Series: Honeychurch Hall #3
Published by Minotaur Books on May 3, 2016
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Source: the publisher
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Also in this series: Murder at Honeychurch Hall, Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall
Also by this author: Murder at Honeychurch Hall, Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall, Death at High Tide
When antique dealer Kat Stanford stumbles upon the partially mummified body of a young woman in an abandoned wing at Honeychurch Hall, suspicion falls on those who had been living there many years ago. And it appears that the deceased had been murdered. Given her mother Iris’s checkered past, Kat is not surprised to learn that Iris knew the victim.
Meanwhile, the unexpected appearance of former lothario Bryan Laney sets female hearts aflutter. Despite the passing years, time has not dampened his ardor for Iris, but the feeling is not reciprocated.
With stories of hidden treasure and secret chambers, past and present collide. As Kat becomes embroiled once more in her mother’s mysterious and tumultuous bygone days, she comes to realize that life is never black and white, and sometimes it is necessary to risk your own life to protect the lives of the ones you love.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
I have mixed feelings about A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall, the third book in the Honeychurch Hall series. On the one hand, I love the setting and most of the characters, especially the main character, Kat; her eccentric mother, Iris; young Harry; and the village policeman, Shawn, who seems to be attracted to Kat. And the mystery was engrossing and fiendishly hard to figure out. On the other hand, the characters and the situations have been getting more eccentric and less realistic, and while I’m currently enjoying it thoroughly, I can see myself becoming frustrated if things keep going in that direction indefinitely. I also had a problem with one specific situation, which I’ll get to in a minute.
The plot of A Killer Ball is just as convoluted and slightly wacky (in a delightfully English way) as in the first two books, and involves a missing treasure trove, a priest hole, a dead body, a long-ago costume ball, the Hall’s usual financial woes (aggravated by burst pipes and a priceless ruined ceiling), the insurance scam perpetrated by an earlier duke (see Murder at Honeychurch Hall), and of course Iris’s checkered past as a member of a traveling entertainment troupe. Almost everyone seems to be hiding something, or is involved in trying to cover things up to keep the Hall out of the news (a vain hope.) This time around, Kat finds herself drawn into some of the secrets and lies… far enough in that it made me a bit uncomfortable on her behalf, and could potentially get her in real trouble and throw a wrench into any possible relationship with Shawn. (Kat’s actions in this respect are the “problem” I mentioned having in the first paragraph.)
Despite my discomfort with that specific situation, however, A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall is a lot of fun to read. Dennison is good at both overt humor and that sort of wry, even sly British humor that catches you off-guard, and I found myself snickering more than once. In addition, the almost-but-not-quite bewildering plot kept me guessing, not always correctly (although I did figure out the treasure’s location before Kat did. Well, mostly.) And there’s finally a resolution to the situation involving David, Kat’s ex-boyfriend, who hasn’t been as out of the picture as an ex ought to be. (As an aside, could someone manage to thrash David in the next book? He very much has it coming. As does his not-so-ex-wife, Trudi.) I also enjoyed the few scenes that played up the attraction between Kat and Shawn, a not-yet-relationship that I hope will go somewhere in future books.
I am looking forward to my next visit to Honeychurch Hall… albeit with fingers crossed that things go a little more smoothly for several characters next time around. (Harry comes to mind, as well as Kat and Shawn.) And if you haven’t paid Honeychurch Hall a visit yet, by all means do so, starting with Murder at Honeychurch Hall.
Tell them I sent you.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2016