Monday, October 11, 2021

Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day

 
First Line: 3 September 1939. The mistress of the house was at work on the mayonnaise when the kitchen wireless began to speak of war.
 
A terrible mistake at a London hospital has left Bridey Kelly's dream of becoming a nurse in tatters. Her only chance of redemption is to take a position in the countryside caring for children evacuated to safety from London. 
 
Greenway House is beautiful; filled with curios that must not be touched, rooms that are off-limits, and a generous library. Bridey can't overcome the feeling that it's also filled with secrets. In particular, her fellow nurse, Gigi, is unlike any nurse Bridey has ever seen, and she spends more time shirking her duties than helping Bridey take care of ten children under the age of five. 
 
When a body washes ashore near the house, Bridey not only realizes that she's seen the victim before but the man's death was not an accident. He was murdered. The death has an effect on the suspicious villagers as well as the inhabitants of Greenway House. Bridey even begins reading Mrs. Christie's books in the library to find clues as to how to find out what happened.
 
~
 
Death at Greenway is an evocation of time and place, a character study, more than a mystery. The story does have multiple points of view, but it is mainly told by Bridey Kelly, the young woman with a tragic past who only wants to save lives. Greenway House may belong to Agatha Christie, and her presence is indeed felt in her holiday home, but she is very seldom seen in residence. This story has nothing to do with her and everything to do with the house's other inhabitants. 
 
Greenway House is shrouded in mystery. So many of the people Bridey comes in contact with seem to be hiding something. Gigi, with her lacy knickers and long polished fingernails, is like no nurse Bridey has ever seen, and it's maddening how she gets away with doing very little work and sneaking out of the house at night. The more readers come in contact with the characters, the more the suspense and unease build. It's quickly learned that being away from the bombs falling nightly in London does not mean these people are safe. As the days, weeks, and months pass, think location, location, location, and some of the puzzle pieces may start falling into place. 
 
There are some wonderful scenes in Death at Greenway, some of them heartbreaking. Mrs. Arbuthnot telling off a suspicious villager. The Wrens with their signal flags. Cecilia Poole and little Sam. And the acknowledgments and notes at the back are not to be missed. Does  Bridey ever find out just what was going on around Greenway House? Yes, but the journey she takes to overcome her past is often more interesting than the mystery. Lori Rader-Day's characters will be inhabiting the dark, furtive corners of my mind for some time to come.

Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day
eISBN: 9780062938053
William Morrow © 2021
eBook, 448 pages
 
Historical Mystery, Standalone
Rating: B+
Source: Net Galley

6 comments:

  1. I am eagerly anticipating getting my hands on this book. I have read one other book by Lori Rader-Day and the characters in that one stuck with me for a while too. She has a knack for writing characters who need to work out difficulties from their pasts.

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    1. This is the first book I've read by her, but it won't be my last.

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  2. Hmmm. I don't know if this is my cup of tea. Is it spooky? Is there an air of Victorian history or gloom?

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    1. I didn't find it spooky at all, and it's firmly set during World War II, not the Victorian Era.

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  3. Ok, good, add to my list.
    And I hope the library gets in Sarah Rhiannon Ward's new book, "The Shadowing," which is a bit Gothic, historical, characters, etc.
    Got raves at Goodreads.

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    1. I'll have to take a look at The Shadowing.

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