Series: WISE Enquiries Agency #2
Published by Severn House Publishers Ltd on Feb. 1, 2016
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: The Case of the Dotty Dowager
Also by this author: The Corpse with the Golden Nose, The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb, The Case of the Dotty Dowager, The Corpse with the Garnet Face, The Corpse with the Crystal Skull
The Women of the WISE Enquiries Agency are back in a witty and intriguing new mystery.
The Anwen Morris Dancers are to play a pivotal role in the imminent nuptials of Henry, eighteenth Duke of Chellingworth. But it looks as though the wedding plans might go awry unless Mavis, Annie, Carol and Christine can help Althea, the Dowager Duchess, by finding a missing Morris man and a set of ancient and valuable artifacts in time for her son's wedding.
Anwen-by-Wye might look like an idyllic Welsh village where family values reign and traditions still mean something in a modern world, but what will the WISE women find when they peer behind the respectable net curtains?
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Since reading the first book in this series last year, I’ve come to really like the four main characters, and I enjoyed their second “enquiry.” Mavis, Annie, Carol, and Christine are settling in to the Welsh village of Anwen-on-Wye, each in their own way: Mavis is living at the Dower House with Althea, the Dowager Duchess, with whom she has become quite good friends. Carol and her husband love their little house in the village and are eagerly expecting the arrival of “Bump”, their first child. Jamaican-born Annie also loves her tiny cottage, and she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the local publican, Tudor Evans, who is the leader of the Anwen Morris. And Christine’s relationship with the enigmatic Alexander is proceeding — it’s time for him to meet the parents.
The mystery — the WISE Enquiry Agency’s first real case since relocating to Wales — doesn’t take a back seat to the quartet’s daily lives, but neither does it overshadow them. That’s due in part to the fact that this case strikes close to home. The missing man, Aubrey Morris, is the village handyman as well as the musician for the Morris dancers, and his absence threatens to disrupt age-old traditions surrounding the Duke of Chellingworth’s wedding. Since the Duke is their benefactor, the WISE women are happy to investigate on his behalf. The case isn’t difficult, but it does contain a few surprises along the way — and an unexpectedly exciting denouement.
While I found it refreshing to read a missing-person mystery rather than the typical murder mystery, I didn’t find this one quite as absorbing as the first book. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it — I did — but I didn’t have any difficulty in setting the book aside for several weeks. To be honest, that could easily have been me rather than the book; I had a lot going on in my personal life at the time, and it was hard to stay focused on anything for very long.
On the other hand, I am enjoying the series for several reasons. I like the interplay of the four very different main characters, and I have fun imagining their accents, since Ace includes more than a trace of Mavis’s Scots dialect, Carol’s Welsh lilt, Annie’s East-End London slang, and Christine’s aristocratic tones, along with the locals’ stronger Welsh accents. There are even occasional phrases and sentences in Welsh, which delighted me since I (self-)studied the language briefly in college. I also appreciate the ongoing secondary plots — Christine’s relationship with Alexander, Carol’s pregnancy, and Annie’s family and social life among them. I’m looking forward to seeing where Ms. Ace takes the series, and the characters, in the next book.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2016