A Beaufort and Company Mystery by Mary Stanton
Review: Mary Stanton introduces Savannah lawyer Briana "Bree" Winston Beaufort in the paranormal mystery Defending Angels, a cross of sorts between a Jessica Fletcher-style cozy and a Harry Potter-type investigation.
Bree moves to Savannah to take over her late uncle's law practice, locating a perfect suite of offices in a most unlikely location: a rambling house in the middle of a cemetery. The furnishings her new space include a painting that both attracts and repels her. When she decides to be rid of it, several people mysteriously tell her it's not possible. Her new assistant simply states, "Well, my dear, you can't, of course. It's one of the copies of the Rise of the Cormorant." This statement is lost on Bree but she doesn't have time to ponder it; she has her first case, the murder of billionaire Benjamin Skinner. Her client: the late Benjamin Skinner. She is quickly introduced to the Court of Celestial Law by her old professor and mentor which wants to try Skinner for the crime of greed. Bree agrees to defend him, but there's still the little matter of who killed him.
The strong characters of Defending Angels overcome what is a decidedly odd, and seemingly complicated, plot. Bree and her family, especially her winsome sister Antonia, are all charmingly normal while the characters that populate the rest of the story are quirky without being annoying, eccentric without being weird. That the overall impression of the book is Southern gothic is a given; it's just that as so much seems to be thrown at Bree at once, it's much the same for the reader. Though the pace is measured, even leisurely, there's a sense of being engulfed by the story, not unlike the effect the mysterious painting in Bree's office has on her. Maybe now that Bree's introduction to readers is effected, subsequent entries in this series may be easier to envisage and enjoy.
Acknowledgment: Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity provided an ARC of Defending Angels for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Defending Angels: Savannah, Georgia
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Defending Angels by Mary Stanton — A Beaufort and Company Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: December 2008
List Price: $7.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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