Thursday, November 27, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Death Comes to the Village by Catherine Lloyd

Death Comes to the Village by Catherine Lloyd is a cozy historical mystery with a hint of romance thrown in that was just the thing for a relaxing Thanksgiving morning read.

Major Robert Kurland is the town magistrate, lord of the manor of Kurland St. Mary, returned to town a war hero after the Battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately, he was badly injured. His leg was shattered after his horse fell on him, and it is slow in healing. He has been confined to bed for months. This has left him ill-tempered and starting to despair. But one sleepless night, gazing out his window, he spies a man furtively carrying something across the edge of his property and that ignites his curiosity.

Miss Lucy Harrington is the daughter of the local rector. The rector is a widower, and Lucy has had to take on the role of managing his household, raising her siblings, and taking on the burdens of "rector’s wife" in the community as well. One of her tasks is therefore visiting the sick, including the temperamental Major Kurland. (One might think that the task should fall upon the rector, but her father is a lazy and selfish gentleman who neglects his parishioners and children in favor of his horses.)

Lucy is a no-nonsense sort of girl. At twenty-five, she has not given up hope of one day breaking free of her father’s grasp, marrying, and setting up a household of her own, but she does recognize that her chances are fading fast. She has a good deal to put up with, so she doesn’t allow Robert to wallow in self-pity, and he appreciates that. He asks her to let him know if there have been any reports of disturbances in the town, confiding what he saw.

Lucy is glad to help, especially since she has a mystery of her own to solve. One of her housemaids and a girl from town have gone missing. She soon learns that there has also been a rash of petty thefts throughout the town.

Together, Lucy and Robert join forces to put the clues together, with Lucy doing the legwork, while still managing life at the rectory. Robert, meanwhile, is going about the business of recovering as well as trying to take up the responsibilities of magistrate–things he has let slide for too long. But as they start to get close to finding their answers, things get dangerous. Are a rector’s daughter and an immobile man any match for a cold-blooded murderer?

This quick-paced novel, somewhat reminiscent of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, brought together two charming protagonists with a sweet supportive cast. The father was rather awful, but that helped to make Lucy shine even brighter. Robert and Lucy make a wonderful detective pair.

I have book two on my e-reader and hope to get to it soon!