I picked this up at a warehouse sale organised by my local MPH bookstore for 5 Ringgit! (a book in Malaysia usually costs a whopping RM30 on average so this was a steal!). I’ve never actually read a book by Kate Kingsbury before. This particular one happens to be under her Manor House Mysteries, and fits perfectly under my Thriller & Suspense Challenge.
The scene is set during World War II, England, in a small village called Sitting Marsh, and centres on Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton. It was a hard and trying time for the villagers of Sitting Marsh, and the growing number of American soldiers on their turf was starting to annoy the wits out of them. Especially so for a particular somebody…. As it turns out, 4 of these American Servicemen were found mysteriously dead. Lady Elizabeth, being the perfect Lady of the Manor that she is, finds it upon herself to snoop around in an attempt to solve the mysterious deaths.
What I liked about this book was that it was an easy read – a short and sweet Cozy Mystery (only 202 pages long), with an assortment of interesting characters. Apart from the main character, Lady Elizabeth, there was Martin: the befuddled butler; Violet: the no-nonsense housekeeper, Polly: the heartbroken maid who keeps thinking she saw ghosts; Rita: the contemptuous control freak; and the most appealing character of all……Major Earl Monroe, the dashing and unattainable American soldier who has a particular penchant for Lady Elizabeth. It's really cute how Elizabeth constantly finds herself having dirty thoughts about the Major, and how she tries to contain her feelings because of his married status and the reputation she needs to uphold. Scandal brewing? Maybe, but there was definitely more mystery than a scandalous romance, although the insinuated fling was a nicely added touch.
I’d recommend this if you’re wanting a light and easy read that’s entertaining enough to keep you ploughing on. Having said that, it’s not exactly a cleverly plotted murder, and some may find it a little predictable. Even the title itself is kind of a give-away, but to be fair, the author does reveal the source of the deaths quite early on in the mystery.