Manor House Mysteries, Book 1
By Julie Hyzy
Release Date: June 1, 2010
Grace Wheaton was happy in New York City but when she comes home to nurse her terminally ill mother she remembers how much she loves her hometown, especially Marshfield Manor. Her late grandmother once worked there and Grace has always had a special affinity for the place, having visited many times during her childhood. Her plans to return to New York following her mother's death dissolve when her fiance runs off with another woman and Grace inherits the family home, one of the town's Victorian "Painted Ladies." She stays, acquires two roommates (Bruce and Scott), proprietors of the local wine shop and fulfills her lifelong dream of working at Marshfield Manor when she's hired as Assistant Curator. She hopes to one day step into her boss's shoes but she never expects it to be so soon...or the result of the man being murdered!
Murders rarely occur in the small town of Emberstowne so, when the Head Curator of Marshfield Manor is shot to death in the private quarters of Bennett Marshfield, the manor's reclusive, millionaire owner, the police are left scratching their heads and the Manor's staff are set adrift without their Captain. It's up to Grace to step in and take charge of the Manor which is a bit of a challenge considering she's the newcomer nobody trusts. Not only that but she's also thrown into the middle of the murder investigation when she discovers that Bennett has not only been receiving threatening letters but on the day of the murder, had testified against a former friend accused of engineering a Ponzi scheme in which many people lost their life savings. She's sure the police are in over their heads and sets out to solve the murder mystery herself. Will she be the hero of the day or the murderer's next victim?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's a delightful cozy mystery with plenty of action, a well-paced story, a mystery with numerous twists and turns that kept me guessing for most of the book, family secrets, a few unexpected surprises and a budding romance that I hope will be continued through the rest of the books in this series. There are some wonderfully drawn secondary characters, especially Grace's inherited assistant and her roommates. I hope we'll see more of them in the coming books too!
Julie Hyzy is an author who is new to me but not new to publication. The three books in her White House Chef Mysteries series have all been well received. I'll be checking them out while I wait for book #2 in the Manor House Mystery series to be published.
If you're looking for a good whodunit with a great cast of characters this summer, I highly recommend Grace Under Pressure.