Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Christmas in July

Advent of a Mystery by Marilyn Leach
(Adult Cozy Mystery)

I think in my past life that I must have been British.  It is the only explanation I have for this passion of mine for English mysteries.  This one is so British is just oozes fish and chips and shawls and all that other good stuff.  I mean, seriously, it's got a vicar, a barrister and even a 'lavender maven'. 

And, really, what's better than reading a chilly winter mystery on these hottest days of summer?

The main character, Berdie Elliot, is the wife of the new town vicar and she's having a bit of a hard time getting into retirement.  After years spent in investigative journalism, she has a tendency to spot a story and stick her nose into things that don't concern her.  So, when the town's 'lavender maven', also known as the town grouch, is murdered, Berdie is on the case. 

This mystery is a delight from beginning to end.  It is full of delightful, quirky characters all about the town.  The setting is a delight; Aiden Kirkwood Village is a place I would love to visit.  With the lavender cottage for sale, I might consider moving there permanently.  Really, I couldn't think of more delightful people or a more delightful place to spend time in.  Alas, it is only fiction, but a girl can dream.

The greatest strength of this story, though, is the plot.  Tightly woven with intriguing characters, the clues come hard and fast and had me guessing and re-guessing and un-guessing all the way through.  While this is a 'cozy' mystery, there isn't anything light and fluffy about the plot.  Family intrigue and World War II connections delve into serious sins of the past affecting the futures of many in this sleepy village. 

I sincerely hope this is the start of a series by Leach. I can't wait to sink my teeth into the next one!  It is one in a series of the Hometown Mystery set and I have read a couple but this one is the best by leaps and bounds.  So, in short, if you love mysteries of any kind, especially of the British bent, this is a book for you.

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