Dark and Stormy Night, A (A Dorothy Martin Mystery)
The new ‘Dorothy Martin’ mystery - When Dorothy Martin and her husband, retired Chief Constable Alan Nesbitt, are invited to a country house weekend, they expect nothing more explosive than the Guy Fawkes fireworks. Having read every Agatha Christie ever written, Dorothy should have known better. Rendered isolated and incommunicado by the storm, Dorothy and Alan nevertheless manage to work out what in the world has been happening at ancient Branston Abbey.
Dorothy Martin, with her recent knee replacements, doesn't move as fast as she used to in Dams's stately 10th mystery to feature the retired American schoolteacher living in England (after 2004's Winter of Discontent). Dorothy and her retired chief constable husband, Alan Nesbit, join friends at a restored Kent abbey, now a country house with all the modern conveniences, to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day. Unfortunately, a major storm casts a pall on the house party—and blows over an oak tree that reveals a human skeleton tangled in its roots. The discovery in a secret room of a mummy—a desiccated female body whose clothes date from the mid–20th century—adds to the intrigue. Fans of traditional English mysteries should be satisfied. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. A country-house weekend provides the perfect setting for an Agatha Christie homage. Retired Chief Constable Alan Nesbit and his American wife Dorothy Martin have been invited to Branston Abbey for a bang-up Guy Fawkes celebration by their expat friends Lynn and Tom Anderson. The Abbey has been lovingly restored by the Andersons' acquaintances Joyce and Jim Moynihan. Fellow house guests include the former owner of Branston, Laurence Upshawe; famous photographer Ed Walinski; ballet dancer Michael Leonev; and Joyce's often inebriated sister and brother-in-law, Julie and Dave Harrison. They're joined for dinner, cooked and served by the talented Mr. and Mrs. Bates, by stunning solicitor Pat Heseltine and Paul Leatherbury, the local vicar. All is well, except for the drunken relatives, until a storm severely damages the house and grounds. In the light of day, Dorothy discovers a skeleton entwined in an uprooted oak. With no electricity or phone service and the house cut off by flood waters, Dorothy feels as if she's stepped into "Ten Little Indians," especially when Upshawe is found unconscious; Dave Harrison goes missing; and a mummified body turns up in what was perhaps a priest's hole. It takes fortitude just to manage without the trappings of modern life, but Dorothy and Alan still can't resist sleuthing while they await the police. As in so many classic English mysteries, the answer may be found in the past. Dams (Winter of Discontent, 2004, etc.) provides several pleasing twists along with an easily spotted killer. --Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2011American expat Dorothy Martin, married to retired Chief Constable Alan Nesbitt, finds herself in the middle of a classic Agatha Christie plot when she and her husband are invited to spend the weekend at a restored country mansion. Expecting to enjoy the Guy Fawkes Day festivities and the company of friends, they instead get caught in a terrible storm that destroys the estate's gardens and traps everyone at the house, without power or communication. While trying to clean up and reconnect with the world, Dorothy and Alan manage to find several bodies in varying states of decomposition. They realize that the murderer is probably one of the guests and that they must preserve the evidence and protect everyone until the police can arrive. Fans of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers will enjoy this very traditional British cozy, complete with an eccentric group of guests and some devoted servants. --Booklist, March 1, 2011 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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