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Murder at Brightwell    by Ashley Weaver order for
Murder at Brightwell
by Ashley Weaver
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a charming new historical cozy that reminds me of Agatha Christie's delightful Tommy & Tuppence stories - except that the young married aristocrats here (Amory Ames and her husband Milo) are at odds in Ashley Weaver's romantic mystery, Murder at Brightwell. It's set in 1932 England and opens, 'It is an impossibly great trial to be married to a man one loves and hates in equal proportions.'

Amory was engaged to her childhood best friend, Gil Trent, when she met Milo and fell desperately in love. But after they wed, Milo resumed his playboy ways, spending months at a time away from her on the Riviera. Now Gil shows up, asking Amory for a favor. His sister Emmeline plans to marry Rupert Howe and Gil feels there's something unsavory about the man. The young couple, Gil, and various friends plan a trip to the seaside near Brighton, to stay at the Brightwell Hotel. Gil asks Amory to accompany him there, and to try to help his sister avoid making a big mistake.

Amory checks in to the Brightwell and shortly afterwards hears Gil threatening Rupert. When Rupert is murdered, suspicion soon turns to Gil. He's arrested and Amory is keen to clear him, though not entirely sure of his innocence. She sounds out all other members of the seaside party. And she has trouble keeping what she knows from canny CID Detective Inspector Jones. Matters get even more complicated when Milo shows up and insists on sharing Amory's room - why is he not in Monte Carlo? And could he possibly be the killer?

The roller coaster ride of Amory and Milo's relationship is just as much fun as the arisocratic mystery in Murder at Brightwell and the perp came as a surprise to me - and to Amory. The story is light, witty and delightful and I hope it will continue as a series.

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