Nancy Atherton

Books: Mystery | Fantasy

Aunt Dimity's Death (1992)

Aunt Dimity's Death (1992)

In my opinion, this story took off when the ghost appeared. Until then, the story was okay, but I was moderately frustrated by the bickering between the two characters that were obviously destined to fall in love with each other. Initially, I thought the negative feelings Lori had were premonitions of a devious plot. But no, they were just arguing the precedes falling in Lurve. Luckily that portion of the story moved to the back burner once the ghost appeared and the mystery really started to kick in.

In case you couldn't guess, I was less than excited about the romance portion of the story.

However, once the ghost appeared, the mystery took off and the story got interesting.

Lori Shepherd is struggling to make ends meet. Her mother had recently died, leaving her completely alone in the world, and so it was a complete shock to her to receive a letter from a law firm asking her to come by to discuss matters of interest, related to the death of Dimity Westwood, a woman Lori knew only from bedtime stories as Aunt Dimity.

Although the mystery turned out to be quite interesting (and involve a ghost) I found some of the other details of the story frustrating, as it seemed quite obvious to me what was destined to happen. By the mystery did make up for those minor frustrations. Lori learns about her "Aunt Dimity," a woman she knew only as the indomitable heroine of her bedtime stories. These parts of the story were very interesting, and very well done, as Lori considers the nature of grief and relationships.

Mind you the mystery was not a whodunnit. No lives hung in the balance (unless we're considering Aunt Dimity's eternal life), and no state secrets were threatened with exposure. In some ways it was more a novel about a young woman rediscovering her own mother, and the woman she thought of as imaginary at best, with a dose of mystery about the secret that haunted Dimity throughout her life. And considered in that light it was quite good. Considered as a straight-up mystery, I'd probably have to judge it a little more harshly, as it didn't particularly fit into any of the categories of mysteries I particularly like.

As far as the story went, I also have to say that I loved the idea of two women remaining friends over time and across continents. I have always found something satisfying about letters. As much as I like e-mail, it's not quite the same as putting pen to paper or actually receiving a letter in the mail. So the idea of a friendship that continued for decades based solely upon letters is an idea that I find very appealing.

Will I read more books in this series? Probably--assuming I can find the next several books used. They were interesting, and I think my grandmother will like them, but this was a little too domestic for my tastes. So, an interesting story, but one that may appeal more to those who like romance than those who enjoy their mysteries with lots of bodies and intrigue. 

Rating: 6/10

Unrelated to anything, every time I see Atherton, I think Firefly and Atherton Wing. That show just crawls into your brain and totally takes over.