Sunday, November 8, 2015


Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil (published in England in 2000) is a haunted castle mystery.

A concerned relative hires Lori Shepherd to inventory the books in Northumberland’s Wyrdhurst Hall. Lori’s real job seems to be to look after Nicole Hollander, the recently married abused mistress of the hall.

On the way to the hall, Lori is caught in a storm. She is almost killed when her Land Rover rolls into a ravine. She wakes up naked lying beside her rescuer on a narrow bed in his small cabin. (The naked part seemed strange to me too!).

When she finally gets to the old castle-like building, Lori finds it haunted. She herself begins to feel strange. Though she loves her husband and adores her children, she has strange sexually charged feelings for her rescuer.

Lori becomes aware that someone is trying to run off the abused mistress of the hall. Something strange is happening in the adjoining community as well.

Along the way, Lori finds a secret passage. She becomes aware that the castle has a murder and a love story in its history. She finds a cache of rare children’s books. And she learns that something terrible is happening at Wyrdhurst Hall.

Lori’s rescuer hikes down to her wrecked car to get Reginald, Lori’s pink flannel stuffed rabbit. And at one point, Lori places Reginald alongside Teddy, Wyrdhurst’s antique stuffed bear who plays an important role in the story.

Lori’s husband Bill sends Lori the journal though which the spirit of Aunt Dimity communes with her. And Aunt Dimity, after dire warnings, guides Lori through the rest of the story.

I enjoyed this book. I found the haunting and the mystery intriguing. The ending seemed contrived to me, but up to that point, the book kept my interest.

For me, the Aunt Dimity books are diversions. I read one when I want something light and enjoyable. So far, they have always filled the bill.


R.T. said...

Atherton's books -- I've read 3 -- tend to be too cute and cozy for me. But, in her defense, she's found a successful formula. So good for her.

Joe Barone said...

R.T., They are very cozy. I read them occasionally.