Today we take a look at book 2 in Connie Berry’s ‘Kate Hamilton Mystery’ series – “A Legacy Of Murder.” After you read my review don’t forget to scroll down to click the big red button for your chance to win a $25 gift card.
A Legacy of Murder is a well written steadily paced mystery set at the stately manor of Finchley Hall near the English village of Long Barston, a place where if your ancestors haven’t been buried in the local church cemetery for at least centuries, you probably don’t have any business calling yourself a local.
Ohio antique store owner Kate Hamilton is in town for a couple of weeks during the holidays to visit with her daughter Christine who is working at Finchley Hall. Kate is also hoping to spend some time with the new man in her life, a romance that gives new meaning to long-distance relationships as they live in two different countries. When an intern is found murdered, Kate is asked by the Lady of the manor to take over the very important exhibit of antique relics that the young woman had been working on. When Kate’s previous success at solving a murder comes to light, she is also asked to look into a stranger that has been seen around the village. A man that could be the murderer or the missing heir to Finchley Hall, or he could be both.
Kate doesn’t mean to get involved with the murder investigation, but there are just too many loose ends around the estate to be ignored. Several murders on the estate throughout history have been in some way related to Finchley Hoard, the exhibit of antiques she has been asked to curate. This includes a murder two decades previous of another intern who had the job of curating the same exhibit. Kate soon finds possible discrepancies in the collection itself, observes strange behaviors in the local townsfolk and is privy to not a little strife and drama among the remaining group of interns. It is a mystery that is impossible to resist, with the clues set up at just the right pace to keep the reader as engaged as Kate is.
I enjoyed getting to know the town of Long Barston with its long-standing traditions and strongly held opinions. As with any good small-town mystery, the strength is in the characters. Characters like Ivor Tweedy an antique dealer with a talent for intrigue, feuding public house owners representing established convention and the march of progress. Then there is Lady Barbara who belongs in a bygone era when the land holder’s first obligation was to the families who worked the estate and whose employees return that loyalty to her. Great too was the relationship between Kate and her boyfriend Tom Mallory. The story effectively captured the uncertainty and heartbreak of loving long-distance when matters of the heart seem to have no good choices. Also, despite the seriousness of the crimes, I can’t help but think that the author derived a certain amount of tongue in cheek satisfaction in writing the culprit, who I really didn’t catch until the very end, which is always appreciated.
Though I would have enjoyed a little more Christmas in this English Christmas mystery, all in all, this book was a good few hours spent.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an unbiased review. All opinions are my own.
About The Book:
A Legacy of Murder: A Kate Hamilton Mystery by Connie Berry
American antique dealer Kate Hamilton’s Christmastime jaunt to a charming English village leads to an investigation of a missing ruby…and a chain of murders.
It’s Christmastime and antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is off to visit her daughter, Christine, in the quaint English village of Long Barston. Christine and her boyfriend, Tristan, work at stately-but-crumbling Finchley Hall. Touring the Elizabethan house and grounds, Kate is intrigued by the docent’s tales of the Finchley Hoard, and the strange deaths surrounding the renowned treasure trove. But next to a small lake, Kate spies the body of a young woman, killed by a garden spade.
Nearly blind Lady Barbara, who lives at Finchley with her loyal butler, Mugg, persuades Kate to take over the murdered woman’s work. Kate finds that a Burmese ruby has vanished from the legendary Blood-Red Ring, replaced by a lesser garnet. Were the theft and the woman’s death connected?
Kate learns that Lady Barbara’s son fled to Venezuela years before, suspected of murdering another young woman. The murder weapon belonged to an old gardener, who becomes the leading suspect. But is Lady Barbara’s son back to kill again? When another body is found, the clues point toward Christine. It’s up to Kate to clear her daughter’s name in Connie Berry’s second Kate Hamilton mystery, a treasure for fans of traditional British mysteries.
About The Author:
Like her protagonist, Connie Berry was raised in the antiques trade. After teaching theology for twenty-five years, she took up writing mysteries featuring high-end antiques and the legacy of the past. Connie loves history, cute animals, travel with a hint of adventure, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable dog, Millie.
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