Friday, December 12, 2014

REVIEW: Murder at Honeychurch Hall

Murder at Honeychurch Hall
Hannah Dennison

Genre: Mystery, Cozy, Women Sleuth
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication date: 5.13.2014
Pages: 302

Recommended by: Read 2 Review
Date read: 11.7.2014

Summary: In Hannah Dennison's Murder at Honeychurch Hall, Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock.  Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house at Honeychurch Hall, an isolated country estate located several hundred miles from London.
            Yet it seems that Iris isn't the only one with surprises at Honeychurch Hall.  Behind the crumbling facade, the inhabitants of the stately mansion are a lively group of eccentrics to be sure - both upstairs and downstairs - and they all have more than their fair share of skeletons in the closet.
            When the nanny goes missing, and Vera, the loyal housekeeper, ends up dead in the grotto, suspicions abound.  Throw in a feisty, octogenarian countess, a precocious seven year old who is obsessed with the famous fighter pilot called Biggles, and a treasure trove of antiques, and there is more than one motive for murder.
            An Iris's past comes back to haunt her, Kat realizes she hardly knows her mother at all.  And when the bodies start piling up, it is up to Kat to unravel the tangled truth behind the murders at Honeychurch Hall.

I am a huge fan of mysteries.  They are so much fun to read, and a great way to exercise those "little gray cells."  Whenever I find one that peaks my interest, I grab it up.  This book was one of those.

The first thing that caught my eye about this book, after the title, was the cover.  The author really took great care when she had this created - the detail is incredible.  There's a small dog, a brick path surrounded by gardens and, in the background, you see Honeychurch Hall.  (It wasn't until I was actually reading the descriptions of the house in the book that I noticed the boarded windows and scaffolding.)  The cover really got my attention and made me very curious about the mystery that would come in the pages.

This was an enjoyable read.  The characters were a lot of fun to get to know, especially Kat and her mom, Iris.  The people that lived on the property and in the home were really interesting as well - and well written.  I felt like I knew them all when I was done with the book.  There were several little mysteries going on as well as the big murder, which made reading the book even more fun.  The secrets everyone were keeping from each other, plus the twists and turns of the mysteries, kept me on my toes - and made it very hard to put the book down.  I ended up reading the second half of the book all in one night, staying up until well after 2am wanting - no, needing - to finish and find out what happened.  The end - I had little ideas about some of it, but the actual conclusion - let's just say that Ms. Dennison really had me stumped.  This is the first of a series and I can't wait to be able to read book two.

My favorite character was the young boy, Harry.  He was handsome - the kind of kid I would love to hang out with myself - and I really liked the bond that him and Kat had and how quickly they took a liking to each other.

My least favorite character was Kat's boyfriend, but I don't honestly think I was supposed to like him.  The author did a great job writing this character.

The mother and daughter team were great - and in some ways reminded me of my relationships with my mother - but sometimes the way they treated each other really got on my nerves.  They did grow, however, as the story went along and that helped me like them more.

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