Sunday, June 18, 2017
Scouting for Jane Austen
DEATH IN THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE
Death on Location Book 1
Kate Sharp is a location scout based in LA who is also a Jane Austen aficionado. In fact, if life hadn't interfered, Kate would have worked on a Doctorate in Literature, specializing in Austen. Her boss, Kevin Dunn, is currently in England and scouting locations for a new production of Pride and Prejudice. When Kevin does not return as scheduled, Kate and her co-workers are very worried. Not only is Kevin a mentor to all of them, he has had substance abuse problems in the past. Rather than raise the alarm and possibly causing rumors in the industry, Kate sets off to the picturesque village of Nether Woodsmoor to find him. Her search takes her on pub crawls and a collaboration with a local scout, handsome if rumpled Alex Norcutt. The two make a good team, digging up information to help solve the mystery of Kevin's disappearance...even if the local constabulary is not all that happy about their efforts.
Book 2, Death in an English Cottage, finds Kate back in England. Her LA company has folded and the original P & P production is canceled.
Alex, however, gets her a new job on a new Jane Austen documentary to be filmed in the area. Not only does she need the work, but there are definite stirrings of attraction between Kate and Alex. The residents of Nether Woodsmoor seem happy to see her back with the notable exception of her new employer. The producer, Elise, seems to have taken an unreasonable dislike for Kate from their first meeting. Kate soldiers on, dealing with Elise and a celebrity historian, vandalism in the village and a dead body in the cottage next door. Alex seems distant at times and holding secrets of his own. Kate is beginning to think she has made a very bad decision in coming back to England at all.
Death in a Stately Home, Book 3, continues as the Jane Austen documentary is revamped and Kate and Elise have made peace (of sorts). She and Alex are now a couple and preparing for the visit of his 12-year-old sister, Grace, for whom he is the guardian. Kate is a little nervous about Grace and it appears that Grace is not too thrilled about Kate as well. The local stately home, Parkview Hall, is holding a series of Regency weekends in which Regency dress and customs are observed. Elise wants her to attend one of the house parties and Lady Beatrice of Parkview wants her there too. There have been a series of negative comments on the internet, not only about the house parties, but about Sir Harold, Beatrice's husband, and the owner of the Hall. Beatrice and Kate have formed a friendship and Beatrice wants Kate to use her powers of observation on the weekend. Beatrice thinks that the internet postings originate with someone on the staff. It's a motley crew at the weekend; financiers, fashionistas, Jane Austen enthusiasts and a party planning for a wedding. The first night culminates in a murder in a classic locked-room mystery. This is murder with a difference however in that Kate is considered a suspect by some.
I am very much enjoying the Murder on Location series. There is some, but not too much detail on the ins-and-outs of being a location scout. That is a job I had never thought about at all. I did find the character development a little weak in Death in the English Countryside, but as the series progresses I am learning more about Kate and Alex and finding them more likable. The vivid descriptions of the village and its residents are an added plus. The plotting is very good with plenty of twists. I will be reading more of the series in the future. I received a copy of Death in the English from an author giveaway and purchased Books 2 and 3. The opinions above are my own.
RATING- 4 Star