Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well
Review: Hector Huggins has died, and nearly everyone in Finch turns out for the funeral. Not because they were his friends — indeed, he hardly spoke to anyone the entire time he lived in Ivy Cottage, spending most of his time alone just fishing — but because it was the proper thing to do. So imagine their collective surprise when his gregarious nephew Jack MacBride shows up just off the plane from Australia to settle his uncle's affairs. "Try as I might," ponders Lori Shepherd, "I couldn't imagine what kind of affairs a quiet, retiring man like Hector Huggins would leave unsettled, but I didn't press Jack for details. The drive home would give me ample time to conduct a proper interrogation." — in Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well, the nineteenth mystery in this series by Nancy Atherton.
But Lori gets little out of Jack on the drive home other than an invitation to lunch the following Tuesday. Which itself would be a treat, since it's been years since anyone in the village stepped foot onto the grounds of Ivy Cottage. She takes her friend Bree Pym, a 26-year-old New Zealander, with her. The grounds are an overgrown mess, but the inside of Ivy Cottage is neat, if a bit austere. After Jack fills them in on his life in Australia over lunch, he suggests a walk out back, where he shows them something he's discovered: "a well straight out of a fairy tale, round in shape and made of smooth river stone as large as cantaloupe, with a shingled roof resting on a pair of wooden posts." And to complete the picture, an inscription in Celtic script: "Speak and your wish will be granted." Lori immediately wishes for the rain that had been falling for days to stop, but Bree is far too sensible to utter a wish. Nevertheless, the following day dawns bright and rain-free. Could it be that the old wishing well behind Ivy Cottage was the real deal?
Mysteries don't get much more cozy than Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well. There is no crime to speak of, and most certainly not a murder. The puzzle posed by the wishing well is an intriguing one, and the solution absolutely charming in its design and quite clever in its execution. Suffice it to say that several villagers make an excuse to visit Ivy Cottage and express their wishes, and all seem to come true within days. Since this is a paranormal series — Aunt Dimity is long dead herself, but communicates to Lori via a journal in which she writes — there is always a tiny doubt in the back of the reader's mind as to whether or not the wishing well might actually be capable of granting wishes. Small spoiler alert: it isn't, but knowing that won't detract from remarkably enjoyable path that Lori takes to learn the truth.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well: Cotsworlds, England
— ♦ —
Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well by Nancy Atherton — An Aunt Dimity Mystery
Publication Date: April 2014
List Price: $25.95
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites