Deception, theft, and death disrupt the Devonshire village of Little Dipperton.
Kat Stanton, the former host of Fakes & Treasures, plans to return to her turf in London once she’s convinced that her mother, Iris, can manage on her own in her new home on the Honeychurch Hall estate. But Iris’ determination to protest a high-speed rail line that will cut through the entire valley makes Kat (Murder at Honeychurch Hall, 2014) decide to stick around, especially given her mother’s talent for getting into trouble. Iris has other talents too. She writes bodice-rippers under the name Krystalle Storm, and just after she wishes aloud for a new beau for Kat, a tall, handsome man appears and introduces himself as Valentine Prince-Avery. The laugh is on Iris, though: the newcomer is a compensation consultant for the new train line. When Kat arrives at a private appointment with him to see what Iris’ options are, she’s dragged into a protest meeting as well. Prince-Avery inexplicably runs away from the meeting and leaves his SUV behind—along with the body of an elderly villager he may have run over in his haste to escape. While Kat’s trying to get to the bottom of his part in the tragedy, she’s also tracking down a missing bundle of £5,000, holding her ex-boyfriend at bay, and living down a scandalous tabloid story while she tries to figure out which people in her life really are what they seem. A haunted chair, a dangerous bog called Coffin Mire, a velveteen mouse, and a ghostly black figure add to the mix, and thrill follows dizzying thrill right up to the last page in this fitfully entertaining cozy.
Even if Dennison had pared down the number of frenetic adventures to make a more plausible story, the twee alarm would still squawk. Thank goodness for Kat’s common sense.