Wednesday, October 3, 2012


“Now Nanny . . ." Grayson murmured.

“Don’t you ‘Now Nanny’ me, you cheeky blighter. They all know what I’m talking about. They know how you make folks believe that everything’s possible, that dreams were meant to come true. If you’d told us we could fly to the moon, we’d’ve tried to build a bloody rocket.” She glared fiercly around the room. “And I dare any of you to deny it.”

Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity and the Duke is a joy-filled story.

Emma Porter is recovering from a breakup with her lover. She travels to England to tour England’s beautiful gardens, but she doesn’t get that done.

Instead, she meets the ageless Pym sisters, identical twins who finish each other’s sentences. The Pym sisters direct her to Penford Hall a refurbished Gothic mansion where the reigning duke treats her as if she has come to restore the garden.

And that’s what she does.

She meets Derek Harris, a widower hired to restore the decaying chapel’s classic window showing a woman who looks uncannily like his deceased wife.

The Duke assigns Derek to find a special lantern. Every one hundred years, the reigning Duke lights the lantern and hosts a fest. The community around the manor comes to the party.

The lantern disappeared as the Duke’s drunken father sold off everything valuable in the manor to pay for his drinking and gambling habits.

The Duke himself is under suspicion of murder. People suspect he killed a rock star friend who supposedly died in a boating accident at the manor.

In the midst of the investigation, someone attacks another relatively-famous celebrity, but the woman survives.

If this sounds like a Shakespearian comedy, it should. That’s what it most brought to mind. It has lovesick widowers, children seeking loving parents, struggling people of all kinds.

It also has the usual misunderstandings. People don’t pay attention, even to the ones they love.  

And in the background is Aunt Dimity. She is a “paranormal” detective. In other words, to put it crassly, she’s a ghost who leads those around her to solve problems in their lives while they are solving crimes.

Behind what Nannie says in the above quote about the Duke, there is Aunt Dimity.

I was not kidding when I referred to Shakespeare. This reminded me more of a classic Shakespearian comedy than of anything else. And it ended in the expected way.

If this is a mystery novel, it is the most cozy of cozies. But, Oh, am I glad that I am in the process of meeting Aunt Dimity. 

I read this book from Introducing Aunt Dimity, Paranormal Detective. That is a compilation of the first two books in the Aunt Dimity series, Aunt Dimity’s Death and this book.

There are now a large number of Aunt Dimity books. They are very popular. Most of the cozy readers reading this probably have read many more of these books than I have.


Todd Mason said...

Ah, the fantasy crossovers...such a long tradition, in both directions. Think of Thorne Smith, for one. You typo Atherton's name, btw.

Joe Barone said...

Thanks for clueing me in to the typo. I have corrected it. I do transpose letters. I read all kinds of books, and I very much liked this one.