The first installment of debut author Lacy’s mystery series introduces Southern foxhunter Annabelle Farley, whose encounter with a ghost propels her to take up crime solving.
At her first Hunt Ball of the Masters of Foxhounds Association, Annabelle becomes distracted when her crush, Edmund Evans, is tardy for his keynote address. But he turns up soon enough—dead at the foot of an ornate staircase. The subdued members of the Hill County Hounds return to Tennessee for Edmund’s memorial service, but only Annabelle sees Edmund’s ghost at the church. Edmund enlists Annabelle’s assistance in convincing police that his death was not accidental. But will Edmund and Annabelle be able to find his killer? Fortunately, Annabelle, the childless stay-at-home wife of a wealthy attorney, has the time and resources to assist her ghostly lover. While readers might be tempted to criticize the privileged lifestyle of rich foxhunters, they will find it hard to resist Lacy’s engaging, entertaining and likable characters. In fact, the author’s primer on the boozy world of foxhunting is more likely to elicit envy than disapproval. Annabelle isn’t nearly as empty-headed as the first few pages suggest with colorful details of her crush, couture gowns and taste for luxury. A modern-day cozy mystery with elements of the classic genre, Lacy’s volume depicts Annabelle as a young, sexy Miss Marple with a dash of madcap Lucille Ball thrown in for good measure. Although the novel is generally well written and well edited, the author may want to check her use of apostrophes—Annabelle and her husband are consistently referred to as “the Farley’s”—in future installments of her agreeable new series.
This amusing mystery may not be 100 percent politically correct, but it’s good fun.