A Dido Kent Mystery by Anna Dean
Review: Richard Montague mysteriously disappears from his own engagement ball, leaving a note for his fiancée, Catherine, that he is ruined and she should distance herself from him. Catherine summons her clever and intelligent aunt, Miss Dido Kent, to Bellfield Hall to discover what has happened to Richard. Loyal and in love, Catherine refuses to break off the engagement, at least until she understands her fiancée's reasons. Upon arrival, Dido discovers there are actually two mysteries as a dead body has turned up in the garden shrubbery. She also plans to find out if the two incidents are related. With her intelligence, keen mind and ability to ferret out details from servants, villagers and the other guests at Bellfield Hall alike, Dido Kent will soon become a favorite sleuth.
The action takes place in 1805, and Anna Dean's writing has an old-fashioned flair to match. The author doesn't stint on characters either. There's Tom Lomax who is courting two wealthy sisters at the same time; the card-obsessed lady of the manor; and a colonel who thinks of marrying one of the sisters but is always looking for Jack the servant as well. And they all have something to hide.
Bellfield Hall, the first in a series, is a methodical mystery, with some of the clues coming from Dido's letters to her sister and the rest from action on the estate. Few of the wealthy visitors take notice of the maiden aunt who is able to pluck information from them with her seemingly innocent questions. Dean has clearly done her research and deposits her readers neatly on the English country estate whether it's touring a portrait gallery, scoping out gravel near the summerhouse or taking a brisk walk into the village. She paces the story beautifully giving enough clues to temper the slower pace. This slower pace also gives time for the reader to think out clues alongside Dido and have time to appreciate the Dean's language and her detail for this Austin-esque era. Some mysteries move so quickly, one doesn't have time to appreciate what one is reading, and that's not the case here. Fans of cozy mysteries in general and historical mysteries will both find Anna Dean's book a delight.
Special thanks to Katherine Petersen for contributing her review of Bellfield Hall.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided of Bellfield Hall for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Katherine Petersen — All Rights Reserved
Reprinted with Permission
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
A Place of Confinement
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), August 2013
ISBN-13: 9781250029676; ISBN-10: 1250029678
Location(s) referenced in Bellfield Hall: England
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Bellfield Hall by Anna Dean — A Dido Kent Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: February 2010
List Price: $23.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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