Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bellfield Hall - Anna Dean

1805. An engagement party is taking place for Mr Richard Montague, son of wealthy landowner Sir Edgar Montague, and his fiancee Catherine. During a dance with his beloved, a strange thing happens: a man appears at Richard's shoulder and appears to communicate something to him without saying a word. Instantly breaking off the engagement, he rushes off to speak to his father, never to be seen again. Distraught with worry, Catherine sends for her spinster aunt, Miss Dido Kent, who has a penchant for solving mysteries. Catherine pleads with her to find her fiance and to discover the truth behind his disappearance. It's going to take a lot of logical thinking to untangle the complex threads of this multi-layered mystery, and Miss Dido Kent is just the woman to do it.

Let me start this review by saying that this is a traditional regency mystery and not a traditional regency romance. But I enjoyed it so much that I thought I should share my review with you all...

Miss Dido Kent is a spinster, she never married but she comes from a big family and her brothers occasionally ask for her help when dealing with their children. She has a special fondness for her niece Catherine who lived with her for a while when she was a young child and when she asks for her help Dido runs to her side.

Catherine had just become engaged when, during the celebratory ball at his parent’s estate, Bellfield Hall, the fiancĂ© is approached by a mysterious man who, without a word being spoken, makes him break the betrothal and run away. On the next day the body of a young woman in found murdered in the shrubbery. Although Catherine is more concerned with being reunited with her beau, Dido can't help but think that the two events may well be connected. Is the unwavering faith that Catherine has in Richard well deserved?

I really enjoyed the world that Anna Dean has created; Miss Dido Kent is a very believable maiden aunt, with a great deal of curiosity and a keen eye to observe the world around her. I thought it interesting that part of the story is told through the letters that Dido is writing to her sister relating what happens and how she sees the events. Garnering knowledge not only from the other guests but also from the servants of the house Dido soon realises that all is not as it should be with the family and that some of the guests are not what they appear.

Set in the Regency period Bellfield Hall is a wonderful cosy mystery where an amateur detective has to uncover the truth and find the villain before the house party is over. Dean created a suspenseful plot where the danger increases with each chapter and where the clues are cleverly inserted in the plot in the form of little details... I look forward to revisit Miss Dido Kent and her world in future books of the series.

Grade: 4/5


Emma Hox May 10, 2010 at 10:14 PM  

This is the third blog int eh last week that I have read about this book. Looks like one I will have to look into.

Vinagrinhos May 10, 2010 at 10:34 PM  

I hope you like it too! :-)



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