because there's one or two that I'd like to pretend were never there, one or two who always make me laugh, and those that I truly care about-- like main character Kat Stanford. I certainly wouldn't mind checking out the antiques she sells, and I completely agree with how she handles being the center of attention of three men in this book. 

The plot is a humdinger in Tidings of Death at Honeychurch Hall. The second London couple Angus and Lala show up in the museum room, readers will know they're up to no good... but just what kind of no good is much more difficult to deduce. Then there's the cutthroat business of which employee gets to live in the best cottage on the estate and the young reporter who is recording too many private conversations for comfort. And why does Lenny never seem to be where he's supposed to be? All those goings-on, that cast of characters, and the humor make this book-- and the entire series-- a winner for lovers of cozy mysteries.
 
If you haven't read a Honeychurch Hall mystery, you could read this sixth book and not feel lost, but why miss out on all the fun? Start with the very first one, Murder at Honeychurch Hall, and enjoy them all. 

 
Tidings of Death at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison
eISBN: 9781472128515
Constable © 2019
eBook, 320 pages
 
Cozy Mystery, #6 Honeychurch Hall mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.