Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Death of a Diva at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison

First Line: "You're alive!"
Residents of the Honeychurch Hall estate are shocked to learn that Dowager Countess Edith Honeychurch has agreed to stage a production of The Merry Widow in the Hall's dilapidated ballroom. They soon learn that the request was made by one of the dowager's closest friends, Countess Olga Golodkin, the director of the amateur Devon Operatic Dramatic Organization. The Merry Widow will be Olga's swansong, and she wants to go out with a bang.
Death of a Diva at Honeychurch Hall is the latest installment of one of my favorite cozy series. Hannah Dennison writes with great humor and affection of country house life, and-- as much as I enjoy the mysteries, the humor, and the camaraderie-- I always find myself learning something when I read about Kat Stanford's latest adventure. In Death of a Diva I learned some interesting facts about opera, horseshoe bats, and the Spanish Armada and Agatha Christie's Greenway House.
There are relationship woes aplenty. Kat's relationship with the local detective inspector has hit a stretch of bumpy road, and her mother's beau has dumped her for the opera star coming to sing at the Hall. 
One of the reasons why I like the lighthearted humor of this series so much is that readers are often "in the know" about what's going on, and we get to anticipate and appreciate the characters' reactions. But we're also treated to how people deal with life in an ancient building with very low beams. (If I ever relocate to the UK, it's Georgian all the way for me. Tall ceilings, tall doors, tall windows. I refuse to be under constant threat of concussion in my own home.)

I think it's time that I come clean about something. Kat's mother drives me nuts. Others probably find her hilarious, but I've found that a little of this woman goes a long way. She's a bestselling author of bodice-ripping romances, but she keeps her identity secret. (Now I like this bit because it's fun to watch her trying to dodge discovery.) Fittingly, she writes in a converted piggery. Why fittingly? Because she "suffered from migraines" for years, leaving her husband and daughter tiptoeing about the house in fear of her health, all so she could write. Then... she's squirreled away all her money in secret, tax-evading accounts on faraway islands. It's all about her, all the time. If there's a diva in this book-- make that this series-- it's Kat's mother.  (Now that I've vented my spleen, I do have to admit that this is one well-written character to get such a strong reaction from me!)

Now that I've survived That Woman yet again, I have to smile because I have the next book in the series waiting for me. I always look forward to seeing what mystery Kat has to solve... and I can always hope that her selfish mother finally gets her comeuppance. Well, I can, can't I?
Death of a Diva at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison
eISBN: 9781472133786
Constable © 2020
eBook, 227 pages
Cozy Mystery, #7 Honeychurch Hall mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased from Amazon. 


  1. This is one of those series that I very much enjoy, Cathy, but for some reason, don't keep up with as I should. I think it's that there are so many other series out there. At any rate, I'm glad you enjoyed this entry, and I appreciate the reminder to get back to it.

    1. I know exactly what you mean! There are so many series that I enjoy yet can't seem to keep up with. If I ever stopped blogging, perhaps I could catch up with them?

  2. Your description of Kat's mother totally made me laugh! :D

  3. I like the country house setting specially.

    1. Yes! And it's one that Dennison does quite well.


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