Murder at Honeychurch Hall
Review: Kat Stanford had recently resigned from her popular TV program Fakes and Treasures to fulfill a long-held dream of opening an antique business together with her recently widowed mother Iris in London. They had planned to call it “Kat's Collectables”. But unbeknownst to Kat, Iris has taken her savings and purchased a decrepit carriage house on the grounds of Honeychurch Hall, a country estate in Devonshire, miles from the civilization of London, and plans to retire there to live, in Murder at Honeychurch Hall, possibly the first in a new series (though it isn't shown as such) by Hannah Dennison.
So be it, thinks Hannah, until Iris breaks her arm and Hannah rushes to her assistance. She learns that living in the country, and more specifically at Honeychurch Hall, had been Iris's dream all her life, something Hannah didn't know about her mother. But how did Iris keep the purchase of the carriage house a secret? Indeed, how did she even come to learn of Honeychurch Hall? It appears that all of Kate's life Iris had been keeping secrets. She had always said that, like Kat, she was an only child. Now Kat finds a picture of her mother as a child with a boy on each side of her. Iris admits to Kat that the boys were her brothers, but would tell her no more. Those are just a few of the secrets Iris has kept. Kat will soon learn much more about her mother and her dream.
But first Kat meets the residents of Honeychurch Hall: the demented — or is she really?— and irrational Lady Edith, mistress of the Estate; her sullen son, Rupert, trying to be lord of the manor; Lavinia, Rupert's exasperating wife, an out-of-control spendthrift; and their seven year old son who thinks he is a WWI flying ace. The help consists of Gayla, the nanny; Vera, the housekeeper and her husband, Eric Pugsley, the butler and inside handyman; plus William, the grounds keeper and caretaker of the stables. And if all this weren't crazy enough, Gayla goes missing and Vera ends up dead!
Murder at Honeychurch Hall is a uniquely constructed manor house-style crime novel. The large cast of characters is decidedly quirky and written to be intentionally so. Each seems to have their own backstory, and part of the unknown here is how these characters may be related to Iris's own mysterious past. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep one off-balance, not sure what might happen next. Fast-paced and really quite funny in places, this is a stylishly crafted murder mystery that will have readers eagerly awaiting a sequel (if one is, indeed, in the works).
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Murder at Honeychurch Hall.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Murder at Honeychurch Hall for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Murder at Honeychurch Hall: England
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Murder at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison — A Kat Stanford Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 2014
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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