Not her best and I have read them all.
British Manor Murder is the 23rd installment in the Lucy Stone series. Lucy Stone is feeling depressed that her grandson is in Alaska with his parents, so with the encouragement of her husband Bill she agrees to accompany her best friend Sue Finch to England.
Sue has been invited by Perry, Earl of Wickham to visit his family estate, Moreton Manor for the Heads Up! Hat Festival. Upon arrival they discover the estate is falling into disrepair and as a result the family has opened up the majority of the mansion to the public in an effort to earn money for upkeep. Living with Perry is his sister Poppy and husband Gerald, and soon comes their demanding Aunt Millicent and ladies maid Harrison.
Soon after their arrival the twosome discover the body of a young man and an investigation into his death begins. Lucy and Sue really have nothing to do with the investigation, so really the murder takes a backstage to the plot which mostly revolves around the discord in Perry's family.
Definitely not one of my favorite Lucy Stone books. The thing that aggravated me the most about this book (and some of you may find this silly) - the cover depicts two corgis. The dogs in the book who are only briefly mentioned are a black and yellow lab named Monty and Churchy. I would think the author, her editor and cover designer would have noticed this huge discrepancy.
British Manor Murder by Leslie Meier is the twenty-third A Lucy Stone Mystery novel (can you believe it). Lucy Stone is feeling depressed since her grandson, Patrick went back to living with his parents. Lucy loved having him around while his parents were out of the country. Sue Finch has received an invitation to visit England and her husband cannot accompany her. Sue invites Lucy to go with her. She believes a change of place will help get Lucy out of her funk. They are going to be staying with Peregrine "Perry" Pryce-West, Earl of Wickham and his sister, Poppy (along with her husband, Gerald). He is hosting an event at Moreton Manor called The Head's Up! Hat Festival. Sue has some lovely hats that she will be contributing to the exhibition. Lucy brought some mystery novels to read, but no dress clothes (not a good choice). Also staying at the manor are Poppy's children Flora (anorexic) and Desi (ballet dancer). Unfortunately, Aunt Millicent shows up and brings her lady's maid, Harrison. Aunt Millicent is a bit of a pill (and very demanding). The manor is very expensive to maintain so the family opens up the main house to tourists. Lucy and Sue are staying in the old servant's quarters that have been renovated. Lucy is going through the maze on the property and when she reaches the center Lucy discovers a dead body! Then the house starts to smell. At first they thought it was a dead animal, but then the smell got significantly worse. A body is found decomposing in a priest hole (a hidden room). It turns out to be Harrison's son, Cyril. Lucy just loves a mystery and cannot help poking her nose into this one (the bonus is her depression is lifting). Whoever killed Cyril has to know the house very well to have found the priest hole. Will Lucy be able to find the killer before there is another victim? Join Lucy Stone on her latest adventure in British Manor Murder.
I have read every Lucy Stone Mystery book. They are all enjoyable to read and highly entertaining. The book is well-written, has a good pace, and is easy to read. The characters remind me of everyday people. Lucy and her family could be my neighbors or relatives and I like that. The mystery was interesting. It is more complicated than just dead bodies. I liked that there were various elements to it. Leslie Meier has an easy breezy style of writing that makes the novel a pleasure to read. I give British Manor Murder 4 out of 5 stars (I liked it). I liked figuring out the different elements and identifying the killer. It was also nice to revisit Lucy, her family, and friends. I enjoyed that we were taken out of Tinker's Cove to a new destination. Tinker's Cove really does not need another dead body (the town is bound to get a bad reputation). The only thing I did not like was how whiny Lucy was at the beginning of the book. It did not fit with her personality and it was a bit of a turn off. I am glad, though, that I persevered and finished the book. I would love to see this author start a new series. I like Lucy Stone, but I believe it is about time for her swan song.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.
* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *
This is my first foray into the Lucy Stone series. The book begins with Lucy being very depressed because her grandson who had been staying with her returned to his parents and they moved to Alaska. She cannot seem to get over him being gone. Lucy's friend Sue Invites Lucy to tag along with her to England. Sue has been invited to Moreton Manor by her friend Perry, who happens to be the Earl of Wickham. Perry is putting on an exposition of hats entitled "Heads Up!" and has invited Sue to come and help him. Hoping to relieve her depression, Lucy readily agrees and off to England they go.
Perry and his sister, Poppy, are not at all the stuffy aristocrats Lucy thought they would be. Instead they are living in the renovated servants quarters, while the manor is being used as a tourist attraction. Even with this income, they are having a lot of financial problems. The upkeep of the castle is enormous and things just seem to be piling up. When a dead man is found in the manor's maze and then another in a secret nook, Lucy fears that her time in England will be a little more exciting than she had planned!
I found there were pros and cons to this book. The pros first. The author has a great flow with her writing and the book was a quick, easy read. Her descriptions of the manor and surrounding areas were beautiful, but not to overloaded with information. I also found the problem the Earl and his family were having to be very interesting. The were titled, and acted superior occasionally, but at the same time they were working hard to maintain the manor.
The cons were a little more prevalent. Lucy was a bit of a whiner through the beginning of the book. It seemed stupid that she had raised her own children and apparently coped when the left home, but her grandson, who she only had for a few months, broke her down so much by leaving. The mystery portion of the book was such an afterthought. It wasn't a very good mystery at all. I had almost all of it figured out.
Although I will read more of the Lucy Stone mysteries, this one fell pretty flat. I probably would not recommend this to anyone who really enjoys mysteries.