Archive for 'Kingsbury, Kate'
Eat, Drink, and be Buried is set in 1908 at the Pennyfoot Hotel on the English coast. Our heroine is hotel owner Cecily Sinclair, who is trying to sustain the hotel and its staff through the slow Spring season to the booming Summer tourist trade. Unfortunately, a guest has been murdered at the site of the upcoming May Day festivities, the ribbons of the maypole wrapped around her neck. Since murder is bad for business, Cecily starts questioning the victimâ€™s relatives while the police investigate gypsies at a nearby camp.
This isnâ€™t the first Kingsbury book I have read â€“ I enjoy her series set in England in WWII, as well. In many ways, these cozy series are very similar. The lady of the manor has a secret affection for a man she canâ€™t have and struggles to keep her home and employees together, while facing obstacles in a â€œmanâ€™s world.â€ Propriety and respectability are paramount in these cultures but the books, nevertheless, are all about sex. Who wants it, who is having it, who is denying themselves, who knows about others having it, and even those who remember if vaguely from the distant past. Forget the fancy dresses, the genteel manners, and the cream teas, this book really is just about the never seen, but often discussed, relations between men and women.
Which is not a bad thing, it is just surprising. In between conversations about sex, Kingsbury introduces us to some good characters and makes us care about them. Colonel Fortescue is a prime example. A caricature of a retired British soldier, he is often inebriated, frequently confused, and fondles the maids. But he is also honorable, sincere, loyal and a sympathetic character and we care about what happens to him. Kingsbury establishes what will be recurring characters and enables us to form fond relationships with them.
Favorite character? Probably Colonel Fortescue. Did I guess it? No. Will I read another? Yes, probably the whole series.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007
Fire When Ready is the seventh book in the Manor House series, featuring Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton. Lady Elizabeth and the small English town of Sitting Marsh have adapted to the American pilots billeted at the Manor House, but the new munitions factory in their town is a different matter. Tempers flare as the locals debate whether the benefit of more jobs outweighs the possibility that the factory might draw enemy bombing raids to their small town.
When the factory burns down immediately after its grand opening, Lady Elizabeth is determined to find out why two people were locked inside the blazing building. She is aided in her investigations by the unexpected return of Earl Monroe, the American pilot she has fallen in love with. Unfortunately, his return seems to have addled her brains. She does everything but swoon in the second half of the book and, instead of the strong Lady of the Manor, she turns into an intrusive bumbler who makes bad decisions right up until the end when Earl comes to her rescue.
After reading Berried Alive by this author, I am disappointed by this book. The mystery is formulaic and very much secondary to the romance. Personally, I prefer a little romance with my mystery rather than the other way around. However, the characters continue to make these books worthwhile. Kingsbury has populated Sitting Marsh with people you will enjoy reading about, and even quietly cheering for as they survive life on the home front during World War II.
Did I guess it? Yes. A not very mysterious mystery.
Mystery Book Reviews by Reviewed By Liz.com Â©2006
This is a very comfortable cozy set in a small town in England during World War II. The lady of the manor house, Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton, her servants, and the town residents are all adapting to having American military pilots billeted in the ancestral family home. In addition to the culture clash between the two groups, there are also complicated relationships between the male pilots and the mostly female residents of the town, whose menfolk are all off fighting in the war. These relationships are strained as several American pilots are poisoned.
The characters in this book are fantastic. They are likeable and even admirable as they do their best in difficult circumstances. The author puts you inside the minds of the characters and you really see what they are dealing with â€“ tragic loss, patriotism, privation, duty, loyalty, sacrifice, etc. These characters have depth and they make you want to pick up the next book in the series to see what happens to them.
This is a book that I have read twice. I tend to forget that I have read a book until I am a few pages into it â€“ but if I like it and canâ€™t remember the solution I keep reading. As I was about halfway through this book, I remembered something I had thought when I read it the first time. I thought that one of the main characters into whose minds we had delved was sure to be murdered at any moment. I couldnâ€™t tell you why I thought this, but I read this book both times with a great sense of expectation and suspense, certain that someone was going to be bumped off at any moment. Which made the book quite interesting, but there comes a moment when you realize it isnâ€™t going to happen and it is sort of a letdown. But rest assured, these great characters will appear in the next book.
Did I guess it? Well, I canâ€™t remember if I did the first time or not. I eventually remembered the solution, but I will give the benefit of the doubt and say no, I probably didnâ€™t.
Mystery Book Reviews by Reviewed By Liz.com Â©2006