Murder at Enderley Hall (Miss Underhay) by Helena Dixon
|Murder at Enderley Hall (Miss Underhay) by Helena Dixon|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: It's the second book in the series but would read well as a standalone. It's cozy crime, but at the top end of the genre. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 254||Date: March 2020|
|External links: Author's website|
It's the summer of 1933 and Kitty Underhay is on her way to visit the family which she never knew she had, at Enderley Hall. Her grandmother, Mrs Treadwell, and Great Aunt Livvy are back at the Dolphin Hotel in Dartmouth. Kitty gets easily bored working at the Dolphin - every day is much the same - but her real reason for going away is that she needs a break after her recent adventures, which involved three vicious murders, an arson attack and an attempt on her life.
Enderely Hall, home to Lord and Lady Medford and their daughter Lucy, who's much the same age as Kitty, is on the other side of Exeter, near Crediton. It's not far from the village of Newton St Cyres, and Kitty's looking forward to getting to know the family and finding out if they can shed any light on the disappearance of her mother, Elowed, in 1916. It's immediately obvious that some members of the household know more than they're letting on: Nanny Thoms calls Kitty by her mother's name.
There's quite a house party at Enderley Hall: Lucy has some other friends, Rupert and Daisy Banks, staying and Hortense Medford has a man - Henderson - who is redesigning the garden. Add in Mr Harman, the butler, Mrs Jenkinson, the housekeeper, Viola Fiser, who's restoring a mural and Aubrey, Lord Medford's secretary and there's no shortage of suspects when some important papers are stolen from the safe in Lord Medford's study. That's not the end of the problems though: the first murder follows soon after.
It's cozy crime, so the plot isn't dreadfully complex, but it's right at the top end of the genre and well written. The characterisation is excellent - I really believed in them all and actually got quite upset when one of them was treated unfairly! Captain Matthew Bryant makes a welcome reappearance after his entry in Murder at the Dolphin Hotel and there's a delicious tension between Matt and Kitty. They're obviously attracted to each other, but Matt's still getting over the death of his wife and daughter and it might be that Kitty doesn't quite fit into his expectations of what a woman should be in the nineteen-thirties. Matt's a traditionalist - he wants to look after his women - but Kitty is independent enough to want to measure and take her own risks. She's not worried about what is - and isn't - socially acceptable for women.
The times are brought to life neatly, but with a light hand. We see the changing position of women and the looming spectre of war in Europe. There's to be at least one more Miss Underhay mystery but I hope that there are many more and I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag see a review copy.
You could read this book perfectly well as a standalone, but you'll get more out of it if you know more about the history of Kitty and Matt, which you'll find in Murder at the Dolphin Hotel. For more cozy crime, try A Body in the Bookshop (Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries) by Helen Cox or The Royal Baths Murder by J R Ellis, but Murder at Enderley Hall is the best of the trio.
You can read more book reviews or buy Murder at Enderley Hall (Miss Underhay) by Helena Dixon at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Murder at Enderley Hall (Miss Underhay) by Helena Dixon at Amazon.com.
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