Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: nice, inviting
As curator and manager of the Marshfield Manor Grace Wheaton is delighted to be part of the estate's magnificent history, but no one told her solving murder was in her job description...
When Grace's former professor calls to warn her that there have been a rash of thefts at various historical sites, Grace isn't surprised--because Marshfield Manor has been targeted, too. She wonders if it has something to do with the film crew roaming the grounds, digitally immortalizing the manor, but then she gets distracted by an incident much more dire: the shooting of one guest and the murder of another.
Grace does her best not to go looking for trouble, but with a murderer on the loose, she can't seem to leave the dirty work to the cops--especially since the killer still seems to be lurking around town, waiting to finish the job of making Grace history...
Grace loves managing Marshfield Manor in Emberstowne, North Carolina. She loved bringing the mansion into the 21st century and one of the items on her bucket list was taken care of at that moment: a DVD was being filmed of the mansion and its treasures. She wanted to modernize the gift shop, and have some quality merchandise and memorabilia for sale for the many tourists who wandered its halls.
But lately, some small and pricey items have gone missing. Bennett, the owner of the mansion, was suspecting his stepdaughter Hillary. It would not be the first time she took something and sold it when she needed money. But Grace doesn’t think so this time. Especially when her good friend Nadia calls her to warn her about a series of thefts lately. Nadia is the curator in another historical site, and some of their most prized pieces have been stolen during a fund raising party. A fire was set as a distraction, and the thieves got away with some priceless art. Most probably a job on demand for someone who doesn’t care about provenance. But first some minor pieces had been stolen, perhaps to see how they would react. And there was a film crew inside not long before that all happened, as well.
So now that the same thing seems to be happening at Marshfield Manor, Grace is warned. And of course she passes the warning on to Terrence, the head of security, and Bennett, her employer. But then a murder takes place, and another guest is shot. John, the tourguide, is in shock, how could this happen, and he actually saw the murderer, who was wearing the Marshfield uniform.
Grace takes care of the gunshot victim, it is the same handsome man she noticed earlier. And Mark sure appreciates her taking care of him, now the police has ordered him not to leave town. When he asks her out to dinner, Grace falls hard for him. It is so easy to talk to him, and she likes him. But is she ready for a long distance relationship? After all, he lives in Montana, where he owns a successful jewellery shop. And she loves her life in Emberstowne, her ancient house, her job, her friends and Bennett.
But for some reason, the killer is still hanging around Emberstowne, and he is targeting Grace. Why? There is something they are just not seeing …
What a great story. I was reading this one in the bathtub, and I did not notice the water was growing cold until I finished the book. The mystery was a very good one, but the personal life of Grace was even more captivating. Is she really ready to get over Jack, who seems to be unable to commit or make a move until he sees her with another man?
Of course in a cozy mystery series there a lots of great secondary characters who add to the atmosphere and make you want to live in it. Like Grace’s housemates, who own a wine shop in town, her little kitten Bootsie, Toonie, the wannabe detective who is now actually hired by Grace to help with the investigation. Hillary, Bennett’s stepdaughter who is unable to interact with men without flirting. And who seems determined to get Bennet’s estate instead of the town. But the one that most intrigues me at the moment is Grace’s assistant. She seems to be warming up to Grace, but is still a mystery herself.
I love Julie Hyzy’s writing style and the way her characters come to life. It is not overly silly or over the top like some other series I enjoy, but it has a more realistic feeling and just sucks me into the story.
I highly recommend this series, as well as her Whitehouse Chef Mysteries.
© 2015 Reviews by Aurian