American antique dealer Kate Hamilton's Christmastime jaunt to a charming English village leads to an investigation of a missing ruby...and a chain of murders.
It's Christmastime and antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is off to visit her daughter, Christine, in the quaint English village of Long Barston. Christine and her boyfriend, Tristan, work at stately-but-crumbling Finchley Hall. Touring the Elizabethan house and grounds, Kate is intrigued by the docent's tales of the Finchley Hoard, and the strange deaths surrounding the renowned treasure trove. But next to a small lake, Kate spies the body of a young woman, killed by a garden spade.
Nearly blind Lady Barbara, who lives at Finchley with her loyal butler, Mugg, persuades Kate to take over the murdered woman's work. Kate finds that a Burmese ruby has vanished from the legendary Blood-Red Ring, replaced by a lesser garnet. Were the theft and the woman's death connected?
Kate learns that Lady Barbara's son fled to Venezuela years before, suspected of murdering another young woman. The murder weapon belonged to an old gardener, who becomes the leading suspect. But is Lady Barbara's son back to kill again? When another body is found, the clues point toward Christine. It's up to Kate to clear her daughter's name in Connie Berry's second Kate Hamilton mystery, a treasure for fans of traditional British mysteries.
A holiday timed mystery, there are many interesting characters, some not so likable, though Kate Hamilton is trying her best to get along with all of them, and suspiciously missing information. The setting is quaint and rich with history. This is the 2nd murder of someone planning to showcase the history of the Finchley Hoard, and now Kate is asked to take over the chore. Nobody really wants to answer all her questions and Lady Barbara has limited vision and Mugg gives the impression of her frailty. Most of the staff have long gone, but Mugg orchestrates appearances to keep Lady Barbara in the dark. And then there's yet another murder, and Kate's daughter might be implicated. This drives a stake between Kate and her would be male friend, the policeman in charge of the investigation.
This is a great story for fans of British mystery, rich with description. Kate is very thorough and dedicated, often dealing with conflictual feelings, not all of them specific to the Finchley Hoard or the ruby.
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.
About Connie Berry
Like her protagonist, Connie Berry was raised in the antiques trade. After teaching theology for twenty-five years, she took up writing mysteries featuring high-end antiques and the legacy of the past. Connie loves history, cute animals, travel with a hint of adventure, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable dog, Millie.
Author Links: Website –www.connieberry.com
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