Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Arsenic with Austen by Katherine Bolger Hyde (thoughts)
"When Emily Cavanaugh inherits a fortune from her great aunt, she expects her life to change. She doesn't expect to embark on a murder investigation, confront the man who broke her heart 35 years before, and nearly lose her own life.
Emily travels to the sleepy coastal village of Stony Beach, Oregon, to claim her inheritance, centered in a beautiful Victorian estate called Windy Corner but also including a substantial portion of the real estate of the whole town. As she gets to know the town's eccentric inhabitants--including her own once-and-possibly-future love, Sheriff Luke Richards--she learns of a covert plan to develop Stony Beach into a major resort. She also hears hints that her aunt may have been murdered. Soon another suspicious death confirms this, and before long Emily herself experiences a near-fatal accident.
Meanwhile, Emily reads Persuasion, hoping to find belated happiness with her first love as Anne Elliot did with Captain Wentworth. She notices a similarity between her not-quite-cousin Brock Runcible, heir to a smaller portion of her aunt's property, and Mr. Elliot in Persuasion, and her suspicions of Brock crystallize. But as she and Luke continue to investigate and events speed toward a climax, Emily realizes that underneath the innocent-looking rocks of Stony Beach lurk festering jealousies that would have shocked even the worst of Jane Austen's charming reprobates."
I'm really glad that I found this series and gave this new to me cozy mystery series a try. I picked this book up from the library because I received a copy of the upcoming 2nd book for review. With only two books in the series so far, I thought I would read the first book beforehand - this isn't always something that I do as I'm not a stickler for reading books in order. I'm glad that I did this time because I really enjoyed this book. Emily gets a letter in the mail that she has inherited something from her great aunt. She goes to town and finds that she has inherited this huge, rambling house along with a ton of money and properties. Basically overnight she becomes a very rich woman unexpectedly. The idea of inheriting this amazing house and library just hit me straight in my bookish heart. How could you not want to imagine this happening to yourself?? I was basically sold on this book right from the start after all of that. Reading about the house she inherited along with all of the mysteries/problems that came with it was just gravy by that point. I was hooked from the very beginning thanks to all of this.
I also really, really enjoyed the fact that Emily is an older woman. You really don't see a lot of books where the main character is over forty and established in her life. Emily was starting completely over thanks to all of this but she had life experience that I couldn't help but appreciate. It just is a change from your normal main character and I really liked it. The mystery portion of the book definitely came in second for me. I just didn't care so much about who had killed her great aunt as I did reading about Emily's new life and how she was going to handle it all. I guessed who the killer was behind it all easily but really it didn't matter. I was reading this one for the characters and that often happens for me with cozy mystery series. My one complaint was the book seemed to drag in the middle for a little bit. The ending more than made up for it but I wanted to mention it.
Overall, I found this to be a really solid beginning to this mystery series. I'm really excited to start the second book - Bloodstains With Bronte. Also I find these titles to be amazingly good. How can you not want to read a book with a title like that? I appreciated how bookish this book was. I almost forgot to mention how I adored the little tributes to Harry Potter that were included throughout the book. Such fun! I shouldn't mention this but I've never even read Austen, and it didn't seem to matter so don't let it stop you from reading this book if you haven't as well. I would recommend this series to cozy fans. Definitely recommended!
Bottom Line: A delightful read - I'm excited to have the next book ready to begin after this one!
Disclosure: I checked this book out from my local library.