2017 Goodreads Challenge 09
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‘The Curse of Arundel Hall’ by J. New
Book 2 of ‘The Yellow Cottage Vintage Mysteries’
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Rose Reviews ‘The Curse of Arundel Hall’
I absolutely LOVE this series, it is correct what the blurb says – ‘Miss Marple meets the Ghost Whisperer’.
Reading this beautifully crafted murder mystery, set in 1930s the words sometimes made me reminisce about Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ from my youth.
J. New throws little teasers into the tale, making your mind work hard trying to puzzle out the murderer. Our main character Isobella Bridges is a widow at only 23 years of age, but since she has returned to the island of her childhood holidays and purchased ‘The Yellow Cottage’, her fairlytale dream has come true, and her life has been turned around.
She also happens to have inherited a cat but no ordinary pet is he, but one who can manifest himself at will, sometimes strolling through walls and at others becoming as solid as a real animal. She has named him Phantom and he is her little sidekick when she is out partaking of her new hobby to get to the bottom of every mystery thrown into her path. Like the murder at Arundel Hall.
The language is wonderful and the colourful characters only enhance the drama. Esther Shaw housekeeper-cum-cook is a ‘short stocky woman with iron grey short hair, an almost military bearing in both stance and attitude’.
There is Doctor Nathanial Brookes ‘tall and handsome with startling green eyes and dark red hair’ could he be a new love interest for Isobella?
Sir Robert Harlow is the current owner of Arundel Hall who happens to have found love with an American starlet Patty-Mae Ludere. Usually Sir Robert is found to be wearing his gentlemanly ‘Harris Tweed with his more salt than pepper coloured hair and trimmed beard which give him an air of sophistication’ but with Patty-Mae on the scene his whole persona seems to have changed and he has rather become a laughing stock of the village. Now sporting ‘poorly dyed black slicked back hair, white flannel trousers and a powder blue jacket topped by a navy and white polka dot cravat, and matching handkerchief’ ludicrous attire for the cold spring weather, so the author informs us.
The local historian Harriet Dinworthy is also the village librarian and esteemed author she is helping Isobella uncover the mystery surrounding the secret room she discovered in the cottage. It also seems that Harriet has a secret crush on Robert who was an old friend from days gone by.
It is during an elaborate but small dinner party, up at Arundel Hall that the murder takes place and one really must wonder if it could have been the butler Hobbes, he knows all the short cuts of the mansion, and moves around the hall practically in silence.
We also have the not so likeable character of Edgar Rutherford for although he is ‘devastatingly handsome, thick blond hair with a side parting swept back from astonishingly blue eyes framed with long lashes’ there is something amiss.
For me this was a real page-turner it made my mind work overtime trying to puzzle out who the murderer could be.
Very Highly Recommended
I therefore give it my highest rating of 3 Roses