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What a delightful introduction to a new series this book was! I love historical mysteries and this will be a new favorite series for me. I love that it features an American and a Brit and that the writers are also – one American and one Brit. That means that we get the correct lingo, etc. from both sides. Love it!
Kat Reilly and Sir Harry Mortimer are, on the surface, an unlikely match. He is an English aristocrat and she is the daughter of an American pub owner. Yet, each has served in the war and then served their countries in other capacities. Now, they have found each other and love.
Kat and Sir Harry are on their way to Mydworth Manor to begin their new life together. As their car and baggage are being unloaded from the steamer ship, a messenger shows up with an urgent summons for Harry to make an appearance at the Home Office. So, Kat heads to Mydworth on her own – driving Harry’s prized Alvis motorcar. She had a lovely adventure with learning the rules of the English road.
When she arrives at the dower house they plan to live in, it is dark and boarded up. Didn’t their housekeeper get the cable advising of their arrival? Kat heads off, on foot, across the field to the manor house where Harry’s aunt lives hoping for a place to spend the night and await Harry’s arrival. She arrives to find a man climbing out a window – only to be shot – and then more bullets are flying all around – several flying very close to Kat. What a welcome to her new home!
Since Mydworth is a very small community, Harry’s aunt asks him and Kat to investigate. When the dead man is identified, they worry that the murderer might be close to home. With the house full of guests and servants galore, there are plenty of suspects to go around. Time is of the essence since the guests are all planning to leave.
With suspects aplenty, Kit and Harry have to work quickly to identify the guilty party. Who murdered the man who just happened to be a jewel thief? The solution is hard-won, the villain unexpected and the punishment sad.
I loved the romance and the mystery was interesting – but I never did understand why the dower house was unprepared for their arrival. Just something that was left undone and unexplained, yet it was an integral part of the plot
I am really looking forward to the next books in the series.
This is a second reading of this book. I have the complete series and now want to read them in order. love the characters and the quaint description of Mydworth. Recommend for all those that enjoy British Cosby mysteries. Good fun on a short read.
I don't generally like mysteries in post WWI period, but there have been exceptions. This is one. Decent characters, well written, no obvious "social message" belaboring the reader. Plan to try another by this author
As a fan of the 30+ Cherringham village mysteries, I looked forward to sampling the dual authors' new Mydworth mysteries. While the first series is an approximate current milieu, the new series opens with its first entry, A Shot in the Dark, set in 1929 in upper class Britain in Suffux The couple Harry and Kat Mortimer, Sir and Lady Mortimer, has a backstory that tells us the two met in Egypt working for their respective embassies in intelligence, Kat being a Bronx girl raised in her father's bar in the borough. Harry's autocratic title is worn loosely. He adores his new wife and brings her home to England to begin their married life and the series. They end up at his aunt Lavinia's who raised Harry after his parents' death. A house party is underway and before they enter the house they experience 7 gun shots and aunt Lavinia's now dead driver who was shot as he was leaping from a window in Mydworth Manor. Lavinia asks them to quietly investigate the matter in addition to the efforts of the provincial constablulary. And that's how their first weekend in England is spent. Much tongue in cheek reparte' and sarcastic throw away lines is leveraged into their endeavors. Remind s you just a touch of Amelia and Radcliffe in Elizabeth Peters' Egyptian series. This is a lovely addition to the historical cozy mystery genre. More to come.
This is a fun and quick read. These are new to me authors who have hit the mark.
Sir Harry Mortimer and his new American wife, Katherine (Kat) have returned to England from Cairo. Kat and Harry have been working for their respective governments. Each of them have been doing work which is not exactly a match to their job descriptions. They both seek facts in interesting ways.
They are going to live in the dower house on the grounds at Mydworth Manor. Things do not go as planned.
Before they even get to see Harry’s Aunt Lavinia, there is a murder, a body falls out of a second story window and many shots are fired.
Lavinia has been having a house party with only the best people as guests. The dead body is her former driver. His pockets are filled with jewels. That fact leads to many suspects.
The investigation by Kat and Harry is fast moving and very informative. Many of the people who are involved in the mystery, know Harry from the past. That gives Harry background knowledge. Kat has experience in asking questions, that gives her a helpful skill.
There is humor throughout the story. The mystery is well done.
This is the first in a series, so the reader gets a good amount of background information.
I liked this story and I look forward to seeing the next book in the series.
Open and shut murder mystery, or so it seems. Kat Reilly marries aristocrat Harry Mortimer. Although she is well traveled she has never been to Britain until their return as a married couple. Her first night in Mydworth she heads to her new aunt's manor while Harry has been called away on business. When she arrives, she is just in time to see a man shot climbing out of a window and falling dead on the ground in front of her. Harry arrives shortly after and is told by his aunt that it was Cousin Reggie. Open and shut case. . .
Although the introduction lasted a little longer than I might have liked, the story quickly picked up pace after the murder and I enjoyed the book much more. This is the first book in the series and I can't wait to see what happens next.
As if Cherringham wasn't enough, Neil Richards and Matthew Costello have created yet another place I'd love to visit. The new characters, Kat and Harry, set in a unique time and place in history are fascinating and the possibilities for a husband and wife team, in that world, are endless. (It will be interesting to see how the dynamic of a married couple, of the late Roaring Twenties, works in comparison to the, to date, platonic relationship of Jack and Sarah in modern times.)
Some of the reviewers have noted they guessed the outcome early on and were disappointed. As we all know, the best part of reading a mystery is trying to figure It out before the Big Reveal. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don't. When I get it right, personally I prefer to think of it in terms of my brilliance rather than any disappointment in the story. Even still, there was always room for doubt here and the characters and their illumination were interesting enough to keep me turning pages to the very end. These were people I grew to like quickly (unlike Aunt Lavinia, who obviously needs more time) and I wanted to know what happened to them.
With the Mydworth series, Neil and Richard have created a fun new playground, full of potential and I can't wait to see what they'll do with it.
This short story of a newly married couple, British aristocrat Sir Harry Mortimer and feisty American Kat Reilly is a joint-authorship effort by UK-based Neil Richards and USA-based Matthew Costello. As expected from such a combination a degree of humour is milked from the cliché that the UK and the USA are divided by a common language, and ‘A Shot in the Dark’ is a pleasant presentation of what Americans thought was English (not even British) society in the late 1920s.
This setting provides plenty of scope from a historical period with the ‘Roaring Twenties, the Depression, the brink of World War II etc. yet it does not exploit such matters as it focuses on a mystery embracing ‘cozy’ features. There is ‘death’ but nothing smutty or horror – yet neither is there much of anything else. ‘A Shot in the Dark’ is the start of a series and there could be opportunities to extend narrative, combine volumes etc. but this presentation, though pleasant enough, is only average – hence 3-star rating.
I am into my third Mydworth Mysteries book. "A Shot in the Dark" , like the next two stories in this series, is a pleasant read and a nice diversion. The characters, plots and writing style are straightforward and not very complicated, so they are 'easy reads' - that go quickly from beginning to end. The writers are clearly enjoying the exploits of their very likeable main characters, and that makes the reading enjoyable as well. Don't look for P.D. James, Colin Dexter or even Anne Cleeves here, but I still recommend the Mydworth series, including "A Shot in the Dark".