Tuesday, April 02, 2024

An Inconvenient Wife by Karen E. Olson

First Line: They came in the early morning.
Kate Parker thinks she knows what she's getting into when she becomes the sixth wife of billionaire Hank Tudor-- after all, she was by his side (as his assistant) when his fifth marriage to actress Caitlyn Howard fell apart. 
But their honeymoon hasn't even begun when a headless body is found near Hank's summer home. This forces Kate to contend with Wife #1, Catherine Alvarez, who lives as a shut-in with her computers carefully following all business aspects of Tudor Enterprises; and Wife #4, Anna Klein, who runs a bed-and-breakfast where she and her wife keep an eye on things-- in particular Hank's children, Lizzie and Teddy.
A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, not only between Kate, Catherine, and Anna but with Hank and Hank's fixer, Tom Cromwell. Who is the headless woman who was found on Hank's property, and does her death have any connection to that other headless body from eight years ago?


When I was in my twenties, I devoured all sorts of fiction and nonfiction about Tudor England-- including the book mentioned by the author in her Afterward. I could not resist An Inconvenient Wife, Olson's modern retelling of Henry VIII and his six wives. (Are you familiar with "Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived" as a way to keep those six women's fates straight?)

Don't worry. If you're unfamiliar with Henry and his wives, you'll still enjoy this book. The machinations of several characters are well worth the price of admission all by themselves. However, if you are familiar with that particular period of history, that knowledge will add some zest-- and some smiles-- to Olson's story. Not only that but there will be surprises, too, because this modern retelling is not a slavish imitation of the past. 

An Inconvenient Wife is one of those books in which you can't say much about the story or its characters without giving something inadvertently away, so I am going to resist temptation and merely say that I enjoyed this book and the surprises I found along the way. Give it a try.

An Inconvenient Wife by Karen E. Olson
ISBN: 9781639365654
Pegasus Crime © 2024
Paperback, 320 pages
Standalone Thriller
Rating: A
Source: The Publisher

Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Day of Arrival Weekly Link Round-Up


I'm writing this intro on the morning of the day our nieces are to arrive from the UK. I have a feeling I'm going to be worn out before they get here. There are always last minute adjustments that have to be made. Denis's back has been bothering him, so it's not been easy for him to move his gear back into our bedroom so Daisy and Suzanne can have the guest suite. But it's done! 

Today is the day the cleaning woman was scheduled to come. We have a new one who likes to show up whenever she feels like it. I had to tell her that that isn't going to work. I have to trundle over to the doctor's office for my follow-up appointment, and since the cleaning woman showed up early, I didn't get the battery on my scooter fully charged. Hopefully, I don't run out of juice in the middle of the intersection. The home health nurse will be coming this evening to rewrap my leg. And then our nieces will arrive. 


I only have one post that must be done while they're here, and that may be all that you hear from me until mid-April. Have fun while I'm gone, and read plenty of good books. Now it's time for me to head to the doctor's office.

Enjoy the links!

►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
►Book Banning & Censorship◄

►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
►Channeling My Inner Elly May Clampett◄
►The Wanderer◄
►Fascinating Folk◄
►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.

No matter how busy you may be, don't forget that quality Me Time curled up with a good book!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

First Line: Back in 1961, when women wore shirtwaist dresses and joined garden clubs and drove legions of children around in seatbeltless cars without giving it a second thought; back before anyone knew there'd even be a sixties movement, much less one that its participants would spend the next sixty years chronicling; back when the big wars were over and the secret wars had just begun and people were starting to think fresh and believe everything was possible, the thirty-year-old mother of Madeline Zott rose before dawn every morning and felt certain of just one thing: her life was over.
It's the early 1960s, and chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your typical woman. Only one man at the Hastings Research Institute realizes that she is a treasure: Calvin Evans, the Nobel Prize-nominated scientist who falls in love with her mind.
A few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself a single mother and-- wonder of wonders-- the very reluctant star of America's most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Her unusual approach to cooking is revolutionary, but as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Elizabeth Zott isn't just teaching women to cook. She's daring them to change the status quo. 


I kept hearing about Bonnie Garmus's Lessons in Chemistry, but it took me a while before I finally got around to finding out what all the talk was about. I decided to listen to the audiobook, and I found Miranda Raison's narration perfect. She brought Elizabeth Zott to life.

Elizabeth Zott will strike a chord with most women. Like it or not, most women have dealt with the same problems she has. What makes this story truly wonderful is that no matter the experiences she must endure, Garmus tells her story with a light touch. She never mines the depths, and the reader is never far away from a smile. 

Readers may learn a bit about chemistry, research labs, and television in the early 1960s, but that's merely a byproduct. What I loved about Lessons in Chemistry was the cast of characters surrounding Elizabeth Zott. Calvin, the man who loved who she truly was. Her daughter, Mads. Her neighbor and friend, Harriet, and Walter, her boss at the television station. Oops! I almost forgot her dog, Six Thirty, which is based on the author's dog. The story would not be complete without Six Thirty.

Speaking of the author, there's an author interview at the end of the audiobook which everyone should read after they've read the book. (It contains spoilers.) I think it brought me just as big a smile as Elizabeth and her friends and family did. 

If you're in the mood for a feel-good story, here it is. I loved every bit of it.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Narrated by Miranda Raison.
Random House Audio © 2022
Audiobook. 11 hours, 55 minutes.
Fiction, Standalone
Rating: A+
Source: Purchased from Audible.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

April 2024 New Mystery Releases!

The time will soon be upon me when our nieces will arrive from the UK for a two-week visit. (Actually, it's the day this will post!) Lately, I've been having a decided lack of motivation, with reading and napping being the things I most want to accomplish, so I haven't been able to write any posts ahead of time to cover the time they're here. What am I trying to say?

Don't be surprised if I go walkabout for awhile. I may stick my nose in long enough to post a photo or two, but I'm not going to promise anything.

I know you'll understand, which is one of the reasons why I appreciate all of you so much.

The following list contains my picks for the best new crime fiction being released during the month of April. I've grouped them according to their release dates, and the book covers and synopses are courtesy of Amazon.

Let's see if I've managed to tempt you to add any of them to your own lists!

=== April 2 ===

Title: An Inconvenient Wife
Standalone thriller set on the East Coast of the U.S.
320 pages
*Upcoming review on Kittling: Books. 

Synopsis: "Kate Parker knows what she’s getting into when she marries billionaire businessman Hank Tudor—she’s his sixth wife, after all, and was by his side (as his assistant) when his fifth marriage to actress Caitlyn Howard fell apart.

But honeymoon plans go awry when a headless body is discovered near Hank’s summer home, forcing Kate to contend with two more of his exes: Catherine Alvarez—the first—who lives as a shut-in with her computers, carefully following Tudor Enterprises; and Anna Klein—the fourth—who runs a bed-and-breakfast where she and her wife keep a steady eye on things—particularly Hank’s children, Lizzie and Teddy.

In this clever and suspenseful reimagining of Tudor era betrayals, these three women become entwined in a deadly game of cat and mouse—with each other, Hank, and Hank’s brilliant fixer, Tom Cromwell—as Kate seeks to solve the puzzle of who the murdered woman is, who killed her, and whether her death has any connection to the
other headless body from eight years ago.

Title: The Sicilian Inheritance
Author: Jo Piazza
Standalone thriller set in Italy
384 pages

Synopsis: "Sara Marsala barely knows who she is anymore after the failure of her business and marriage. On top of that, her beloved great-aunt Rosie passes away, leaving Sara bereft with grief. But Aunt Rosie’s death also opens an escape from her life and a window into the past by way of a plane ticket to Sicily, a deed to a possibly valuable plot of land, and a bombshell family secret. Rosie believes Sara’s great-grandmother Serafina, the family matriarch who was left behind while her husband worked in America, didn’t die of illness as family lore has it . . . she was murdered.

Thus begins a twist-filled adventure that takes Sara all over the picturesque Italian countryside as she races to solve a mystery and learn the story of Serafina—a feisty and headstrong young woman in the early 1900s thrust into motherhood in her teens, who fought for a better life not just for herself but for all the women of her small village. Unsurprisingly the more she challenges the status quo, the more she finds herself in danger.

As Sara discovers more about Serafina, she also realizes she is coming head-to-head with the same menacing forces that took down her great-grandmother. At once an immersive multigenerational mystery and an ode to the undaunted heroism of everyday women,
The Sicilian Inheritance is an atmospheric, page-turning delight.

=== April 9 ===

Title: The Clock Struck Murder
Author: Betty Webb
Series: #2 in the Lost in Paris historical series set in 1920s France
320 pages

Synopsis: "Expat Zoe Barlow has settled well into her artist's life among the Lost Generation in 1920s Paris. When a too-tipsy guest at her weekly poker game breaks Zoe's favorite clock, she's off to a Montparnasse flea market to bargain with the vendor Laurette for a replacement. What Zoe didn't bargain for was the lost Chagall painting that's been used like a rag to wrap her purchases! Eager to learn whether Laurette has more Chagalls lying about like trash, Zoe sets off to track her down at her storage shed. With no Laurette in sight, Zoe snoops around and indeed finds several additional Chagalls―and then she finds Laurette herself, dead beneath a scrap heap, her beautiful face bashed in.
With Paris hosting the 1924 Summer Olympics, the police are far too busy with tourist-related crimes to devote much time to the clock seller's murder. After returning the paintings to a grateful Marc Chagall, Zoe begins her own investigation. Did the stolen paintings play any part in the brutal killing? Or was it a crime of passion? Zoe soon discovers that there were many people who had reason to resent the lovely Laurette. But who hated the girl enough to stop her clock permanently? When Zoe discovers a second murder victim, the pressure is on to find the killer before time―and luck―run out."
Title: The Poison Pen
Series: #9 in the Scottish Bookshop cozy series set in Edinburgh, Scotland
304 pages
Synopsis: "Edinburgh is mourning recent the death of Queen Elizabeth II when Bookseller Delaney Nichols's boss comes to her with a most unusual assignment. An old friend of his, living in an estate in the village of Roslin, has found what could be a priceless relic on her property, and Delaney is tasked with investigating. Could Jolie possibly have an item of breathtaking Scottish historical significance in her possession? But when Delaney arrives at Jolie's estate, she is greeted by a legal team with a vested interest in the property. Jolie manages to remove the interlopers, but as they're examining the priceless item, they hear a scream, and meet a much less welcome discovery: a body.

As Delaney digs deeper, she discovers Jolie's own fascinating history. Jolie's mother had long claimed that her daughter was the rightful heir to the throne, not Elizabeth II, because of an affair she claimed to have with King Edward VIII. The only evidence, however, is in the form of a purported journal that one of Edward’s secretaries kept. The puzzles become more confusing when a connection is uncovered between this far-fetched story and the murdered man. Delaney will have to read between the lines to put together the pieces...or become history herself.
Title: Death in the Details
Standalone historical mystery set in post-World War II Vermont
288 pages
Synopsis: "Maple Bishop is ready to put WWII and the grief of losing her husband, Bill, behind her. But when she discovers that Bill left her penniless, Maple realizes she could lose her Vermont home next and sets out to make money the only way she knows how: by selling her intricately crafted dollhouses. Business is off to a good start—until Maple discovers her first customer dead, his body hanging precariously in his own barn.

Something about the supposed suicide rubs Maple the wrong way, but local authorities brush off her concerns. Determined to help them see “what’s big in what’s small,” Maple turns to what she knows best, painstakingly recreating the gruesome scene in miniature: death in a nutshell.

With the help of a rookie officer named Kenny, Maple uses her macabre miniature to dig into the dark undercurrents of her sleepy town, where everyone seems to have a secret—and a grudge. But when her nosy neighbor goes missing and she herself becomes a suspect, it’ll be up to Maple to find the devil in the details—and put him behind bars.

Drawing inspiration from true crime and offering readers a smartly plotted puzzle of a mystery,
Death in the Details is a stunning series debut.

Title: A Killing on the Hill
Standalone historical thriller set in 1930s Seattle, Washington
380 pages
Synopsis: "Seattle, 1933. The city is in the grips of the Great Depression, Prohibition, and vice. Cutting his teeth on a small-time beat, hungry and ambitious young reporter William “Shoe” Shumacher gets a tip that could change his career. There’s been a murder at a social club on Profanity Hill―an underworld magnet for vice crimes only a privileged few can afford. The story is going to be front-page news, and Shoe is the first reporter on the scene.

The victim, Frankie Ray, is a former prizefighter. His accused killer? Club owner and mobster George Miller, who claims he pulled the trigger in self-defense. Soon the whole town’s talking, and Shoe’s first homicide is fast becoming the Trial of the Century. The more Shoe digs, the more he’s convinced nothing is as it seems. Not with a tangle of conflicting stories, an unlikely motive, and witnesses like Ray’s girlfriend, a glamour girl whose pretty lips are sealed. For now.

In a city steeped in Old West debauchery, Shoe’s following every lead to a very dangerous place―one that could bring him glory and fame or end his life.

=== April 11 ===

Title: Death in a Lonely Place
Author: Stig Abell
Series: #2 Jake Jackson set in England
352 pages
*UK release
Synopsis: "A rural paradise…

Detective Jake Jackson moved to the countryside for a quieter life. And he finally seems to have his wish – spending his days immersed in nature, and his evenings lazing by the fire.

A terrifying secret…

But the return of an old case shatters the calm, and pulls him into the shadowy world of a secretive group serving the extravagant whims of the elite.

An enemy closes in…

As the web around Jake tightens, he must determine who he can really trust in his small community. Or else he will learn just how far the elite will go to protect their secrets.
=== April 16 ===
Title: Close to Death
Series: #5 in the Hawthorne & Horowitz series set in England
432 pages
Synopsis: "Riverside Close is a picture-perfect community. The six exclusive and attractive houses are tucked far away from the noise and grime of city life, allowing the residents to enjoy beautiful gardens, pleasant birdsong, and tranquility from behind the security of a locked gate.

It is the perfect idyll, until the Kentworthy family arrives, with their four giant, gas-guzzling cars, gaggle of shrieking children, and plans for a garish swimming pool in the backyard. Obvious outsiders, the Kentworthys do not belong in Riverside Close, and quickly offend every last one of the neighbors.

When Giles Kentworthy is found dead on his own doorstep, a crossbow bolt sticking out of his chest, Detective Hawthorne is the only investigator they can call to solve the case.

Because how do you solve a murder when everyone is a suspect?

=== April 23 ===

Title: Death and Glory
Author: Will Thomas
Series: #16 in the Barker & Llewelyn historical series set in late 29th-century England
304 pages
Synopsis: "Private Enquiry agent Cyrus Barker, along with his partner Thomas Llewelyn, has a long, accomplished history - he's taken on cases for Scotland Yard, the Foreign Office, and even the crown itself, fulfilling them all with great skill and discretion. None of those cases, however, are as delicate and complicated as the one laid before him by a delegation of men who, thirty years before, fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War. These men want to revive the Confederacy with a warship promised to the Rebels from the British Government in 1865. To get it now, they're threatening to reveal the long-secret treaty with the Confederacy. Barker is hired to use his connections to discreetly bring their threats to the Prime Minister.

With a web of prominent, if secret, supporters throughout England ready to through their support to their efforts to wage war anew on the United States, the delegates are just waiting for the warship to begin their plans. But some of the men are not who they claim to be, and the American government has their own team watching, and waiting, for the right moment to take action.

As this fuse on this powder keg of a situation grows ever shorter, it's up to Barker & Llewelyn to uncover the real identities and plans of these dangerous men.
Title: A Murder Most French
Series: #2 in the An Ameircan in Paris historical series set in Post-World War II France
272 pages
Synopsis: "The graceful domes of Sacré Coeur, the imposing cathedral of Notre Dame, the breathtaking Tour Eiffel . . . Paris is overflowing with stunning architecture. Yet for Tabitha Knight, the humble building that houses the Cordon Bleu cooking school, where her friend Julia studies, is just as notable. Tabitha is always happy to sample Julia’s latest creation and try to recreate dishes for her Grand-père and Oncle Rafe.

The legendary school also holds open demonstrations, where the public can see its master chefs at work. It’s a treat for any aspiring cook—until one of the chefs pours himself a glass of wine from a rare vintage bottle—and promptly drops dead in front of Julia, Tabitha, and other assembled guests. It’s the first in a frightening string of poisonings that turns grimly personal when cyanide-laced wine is sent to someone very close to Tabitha.

What kind of killer chooses such a means of murder, and why? Tabitha and Julia hope to find answers in order to save innocent lives—not to mention a few exquisite vintages—even as their investigation takes them through some of the darkest corners of France’s wartime past . . .

Title: Extinction
Standalone thriller set in Colorado
384 pages
Synopsis: "Erebus Resort, occupying a magnificent, hundred-thousand acre valley deep in the Colorado Rockies, offers guests the experience of viewing woolly mammoths, Irish Elk, and giant ground sloths in their native habitat, brought back from extinction through the magic of genetic manipulation. When a billionaire's son and his new wife are kidnapped and murdered in the Erebus back country by what is assumed to be a gang of eco-terrorists, Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Frances Cash partners with county sheriff James Colcord to track down the perpetrators.

As killings mount and the valley is evacuated, Cash and Colcord must confront an ancient, intelligent, and malevolent presence at Erebus, bent not on resurrection―but extinction.

Title: The Last Word
Standalone mystery set in England
352 pages
Synopsis: "Natalka and Edwin are perfect if improbable partners in a detective agency. At eighty-four, Edwin regularly claims that he’s the oldest detective in England. He is a master at surveillance, deploying his age as a cloak of invisibility. Natalka, Ukrainian-born and more than fifty years his junior, is a math whizz, who takes any cases concerning fraud or deception. Despite a steady stream of minor cases, Natalka is frustrated. She loves a murder, as she’s fond of saying, and none have come the agency’s way. That is until local writer Melody Chambers dies.

Melody’s daughters are convinced that their mother was murdered. Edwin thinks that Melody’s death is linked to that of an obituary writer who predeceased many of his subjects. Edwin and Benedict go undercover to investigate and are on a creative writing weekend at isolated Battle House when another murder occurs. Are the cases linked and what is the role of a distinctly sinister book group attended by many of writers involved? By the time Edwin has infiltrated the group, he is in serious danger…

Seeking professional help, the investigators turn to their friend, detective Harbinder Kaur, and find that they have stumbled on a plot that is stranger than fiction."

Wow! April has something for every mystery lover, from the brand-new to the tried-and-true. This month alone has put a serious dent in my book-buying budget. Did I tempt you with any of them? Or was I singing to the choir? Inquiring minds would love to know!

Monday, March 25, 2024

Shadow Man by Margaret Kirk

First Line: 1994. By midnight, there are bodies everywhere.
Morven Murray, the queen of daytime television, is murdered just before her wedding day. On the other side of Inverness, a police informant is killed execution-style. Detective Inspector Lukas Mahler is in charge of both investigations, although the powers that be want the celebrity's death to have priority. Contrary to orders, Mahler believes the police informant deserves the same commitment and the same attention, so he refuses to put that case on the back burner.
Even though Murray's sister is the prime suspect in her murder, the more Mahler and his team dig into both cases, they learn that Murray's life was closer to the underworld that the police informant inhabited than anyone imagined. 
Are they hunting one killer, or two?
Recently, I've been finding myself choosing certain books according to their settings, and this was the case with Margaret Kirk's Shadow Man. I have a marked fondness for Inverness, Scotland, and it was wonderful to be able to visit again through the pages of this book-- especially when one of the scenes is set in Leakey's Bookshop

The setting isn't the only strong part of this book. I enjoyed the mystery, too, and Kirk has created an interesting cast of characters. Lukas Mahler, formerly of the Metropolitan Police in London, has an emotionally fragile mother, hence his return to Inverness. He's heard every joke possible about his surname, and he's well aware of his reputation among the other police officers: "He has, after all, his reputation to consider. Most of his junior colleagues assume he gets his nourishment by rising from his tomb to feast on the blood of the living, and he sees no reason to disabuse them of the notion."

His boss is DCI June "Braveheart" Wallace who has a Hannibal Lecter smile. His DS is Fergie who drives a memorably smelly car, and "Skivey Pete" is a well-known slacker. Even though Mahler dislikes Pete for his constant shirking of his duties, he does recognize that the young man has certain investigative talents. 

The setting, the story, and the characters in this first book of the series will be bringing me back for more. I'm looking forward to visiting Inverness again (but I'll be staying out of Fergie's car).

Shadow Man by Margaret Kirk
eISBN: 9781409165521
Orion Books © 2017
eBook, 349 pages

Police Procedural, #1 DI Lukas Mahler
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

On My Radar: Paige Shelton's Perfect Storm!


Of all of Paige Shelton's books that I've enjoyed reading, I like her Alaska Wild series the most. I love learning things about life in small-town Alaska, and the main character, Beth Rivers, not only feels like a friend, but also a friend that I want to protect from any further harm.

So... it's no wonder that I got a big smile on my face when I learned that there was a new book being released this year. Let me tell you more about it! (And I won't even go into how much I love all the covers of the books.)

Available December 3, 2024!


"Beth Rivers needs to disappear. Her one-time kidnapper, Travis, is on his way to her town in Alaska, and she's losing time to get out quickly.

The perfect spot for Beth and her boyfriend, Tex, to hide, presents itself in a camp in the woods, away from Benedict. But when their trip takes them by Blue Mine, a small community that has seen tragedy over the last couple months, plans get diverted. Beth and Tex bring the widow of a recently murdered man back to Benedict for Police Chief Gril to investigate only to find that nothing is quite what it seems. When the woman vanishes, Beth must be on the alert for further danger. Who knows what other unwelcome disappearances--or appearances--might be lurking in the unforgiving Alaska storms.

Perfect Storm sounds like just the sort of wilderness tale I love to read, and-- since it's not available until December-- you have time to catch up with the series if you're a little behind... wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

A Something Weird Weekly Link Round-Up


The time is fast approaching when Daisy and Suzanne will be here, and I'm trying to succeed in two totally different objectives: (1) get everything ready for them, and (2) rest up so I have some energy while they're here. 

The only thing I want to mention is that something weird has been going on around here.  For almost a month, I couldn't use the remote to get to the streaming home page on our television. I was doing everything exactly the same as I always had, but I simply could not get on that blasted Roku home page. Denis was not amused every time I asked him to navigate to that page. He was convinced that I'd suddenly lost my mind and had forgotten how to do it.

I knew that-- although my grasp on my marbles is loose sometimes, I had not lost them. Something weird was definitely going on!

Well, guess what? During this last week-- all of a sudden-- I can use the very same remote, using the very same buttons in the very same order, to get anywhere I want to on that TV. Do you have any idea what happened? Any thoughts would be appreciated because I'm stumped!

Have a great weekend, and enjoy the links!

►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄
►Book Banning & Censorship◄

►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄
►Channeling My Inner Elly May Clampett◄
  • Hidden DNA found in blue whales reveals they've been mating with other species-- and their hybrid offspring.
  • A study suggests that clownfish can "count" stripes on other fish to identify intruders.
  • Smithsonian scientists discover a new species of hedgehogs hiding in plain sight.
  • The dugong, a huggable, seagrass-loving sea cow, has a new best friend: drones.
  • A study suggests that air pollution makes flowers smell less appealing to pollinators. (Makes sense to me.)
  • According to a U.N. report, Earth's migratory animals are in peril.
  • Two squirrels released into the wild come back often to visit their rescuer.
  • Great apes love to tease, poke, and pester, suggesting that the urge to annoy is millions of years old.
►The Wanderer◄
►Fascinating Folk◄
►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.

No matter how busy you may be, don't forget that quality Me Time curled up with a good book!

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins

First Line: There should be some kind of warning when your life is about to change forever.
North Carolina's richest and most notorious woman has died. The victim of a famous kidnapping as a child, Ruby McTavish Callahan Woodward Miller Kenmore ruled the small town of Tavistock from Ashby House, her family's estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 
Known by locals as "Mrs. Kill-more" for being widowed four times, Ruby left everything to her adopted son, Camden, a school teacher in Colorado who wants nothing to do with the house, the money, or the surviving McTavishes. Camden's uncle's death pulls him and his wife, Jules, back to Ashby House despite Camden's feelings.
Back in the clutches of this money-grubbing entitled clan, Camden and Jules are surrounded by questions. Were any of the rumors about Ruby's kidnapping true? What really happened to those four husbands of hers? After all, they all died under mysterious circumstances. And why did she even adopt Camden in the first place?
It doesn't take long for the couple to realize that an inheritance involves far more than what's written in a will.
Rachel Hawkins weaves her compelling tale from the vocal strands of matriarch Ruby McTavish, her adopted son Camden, and Camden's wife Jules. It doesn't take long after readers arrive at Ashby House to realize that they've fallen into a den of vipers... and that everyone's motives should be suspect. 
The Heiress reminds me of one of my favorite mystery tropes: is this person the true heir? DNA tests have killed that favorite of mine, but it still lives on in books like Josephine Tey's Brat Farrar and to a tiny degree, here. After all, the McTavishes who've stayed at Ashby House would like nothing better than to take every penny of Camden's inheritance away from him, and they're not too picky about how they do it.
One of the highlights of the book is the letters Ruby wrote to Camden. Her words prove her to be strong, sympathetic, and devious. Those letters, combined with occasional newspaper articles, are the backbone of The Heiress, and they define a fascinating character. 
To one remote, beautiful mansion, add a hornet's nest of characters, and some delicious plot twists. What do you get? A wonderful story that you can't read fast enough. After enjoying The Heiress so much, I know that I'll be reading more from Rachel Hawkins. 

The Heiress by Rachel Hawkins
ISBN: 9781250280039
St. Martin's Press © 2024
Hardcover, 304 pages
Thriller/Suspense, Standalone
Rating: A+
Source: Purchased from The Poisoned Pen Bookstore.