EXCERPT: The staircase ended at a door. Nudging it open, Felicia poked her head around, eyes widening. Moonlight spilled through the tall sash windows, casting the room in a silvery, chequered pattern. Pale cream paneling lined the walls, finely moulded with a frieze of fruiting vines. High above their heads, an enormous crystal chandelier sprouted from the centre of an intricate plaster ceiling rose. The floor space was dominated in the centre by a colossal four poster bed, heavy tapestry curtains hanging loose.
They certainly weren’t in the servants’ quarters now.
‘A hidden door,’ Dexter surveyed the doorway they’d just passed through, the front of which was decorated to match the wall that surrounded it. He let it go and it closed soundlessly, melting seamlessly back into the plaster. Unless you knew where to look, the joins were almost impossible to see. ‘Very neat.’
‘Dexter, look.’ Advancing into the room, Felicia pointed at the fire, the coals of which still glowed faintly in the grate. ‘Someone’s been here recently.’
‘Well, they’re not here now.’ Dexter strolled over to the high wing-backed armchair, which faced the fire. ‘So we might as well . . .’
Surprised at the way he broke off, Felicia turned to see him staring down at the chair, eyes wide in shock. Her heart jolted.
‘Dexter?’ she rasped, suddenly finding that her throat was tight with fear. ‘What . . . what is it?’
ABOUT ‘DEATH AT THE AUCTION’: Murder stalks the cobbles in England’s finest Georgian town…
When an accident forces Felicia Grant back to her family’s auction house in Stamford, she vows it’ll only be a flying visit. But as the gavel falls on the final lot, a hidden secret is revealed—the body of her father’s business rival, murdered during the packed sale!
Soon, Felicia is swept into a mystery that has everyone in the community as a potential suspect―including her.
As the body count rises and with the people she loves under threat, Felicia takes matters into her own hands. But even the most picturesque place has its secrets…
MY THOUGHTS: I love British murder mysteries, and if this is the start of a new series, it’s going to be a good one.
Felicia and Dexter are recently divorced and she has returned home to Stamford with their twelve year old son Algernon to help out after her father breaks his leg. Imagine her surprise when a body falls out of the final lot – a Jacobean cupboard. Felicia and Dexter, who turns up just as the body makes its impromptu appearance, instantly become the main suspects.
Algernon is the pick of the characters. He’s a very observant twelve year old and has an enquiring nature. He’s also just getting to that age where he’s not going to take any nonsense from his parents.
The other main character is the detective, Pettifer, who has a face which looks like it’s been repeatedly hit by a shovel and who is somewhat enchanted by Felicia, giving her far more leeway in the investigation than should be allowed.
This is an intelligent rather than a ‘cute’ cosy mystery with good character development, an excellent setting and a solid murder mystery to be solved. There are several subplots and numerous red herrings culminating in a surprising revelation. The characters private lives are almost as interesting as the murder mystery making this an all round good read that I hope will be developed into a series.
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T: @HarperCollinsUK @OneMoreChapter
#contemporaryfiction #cosymystery #familydrama #murdermystery #smalltownfiction
THE AUTHOR: E.C. Bateman is a novelist and antique jewellery specialist. Having made the questionable decision to marry an auctioneer, she moved to Stamford and dreamt up the idea for this series whilst living in a converted Georgian flat overlooking St. Mary’s Church in the heart of town. They’ve since decamped to the surrounding countryside with their baby daughter, but can still be spotted around the cobbled streets on a regular basis, usually being dragged along by their effervescent cocker spaniel, Audrey.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter, via Netgalley, for providing a digital ARC of Death at the Auction by E.C. Bateman for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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