Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Dark & Stormy Night: Review

I started off my 2013 reading with a fun, little cozy mystery by Jeanne M. Dams.  Jeanne is from Indiana, just like me.  And, like me, she has read British mysteries all her life and has an affinity for all things British.  As she says in her bio on her web page:   

I knew it was unlikely I could ever afford to live in a lovely little seventeenth-century cottage somewhere in Kent or Sussex—but if I created a character who did just that, I could live her life vicariously, and instead of costing me a fortune, that life would actually make me some money. Such a deal! Thus was born Dorothy Martin, who is essentially my alter-ago, though she’s named after my favorite cousin. She appeared first in a short story I wrote many, many years ago. It has never been published, but Dorothy waited patiently in the wings, and when the idea for her first book came into my head, there she was, ready to take center stage.

A Dark and Stormy Night is the tenth book in the Dorothy Martin series.  Dorothy, an American living in England, and her husband, retired Chief Constable Alan Nesbitt, are invited to the typical country house weekend at an isolated spot in rural Kent.  There will be a mixture of guests and a Guy Fawkes celebration with fireworks.  It sounds like a lovely weekend get-away.  But Dorothy's long acquaintance with every Agatha Christie novel ever written should have prepared her....

A violent storm cuts off their only road to outside world--as well as destroying power and telephone lines.  As the house party tries to clear trees that have come down and blocked their exit, Dorothy discovers a skeleton lodged in the roots of one of the trees.  Another old body will be found, one of their number will be murdered, and two others will disappear before Dorothy and Alan can discover what ancient secrets are affecting the guests of Branston Abbey.  

This is a fun and light read.  No heavy lifting in the mystery department and lots of references to Agatha Christie can be found.  The clues are all there and a sharp-eyed reader should be able to get to the bottom of the mystery about the same time that Dorothy and Alan do.  I really enjoy the character of Dorothy.  She may be part of the older generation, but she's definitely an independent woman and doesn't let Alan wrap her in cotton wool. Perhaps she gets into more adventures than your average senior citizen might--but it's all in good fun and her body count is still less than Jessica Fletcher's.  Three stars for a nice cozy mystery.

I'd left this series alone for quite a while and I'm glad that the 2013 Book Bingo Challenge has encouraged me read this series again.  I plan on reading the next two books as well to fulfill the "Read 3 Books That Are Part of a Series" square.


Ryan said...

Sorry I didn't catch this review earlier. You have to love anything that pays honor to Agatha Christie. I'm not normally a cozy fan, but at least this doesn't seem to have coffee houses, knitting, or bookstores in it.

Book Dragon said...

I didn't double check to see how you're doing with the Monthly Mix-up Mania challenge, I just wanted to let you know that I finally fixed the links! ~ Happy Reading, Gina