Hannah Dennison has a hit series on her hands, beginning with Murder at Honeychurch Hall, which takes us on a delightful romp through the English countryside and lets us peek inside a grand old estate or, at least, one that used to be grand. The story is a bit slow getting to the plot, but the repartee between mother and daughter makes it worth the wait. Kat is preparing to open an antique shop when her widowed mother, Iris, surprises her with a broken hand, selling the home place, and a move to the countryside. From there, the story is one hilarious, mysterious, unpredictable plot point after another.
As with any good British cozy, the book is filled with characters that are unconventional, eccentric, and just plain fun. Once Iris reveals she has purchased the Honeychurch Hall’s dilapidated carriage house, the game is on. Between the oddball owners of the Hall and their employees, Iris and her neighbors, a full skeleton of secrets is re-assembled throughout the book. Kat stays flummoxed as she tries to solve murder, disappearances, buried treasure, a sarcastic manfriend, her mother’s antics, threats, and you get the idea. A lot happens in this short book, a lot that sets up the series with hopes for what’s to come.
With shades of Jacqueline Winspear, M. C. Beaton, and Anne Perry, Dennison has brought the English cozy into the 21st Century. A good beginning with good settings, good characters with a good age spread, good plot and subplots, good antiques, and an assortment of good nooks and crannies. And to top it off, a good taste of an interesting, smart, and humorous mother and daughter team.