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Friday, January 26, 2018

Murder at the Brightwell An Engaging Opener to Historical Mystery Series

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After being wed to Milo—a notorious playboy—for five years, Amory Ames knows a little something about unsatisfactory marriages.  So, when Gil Trent, an old friend (and former fiancé), asks her to help him persuade his younger sister not to marry a disreputable man, she obliges.  As all the key players are staying at the Brightwell Hotel, Amory checks in to the lavish resort.  A relaxing holiday is just what she needs.  If she can help Gil and his sister in the process, so much the better.  

Despite her best intentions, Amory makes little headway with Emmeline, who's determined to marry self-absorbed Rupert Howe no matter what anyone else thinks.  Before that happens, however, the unsavory man is murdered.  With his well-known dislike of his sister's fiancé, Gil soon becomes the prime suspect in Rupert's death.  Amory knows gentle Gil could not have done something so dastardly.  To prove his innocence, she launches her own investigation into the crime.  An already tense situation gets even more complicated when Milo arrives at the Brightwell unexpectedly.  With her marriage crumbling and her old flame very much available (if she can keep him out of prison, that is), Amory must sort out her feelings for two very different men while trying to solve a murder that becomes more puzzling by the minute.  Can she find the answers she seeks in time to save Gil?  And what of her traitorous heart?  What will it decide?

Murder at the Brightwell, a debut novel by Ashley Weaver, is the first installment in an exciting mystery series starring likable Amory Ames.  Deborah Crombie calls this opening novel "an elegant Christie-esque 1930s romp"—a very apt description.  The story is engrossing, entertaining, and twisty enough that I didn't guess the killer's identity until the very last minute.  Because of its large cast, the tale does get confusing; the minor characters tend to blend together, which is a little annoying.  All in all, though, I found Murder at the Brightwell enjoyable.  I already have the next few books in the series and I can't wait to read them.  

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Murder at the Brightwell from the generous folks at Minotaur (an imprint of St. Martin's Press/Macmillan).  Thank you!


  1. I don’t like the sound of the large cast of characters but the story sounds fun.

  2. This one sounds like a winner. Will put it on my library list!

  3. I have this one somewhere in one of my boxes of books but I had kind of forgotten about it. Now I remember why I wanted to read it in the first place. This sounds like a fun read and I love the time period.

  4. I enjoyed this one and have continued to follow the series. Some I've liked better than others, but I always love the covers!

  5. This does have a Christie-ish feeling and I also felt like it could be a PBS TV series.

  6. This sounds like a fun one. I like the idea that it's Christie-esque. I love Agatha Christie, though I've only read one novel, but I've seen many of the old adaptations. :)


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