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Death Comes to the Village Paperback – Nov 26 2013
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About the Author
Catherine Lloyd was born in London, England. She completed her education with a Masters degree in history at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and uses the skills she gained there to research and write her historical mysteries. SHe currently lives in Hawaii with her husband and 4 children.
Top Customer Reviews
SETTING: England, 1816
SERIES: Kurland St. Mary Mysteries, book 1
MY GRADE: C
*Catherine Lloyd is actually romance author Kate Pearce.
I was very excited to read this book by Kate Pearce because I’m such a fan of her Simply series. She’s writing in a different genre this time around as Catherine Lloyd. The plot sounded so interesting but the story was incredibly slow and boring, sadly. It was only slightly interesting until around 100 pages in, then the story slowed down even more. On page 170 something involving Lucy happened. That incident should have happened much sooner. Much.
Twenty-five year old brown haired and brown-eyed Lucy and Robert have been friends since they were children. I never once got the feeling that they were true friends. Robert doesn’t seem to really like her and was rude to her at least a few times. I sensed no chemistry of any kind between them. I don’t really like Robert at all. When Lucy told him about an incident involving her he didn’t believe her when he had absolutely no reason to doubt what she’d said. Another time she told him her theory about a stolen item and he thought she was crazy. I just found him to be rude and annoying.
I don’t understand why Robert’s fiancé was added to the story. She was completely unlikeable and she didn’t serve a purpose. I’m just puzzled by why she was added.
I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Major Robert Kurland has come home from Waterloo with a severely broken leg, and is recuperating at home. It is not healing well, and he is tired of being sick and in bed, and being taken care of by his butler and his valet (who is his former Sergeant). One night he wakes up in a moonlight lit room from a laudanum induced sleep, and wants to close the curtains. He can hardly stand on that broken leg, and is in tremendous pain, but Robert is stubborn, and manages to get to the window.
Then he spots a strange man lurking on his grounds. What is he lurking about for, and what is he dragging with him? But then his strength gives out, and Robert collapses. None of the servants hear him call, and it isn’t until morning that he is found and put back to bed.
The next day, miss Lucy Harrington calls upon the Major, as her father makes her do that, even though it is laundry day and she needs to oversee the maids. When he asks her if something has happened in the village, she has not heard anything on her daily round of visits, but she will inquire. Back home though, she discovers one of the maids has gone missing. She has taken off with all her possessions, but without asking for her back wages, or telling Lucy what she was about to do. Did she go to London with her new friend Daisy, or did she run off with a man? Lucy is really worried, and determined to find out what happened that night, especially now that she has come home with blood on her gloves. What did she touch on the way home that she did not notice the blood?
Lucy is 25 now, and really wants a husband and a house and children of her own. Ever since her other died, she has taken care of her father and her siblings but without any real authority over them. She is especially exasperated about the cook who keeps defying her. Of course, the cook supplies the rector with more than just his meals, and is confident in her position. And Lucy’s father keeps lecturing Lucy on her duty to him and her family, and doesn’t want to loose his free housekeeper.
Her younger brother Anthony is also not telling his sister what he is up to, and when she finds an unknown snuff box in his jacket pocket while she is sewing on a button for him, she is afraid he is in trouble again.
Making inquiries into the happenings in the village and surrounding more important houses, Lucy becomes aware that there has been a lot of theft of small items lately. There is of course one obvious culprit, but he would not have had access to the houses. His young son might know some more, and so Lucy asks the Major to employ him. He is a good kid, and not like his father at all.
When the Major’s fiancée suddenly shows up with his aunt, Robert is dismayed. He doesn’t know what possessed him when he proposed three years ago, and his fiancée is obviously not happy with him being an invalid either. She is very beautiful, but that is all on the outside. She is a snob, and looks down on Lucy. She is only interested in Robert for his money. Still, Robert is a gentleman, and he cannot break the engagement.
It was really strange at first, to read a murder mystery when there was no corpse found until the last few chapters. I had my suspicions about some people and things that were happening, and I was party right. I liked Lucy, she did have to act with propriety, and she is determined to defy her father and have a Season. Especially now he has made plans for her younger and more beautiful sister, who is 20. With the twins of to school, and her brother Anthony off to Cambridge, or the army as he rather would do, her father won’t need her as much.
Of course he would love to see her marry to his curate, Edward, who does most of his parochial work for him while the rector is off with his horses/hunters. Lecturing Lucy about duty, and shirking his own when possible.
I liked her interactions with the Major a lot. He is not an easy patient, and used to issuing orders, and Lucy will have none of that. She challenges him, to at least get out of bed and sit in a chair, and even to have a wheeled chair build so he can go outside. Lucy is smart, and I liked how they worked together.
I do look forward to reading the second book someday. I don’t know if there is a hint of romance in the air, or not. Lucy seems determined to go to London for a Season with her friend and her friend’s mother, to find her own husband.
For a debut book, I really enjoyed this one and recommend it.
© 2013 Reviews by Aurian </p>
"Death Comes to the Village" has all the elements of a cozy mystery, as well as a historical novel, with a touch of romance. The two main characters, Major Robert Kurland and Lucy Harrington work together to solve a mystery in a "Rear Window" type plot in which the injured war veteran Kurland thinks he has witnessed something suspicious outside his window and the rector's daughter Lucy asks questions on his behalf to get to the bottom of the mystery.
I like historical mysteries and if the story is good, I don't mind the slower pace. However, while this book sometimes moves at a relaxing, leisurely speed, there are times it slows to a snail's pace and becomes boring. It takes quite a while for the story to get going both in terms of plot and connecting to some of the characters. Although Robert is a likeable character from the beginning, it takes longer to warm to Lucy. Lucy has a far from perfect life, with a difficult father who is quick to shirk his duties, and doesn't have the freedom to live the life she wants due to the times. However, it becomes fairly tedious reading about her disappointments and her negativity, however understandable it may be. At the beginning of the book, Lucy is a reluctant companion to Robert, but by the time she begins to change her mind, my attention had wondered. Although the mystery itself has an interesting ending, the main characters' personal lives are left too open-ended for my taste and I didn't feel satisfied with the book’s conclusion.
The book is well-written and well-researched and I liked the Regency setting. Robert is an interesting character with a unique background. Unfortunately, the pace of the book and the lack of warmth of the female protagonist detracted from what could have been the start of a great new series. Readers who enjoy the historical mysteries by Charles Todd may find this book to their liking.
This review was originally written for The Season EZine. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
Miss Lucy Harrington is his long time friend and eldest daughter of the local widowed rector. Unfortunately, the rector is more interested in his horses than in his congregation. Lucy is left to manage the household, younger children, and visiting duties for her father's congregation. What she really wants is a "season" in London resulting in a husband and a household of her own. But her father has definitely made clear his ideas on that subject. As the eldest daughter, her duty shall always be to her father.
When Lucy does her duty in visiting the bedridden Major, she hears his concerns about the village and she decides to do the footwork for their investigation into the towns mysteries. Finally, something more interesting than keeping her father's life in order. But she is hindered by everyone's ideas of a " normal" woman's mental state at those times. Major Kurland's apparent use of laudanum isn't helping their discussions of these mysteries either.
For lovers of such stories as Downton Abby and Upstairs Downstairs, this book should definitely draw you into the mysteries of Kurland St Mary! It's a mystery cozy with a few intriguing twists and turns around village life in the early 1800's. Class and the morass of the times add so much to this clever mystery. The characters are superbly written, and I want to read more about them for sure! Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long series to come!
The sequel to this book, "Death Comes to London", is even worse. None of these faults have been corrected, and the plot is nearly incoherent. Even the superficial deference to the historical relationship between the classes has been abandoned. At one point Our Hero refers to a servant as "Miss So and So"!
If you are a fan of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, or any other author who wrote during or about this period, you will avoid these books.