This is the seventh book of our A to Z Mystery Tour, taken from the fourth shelf of the second bay in the Mystery section of my local library. I will be choosing one book (hopefully the first book of a mystery series) on each shelf in this section, in alphabetical order by author, and reviewing it here. I have added the series title list for each book to the website under Series in Order in the menu; you can also view the entire series by clicking on the series name below.
Nancy Atherton – 1992
Did your parent, grandparent, or an imaginative older sibling or babysitter tell you stories about a character they invented just for your amusement?
Imagine your shock, and maybe fear, if long after your trusted storyteller’s death, a stranger were to contact you out of nowhere to discuss the character whose exploits were whispered to you, and only you, as you lay safe in your bed.
This is exactly what happened to Lori Shepherd in this first installment of the Aunt Dimity Mysteries. It’s an original and striking concept, and I looked forward to a cozy read that was equally enthralling right up to the end. I anticipated more revelations as the gift of Aunt Dimity was slowly unwrapped.
Instead of a slow reveal though, the wrapping paper is ripped off in one hasty gesture. Granted, there are more secrets to be discovered, but the mystery was over for me after that first big spoiler. (Because I want this review to be spoiler-free, I’m being purposely vague.) Still, the puzzle is complex and the prose style is tight, with flashes of humor. I enjoyed most of the book.
You might enjoy it too, especially if you happen to be a fan of Barbara Michaels’ mid-century gothic mystery/horror novels. The main characters are so similar to Michaels’ heroines and love interests that if I didn’t know better I’d think she wrote the book.