Review: Murder at the Brightwell

Murder at the BrightwellAshley Weaver, Murder at the Brightwell

Amory Ames and her husband Milo are having marital difficulties. They met just a few years ago and married quickly after a whirlwind romance. But now Milo is spending most of his time in various fashionable European cities — and gaining quite a reputation as a playboy — while Amory sits at home. Then one day Amory receives a visit from Gil Trent, a longtime friend and former fiancé, who needs her help: Gil’s sister has just gotten engaged to a thoroughly unsuitable man, and Gil hopes that Amory can persuade her not to go through with the wedding. Intrigued by Gil’s reappearance in her life, and angry at her husband, Amory agrees to help. She accompanies Gil to the fashionable Brightwell hotel, where Gil’s sister, her fiancé, and a small group of friends have gathered. But Amory gets more than she bargained for when the fiancé is murdered, and the culprit must be someone she knows….

This is one of those books that you’ll enjoy if the summary sounds interesting to you. I really like traditional English mysteries set in the first half of the 20th century, and this novel is a solid addition to that tradition. Amory is a likeable narrator and protagonist, and even though her amateur sleuthing seems a bit unnecessary (given the presence of a competent police inspector on the case), at least she’s not obnoxious or too stupid to live. The mystery plot is reasonably satisfying; it’s not particularly original or shocking, but the killer’s identity did surprise me. There’s a strong romantic subplot in the novel as well, as Amory must choose between Gil and Milo. I’m a fan of romance in my fiction, so I enjoyed this plotline, although I was never really in any doubt about whom Amory would choose. All in all, I enjoyed the book and would certainly read a sequel if one materializes.

N.B. I received an ARC of this novel at Book Expo America. The US publication date, per Amazon, is October 14.

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