by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Once the host of London’s popular Fakes & Treasured, Katherine Stanford is hoping to make her Collectibles & Valuation Services a success in Little Dipperton, England. Although Kat had originally come to the tiny town to help her recently widowed mother Iris, Kat soon learned that her mom was more than capable of handling anything on her own. Having ended a disastrous relationship and tired of the celebrity life, Kat decided to stay in the village that still lives under the hierarchal rules established more than six hundred years ago. Continued to be revered, at least to her face, is Lady Edith Honeychurch and her son Rupert, the fifteenth Earl of Grenville.
Honeychurch Hall is falling on hard times, and a frozen pipe and water damage has Rupert asking Kat to evaluate artwork that can be sold. This leads to the stunning discovery of not just a double-hide hidden compartment on the estate, but of the long-dead remains of a woman. In 1958 American heiress Pandora Haslam-Grimley was last seen at the Hall’s costume party, and it seems she never left. While Honeychurch family circles the gates and is willing to throw any of their lesser to the police; a WPC and some of the more discontented residents of Little Dipperton have little doubt that the ‘Toffs’ are once again attempting to cover up their crimes.
Ever since her father’s death and arrival in Little Dipperton, Kat has learned to no longer be surprised by the sheer enormity of her mother’s secrets. An intensive investigation could reveal not only that Iris Stanford is superstar romance author Krystalle Storm, but that she perhaps has not been diligent about reporting that income currently residing in an offshore account. Somehow Iris continues to surprise, and it’s hard to say which next discovery is more alarming. While Kat is somewhat amused that her mother traveled with Bushman’s Fair and Traveling Boxing Emporium as Electra!, the 27,000 Volts Girl, and the psychic Madame Z, she is less pleased to learn that Iris was in Honeychurch Hall at the time of Pandora’s disappearance.
The dynamic between Iris and her mother are what make this series so enjoyable, as it’s never entirely certain just who is the mature one or who is in the right. Iris may have lost none of her proclivity towards shading the truth, but she has lost some of her deftness with telling lies. It’s a problem that gets both women in trouble with Detective Inspector Shawn Cropper, whose own family has long ties “below stairs” within Honeychurch Hall.
Despite the modern times, there still lingers a strong element of posh “above stairs” awe and distain for those who labor or stray from their family station. Hannah Dennison’s reliable humor and wit pokes fun at the pretentiousness of the class structure, while highlighting how it continues to affect those who claim to reject it. The basis of this Honeychurch Hall Mystery series has been the author’s appreciation of England’s historical buildings and the threats facing them, but the heart has always been the hilarious and continually fascinating relationship between Iris and Kat Stanford.
To enter to win a copy of A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “honeychurch,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 11, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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