Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, good mystery
Cons: Pacing off, especially early
The Bottom Line:
Christmas in England
Comes complete with a murder
Good second entry
Kate Finds a Christmastime Murder
Earlier this year, I traveled to Scotland with Kate Hamilton, and I immediately started looking forward to her second case, A Legacy of Murder. This time, the action takes us to England, where Kate finds herself caught up in another intriguing case.
Kate has traveled to the small village of Long Barston. Her daughter, Christine, is spending her semester break working at Finchley Hall as one of several college aged interns who work on the premises. It works out well for Kate since it is near Tom Mallory, the policeman she met in Scotland and is falling for. She is hoping to be able to spend some time with her daughter and Tom and have a bit of time to look for antiques to take back to her shop in Ohio before she returns home in time to spend Christmas Eve with her mother back in the states.
On her first day, Kate is taking a tour of Finchley Hall. The guide is talking about the murders that have taken place on the estate when a scream interrupts the discussion. Kate and several others run to find one of the interns dead. The police are quick to label it murder. With Tom on the case, it is cutting into the time Kate thought they would have together. But she can’t help but worry. Is Christine in danger since she is an intern?
This book gets off to a quick start – what I’ve teased is just from the first couple of chapters. As the book unfolds, we get to know the characters well, and there is a large cast of characters. I never once had a hard time remembering who the various characters were and how they were involved in the story.
Unfortunately, I did feel the story wandered a bit. Maybe it was my mood, but I didn’t find this one quite as gripping as the first in the series was. Don’t get me wrong, there is a good mystery here, and we get some twists and surprises along the way. The climax is very suspenseful and perfectly logical. It just seems like it could have been tightened a bit and the book would have been better.
I definitely know some of that is me. While Kate is an American, she has always loved England, and she is relishing being there in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I’m not quite as enamored with the country, however, and that disconnect was part of my problem. If you are more like Kate, you’ll find yourself drawn to this book and loving every page.
I will say this – the further I got into the book, the more hooked I was as the pace picked up.
As a confirmed Christmas fanatic, I definitely enjoyed the fact that the book takes place in the month of December. There is a lot going on here outside of the holiday, so we don’t get long passages about holiday traditions and events, but there were enough to make me smile.
A Legacy of Murder wasn’t as strong as Kate’s debut, but I’m still glad I read it. This is a series that anyone who loves the British Isles needs to pick up today.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.