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Thursday, 5 October 2017

‘Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall’ by Hannah Dennison

Published (UK) by Constable,
2 November 2017.
ISBN: 978-147212380-0
Published (US) by Minotaur Books,
2 May 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-250-06549-0

This is the fourth book in the series featuring Kate Stanford ex-presenter of the antiques TV show Fakes and Treasures.   Kate has now settled into the village of Little Dipperton in Devon where her mother Iris also lives in the Carriage House on the Honeychurch Hall estate. Unbeknown to the villagers Iris is the bestselling author Krystalle Storm. When the only copy of her latest manuscript fails to arrive at her publishers, Kate’s investigations with Royal Mail establish that the package never left the Little Dipperton Post Office.  But Muriel Jarvis the postmistress denies that she still has the package. It’s a tricky situation as Muriel’s husband Fred has just died and Muriel is not in a good place. She has many debtsand also fears that now her husband is dead she may be evicted from her home, which is owned by the Honeychurch estate.

Meanwhile, the village is preparing itself for a re-enactment of the English Civil War.  With the Honeychurch Hall residents Rupert 15th Earl of Grenville, and Dowager Countess Lady Edith being staunch Royalists, and their neighbours the Carew family being staunch Roundheads, it looks set for a lively time. Incidentally, Rupert’s wife Lavinia is a Carew!

So, when a skeleton is found on Honeychurch Hall ground, the question is, whose is it? Iris, who has taken it upon herself to become unofficial historian for the six-hundred-year-old Honeychurch Hall clan, declares it can’t be a Honeychurch as none of them are unaccounted for. Could it be a Carew? But since it was found buried on Honeychurch Hall land, could there have been dirty work at the crossroads?

Enter Detective Inspector Shawn Cropper to investigate. In earlier books, there has been a sort of possible relationship brewing between Shawn and Kate but things at this point are rather cool – OK he hasn’t called her in quite a while.

Then Muriel’s car is stolen, and the re-enactment funds, in Muriel’s safe-keeping, also go missing, along with one or two other things.

Apart from re-acquainting oneself with the many marvellous characters we have met in the three previous books, several of who are mentioned above, we now meet the head of the Carew clan, his new wife, and his son.  All appear to have secrets.  So, will Muriel expose Iris’s secret identity?  Will the skeleton turn out to be a Honeychuch or a Carew?  Will the murderer be discovered?  It all sounds almost impossible to fathom and then to add to the melee, there is a murder!

With fascinating characters, some simply marvellous lines, humour and a complex plot this is an intriguing mystery and one not to be missed. I loved it, and devoured it in one sitting. Most very highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Hannah Dennison was born and raised in Hampshire, but on leaving school landed a job as an obituary writer/amateur dramatic reviewer for a Devon newspaper. Hannah is the author of the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries and the Vicky Hill Mysteries, both set in Devon, England. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles from England to pursue screenwriting and now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their cat. She continues to teach mystery writing at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and still works for a west coast advertising agency. Hannah is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, The Crime Writers Association, Mystery People, The Historic Houses Association, the National Trust and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. She enjoys hiking, horseback riding, skiing, theater and seriously good chocolate.

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