I have always enjoyed reading this author's books. They are definitely a cozy mystery but not too cozy. The characters are interesting and the murder happens, but never with blood spatters on the wall. This story centers around the revitalization of the old Town Hall, a historic building. To go with maintaining the existing outside and add a modern sales area inside or to try and restore the building to the original and loved structure. There are, of course, two sides to the story, actually neither wrong, since the town really needs to be revitalized itself and bring in some money. There are other story lines, including the death of the unidentified murdered man. Dorothy, a widow, is still trying to fit into the English town. Originally from the US, she is afraid of driving on the "wrong side" and often gets lost. However, she is charming and wears her many decorative hats proudly.
Dorothy Martin is the perfect heroine for this sixty-something fan of cozies. In fact, after just recently discovering one of the books, I have been buying used books to complete the rest of the series. I compare her in my mind with Jessica Fletcher from "Murder She Wrote". Reading this on the kindle, I missed the lovely hats which adorn the covers of the print books, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Never having had the opportunity to visit England myself, I can't speak to the accuracy of her descriptions, but the idea of retiring there in a 400 year old house is intriguing. Dorothy also remains close to her faith, and I enjoy the descriptions of the services she attends regularly in the nearby cathedral. It is refreshing to read about her budding romance without the gratuitous sex that pervades much of today's writing. I would recommend this book to fans of the "Murder She Wrote" series as well as fans of Dorothy Cannell's Ellie Haskel series.
I really am enjoying this series, mainly because of Dorothy Martin (our ex-pat heroine) and her cast of interesting, sometimes quirky regulars. She and her husband, a retired college professor, dreamed of retiring to Sherebury, England (Dams' mythical cathedral town and the setting for the series so far), but when he died suddenly Dorothy decided to carry on and move on her own. Our heroine had some friends from her and her husband's many years of visits to England as a couple, but Dams poignantly portrays in the first book ("the Body in the Transept") and in this story Dorothy's struggles to be accepted as a "singleton", an American, and a middle-aged childless widow. It never descends to being maudlin, but it makes Dorothy very human and I found myself liking her very much and rooting for her to keep her stiff upper lip and carry on. I look forward to Dorothy's further adventures in Sherebury as she expands her circle of friends and acquaintances in the cathedral town; highly...
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