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Saturday 1 June 2024

‘The Shadow of Memory’ by Connie Berry

Published by Crooked Lane Books,
12 May 2022.
ISBN:978-1-64385908-8 (HB)

Kate Hamilton is an American antique dealer currently living in Suffolk in England. Kate on this August evening is celebrating, her friend Angie Vine’s hen party, along with ten other girlfriends of Angela’s in the village of Long Barston. The evening is not surprisingly turning Kate’s mind to her own pending marriage to Tom Mallory. Both she and Tom are widowed, in their mid-forties, and both have careers -  Kate a thriving antique business in Jackson Falls, Ohio, and Tom is a Detective Inspector, soon to be a Detective Chief Inspector. The problem, two separate careers on two different continents.

Walking home after the festivities with Lady Barbara and Vivian through the church graveyard, Kate finds a man resting against headstone, clearly dead, beside him a folded piece of paper addressed to Vivian Bunn, Rose Cottage, Barston. While waiting for the police, Vivian says, ‘I have never seen him before in my life’.

Kate is currently assisting her colleague Ivor Tweedy with a project at the Netherfield Sanatorium, which a London developer is converting into luxury townhouses to be called Cliff House. Their contact is Tony Currie, chairman of the board. Kate and Ivor have been commissioned to appraise a fifteenth-century painting and verify that its provenance is the Dutch master Jan Van Eyck, in which case. it is worth a lot of money. After an amazing lunch they are finally shown the Van Eyck. Ivor was saying ‘Magnificent’  but while Kate thought the painting beautiful, something was niggling at her, and the board were not happy when she recommended a scientific analysis.

The body in the graveyard is identified as William Parker, a retired CID Officer from Peterborough. It appears that he died of an allergic reaction.  When Vivian is told his name she is shocked, and tells Kate that Will had been her first boyfriend, who she met at a seaside holiday more than 60 years ago. She tells Kate that she and three others broke into an abandoned house where a couple had died under odd circumstances.

As the police investigate they learn that a second member of the childhood gang has also died unexpectantly. Are both deaths linked to that abandoned house?  Will there is third?

I loved this clever and ingeniously plotted mystery which gipped me from start to finish. A real page turner. Most highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Connie Berry  is the author of the Amazon and USA Today best-selling Kate Hamilton Mysteries, set in the UK and featuring an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. Like her protagonist, Connie was raised by antiques dealers who instilled in her a passion for history, fine art, and travel. Besides reading and writing mysteries, Connie loves history, foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She lives in Delaware, Ohio, and northern Wisconsin with her husband and adorable Shih Tzu, Emmie. 

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