- Title: A Deception at Thornecrest
- Series: An Amory Ames Mystery #7
- Author: Ashley Weaver
- Genre: Cozy Mystery
- Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
- Would I recommend: A delightful work of historical fiction set in Britain, with a mystery to boot. Worth the read!
Amory Ames is alone at her country house Thornecrest, enjoying her last few weeks of peace and quiet as she prepares for the imminent arrival of her baby. Her husband, Milo, is in London on business, and Amory is content to catch up on her correspondence, organize the nursery, and avoid the well-meaning if rather overbearing company of the ladies in the village as they prepare for the Springtide Festival. But then a woman appears on her doorstep, also claiming to be Mrs. Ames, Milo’s wife.
Amory’s marriage has had its ups and downs in the past, but her faith in her husband has been restored, and Milo has been nothing but thrilled about becoming a father. Though the supposed second Mrs. Ames seems earnest, Amory is convinced she must be mistaken, a belief that Milo confirms upon his homecoming. However, when a second unexpected visitor arrives at Thornecrest, secret identities and whirlwind romances appear to be becoming par for the course.
It’s not until the day of the festival, when Milo’s stable hand Bertie is found dead, that the strange characters appearing in town begin to seem more sinister, and Amory is determined to uncover the killer in the crowd.
I seem to start a lot of series somewhere other than the start, and this is one of them. A Deception at Thornecrest is the seventh in the Amory Ames Mystery series, and I understand from reading other reviews that it’s probably preferable to start at the beginning. I was still able to follow along and enjoy the story, though, even though I jumped in at the most current installment.
Here, we find Amory and Milo Ames back home – Milo’s family home in Allingcross, a small English village. They’ve worked through some challenges in their relationship, and they’re preparing for the birth of their first child. What they aren’t prepared for is a young woman showing up, also claiming to be Mrs. Ames. After all Amory and Milo have been through, is he really a bigamist?
That mystery is quickly unraveled when Milo’s half-brother Darien comes knocking. A half-brother that Milo had no idea he had. Darien has left the young Ms. Prescott (Mrs. Ames the second) behind, and he’s soon involved in a dalliance with a local village girl, Marena. He’s a trifler when it comes to women, but he never expected that to lead to him being the prime suspect in a murder. Marena’s former sweetheart Bertie turns up dead during the Springtide Festival, and Darien is first on the inspector’s list of who might be the guilty party.
This was a delightful read! Amory is a wonderful heroine. She’s inquisitive and not inclined to slow down on her investigating simply because she’s just days away from giving birth. Her relationship with Milo is pretty realistic – they may not agree on everything, and they may not always communicate perfectly and clearly, but you can tell they do love each other.
The other characters in the book are interesting as well. Lady Alma Bedford, daughter of an earl, whose horses are the primary objects of her affection. Jane Hodges, Marena’s mother, a rather harsh and unfeeling woman, or so it seems. Mrs. Busby, the vicar’s wife – her daughter died in an accident and now Marena is something of a second daughter to her. Darien, the previously unknown half-brother who Milo may or may not want to allow into his life. All were written in sufficient detail to let you feel like you knew a little bit about them.
This is also a very clean read, like it was written during the 1930s in which it’s set. Not a lot of swearing or graphic details. I appreciate that.
A female protagonist I couldn’t help but like, an engaging mystery, a lovely village setting – A Deception at Thornecrest gets four solid stars from me. I’ll go back and read the rest of the series now.