When Amory Ames family friend and ex-fiancé Gil shows up at her home asking for help, Amory agrees. Gil hopes that Amory will be able to sway his sister Emmeline from making a bad marriage. He believes Amory’s own experience in marrying for love only to be disappointed might be the voice of reason Emmeline needs.
Amory accompanies Gil to the seaside resort of Brightwell. Here they meet up with Emmeline, her fiancé, and a host of other acquaintances. Amory’s straightforward task turns into much more when a member of their party turns up dead. Matters are further complicated when her estranged husband Milo makes an unexpected appearance at the Brightwell. Not only is Amory torn between two men she has loved, but she also can’t seem to keep her nose out the murder investigation. It’s a toss up which is more dangerous for Amory, looking for a killer or dealing with matters of her heart.
For years, I have told myself that I don’t really enjoy mysteries. But Murder at the Brightwell finally proved to me, that I have been lying to myself all along. Though it is still not my go-to genre, I can’t resist these cozy historical English mysteries. They remind me a lot of some of my favorite TV series like Grantchester and Father Brown.
Not only do I find the 1930’s English time setting charming, but I also enjoy the layer of drama a good mystery adds to a marriage with the husband and wife as amateur detectives.
Murder at the Brightwell is a two-fer, because the murder is not the only mystery found within its’ page. There is also the question of which man Amory will choose, even though she is already married to one. In fact, I liked that mystery almost more than the other, even though I was kept guessing the entire time as to the identity and motive of the killer.
Amory is a woman of style and grit and I really admired her. She is logical and does not allow her emotions to run away with her. A claim which I cannot make for myself. But she is also kind and compassionate and fiercely loyal which makes her decision between Milo and Gil even more difficult.
Gil is the man every woman should marry, considerate, patient and kind, even if he is a bit dull. Milo is his opposite, which is what drew Amory to him in the first place. Glamorous and sexy, his reputation after marriage gives Amory plenty of reason to doubt his commitment to her. I was prepared to dislike Milo. Just like Amory does however, I found myself drawn to him beyond reason, prepared to forgive him. He is a very mysterious character revealing little about himself or his feelings for his wife. This quality left me on high alert for any clues that might reveal his heart.
I not only fell in love with Amory but also the way author, Ashley Weaver managed to transport me directly to the Brightwell and the odd group of acquaintances which make up Amory’s vacation circle. Weaver also created multi-layered characters and a complex mystery which completely hooked me. Never again will I say I don’t like mysteries. And I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the Amory Ames series.
A big thank you and shout out to Rachel McMillan, author of another fabulous mystery series, Herringford and Watts, for bringing Murder at the Brightwell to my attention. Her summary of the Amory Ames mysteries completely sold me.