Monday, October 20, 2014

Deadly Shenanigans at a Seaside Resort

Ashley Weaver
Minotaur Books
October 14, 2014

Amory Ames is young, beautiful and rich- and desperately unhappy. After jilting her former fiancé for marriage to the notoriously charming playboy Milo Ames, the two are miles apart both physically and emotionally most of the time. When that same fiancé, Gil Tennant, asks Amory to accompany him and his sister to the Brightwell Hotel on the seaside she accepts with alacrity. Gil hopes that she can help him in dissuading his sister from a similarly disastrous marriage to Rupert Howe, a well-known and impoverished man about town. When Rupert is murdered at the resort, Gil becomes the most likely suspect. Amory knows that this can't be true and sets out to prove it. When Milo shows up unexpectedly the two form an alliance, one fraught with distrust and emotional land mines.

Murder at The Brightwell is a very assured and evocative first novel. Set in the early 1930's among the wealthy and idle, it reminds me of some of Agatha Christie's Golden Age whodunits. The period detail is very rich and the other guests (suspects) are well drawn, as well as extremely unlikable in some cases. Milo himself is a mystery to me; hopefully in future books there will be some explanation for his bad behavior. He reminds me of a child who only remembers a toy when he fears to lose it. When the murder is solved (with a nice twist) Amory and Milo seem to be headed toward at least an attempted reconciliation. 

I don't usually have much to say about covers but kudos to Minotaur and the cover artist! The design is so eye-catching and gloriously Art Deco I don't see how anyone could pass it up on the bookstore shelf. I recommend Murder at the Brightwell for all traditional mystery fans. Thanks to Minotaur and netgalley for an advance digital copy.

RATING- 4.5 Stars

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