Down-on-her-luck Lori Shepherd thought Aunt Dimity was a pretend character in her mother's bedtime stories ... until the Dickensian law firm of Willis & Willis offers the possibility of large inheritance -- if she can discover the secret hidden in letters between Dimity and her mother. Plus 1-pg recipe Beth's Oatmeal Cookies.
Nancy Atherton is not a white-haired Englishwoman with a softly wrinkled face, a wry smile, and wise gray eyes, nor does she live in a thatched cottage behind a babbling brook in a tranquil, rural corner of the Cotswolds.
She has never taken tea with a vicar (although she drank an Orange Squash with one once) and she doesn't plan to continue writing after her allotted time on earth (though such plans are, as well all know, subject to change without notice).
If you prefer to envision her as an Englishwoman, she urges you to cling to your illusions at all costs -- she treasures carefully nurtured illusions. She also urges you to read no further.
Because the truth is that Nancy Atherton is a dark-haired American with a generally unwrinkled face, a beaming smile, and hazel eyes, who lives in a plain house in Colorado Springs. She comes from a large, gregarious family (five brothers and two sisters!) and enjoys socializing as much as she enjoys solitude.
So if you are looking for her at a convention, don't look for a stately grande dame in a flowery dress. Look for a woman in jeans and sneakers who's bounding around like a hyperactive gerbil.
I am going to lump all of her books into one review because it will simply take too long to review all of her books individually. I have been a huge fan of these since I started reading them about six years ago. I always look forward to her new release with some anxiety, because apparently book sales are down and there was a question prior to her Deep Blue See book (I believe it was that one), that it may get dropped from being published. Hence, the new artwork on the more recent books in an effort to revitalize interest.
If you like something quick and easy, but very entertaining with great characters, these are wonderful stories. There is love, excitement, humor and suspense. They are well written and all her books come with a great recipe in the back that relate to some character in the story.
Most of the stories take place in England, the main character an American woman named Lori who finds help in her adventures from a "ghost" she calls Aund Dimity who communicates to her through a blue journal. I can't say too much, as much of her character and situation unfolds in the first book.
Book two, Aunt Dimity and the Duke, does not have Lori in it (the only one that doesn't), but is a necessity to introduce other characters that will be in Lori's life in the following books. It is just as good as the rest of them, and I encourage you to read the books in chronological order, as each references events in previous books, but this is not a necessity, as Ms. Atherton recaps pertinent information well.
I highly recommend these if you are in the mood to just curl up on the couch with a glass of wine or cup of tea and relax, or are looking for something fun to read if you are pressed for time.
There are few books that are so sweet, so perfect, so interminably beautiful. A blast into the past of the 1940s, though set in the 90s. Reminiscent of L.M. Montgomery, few books have made me as happy as this one has by just being astoundingly brilliant. If I could give it more than five stars, I would. Of course, having just finished it, I perhaps have less objectivity than I should, given my current overjoyed, amazed state, but still. I must read the others immediately! If you are expecting a mystery, however, this is NOT the book for you. This is a literary romance or some such thing, if it must be classified. It holds the most similarity to, as I said, L.M. Montgomery, or Jane Austen if you really want to stretch. Though there is a mystery in the novel, the novel is not about that mystery, but more about what the narrator learns about herself through that mystery. To view this as a mystery novel is to miss the plot of the novel entirely. Someone wanting a sweet, light-hearted, supernaturally-tinged, fairy tale-style romance, however, will be overjoyed with what they find in this novel.
I got this on CD from the library and really enjoyed it. It's about a young woman who learns that her late mother and the mysterious Aunt Dimity conspired to leave her a very unusual legacy. It's more a ghost story and romance than a mystery; sophisticated enough to hold my attention, but there was nothing in it I couldn't listen to when my 5-year-old was in the car (she liked it too!). The characters, settings, and situations were so charming that I wished I could just jump into the book and live there for a while.
I'm glad I listened to it rather than reading it, as it lasted longer that way. The reader did a wonderful job, and I kept finding excuses to drive so I would have reason to stay longer in the cozy little world she and Atherton created. I will probably buy the book to have on hand for "comfort reading", and look forward to reading or listening to the rest of the Aunt Dimity series.
I think that this book is the perfect example of how expectations can color your impression of a book. Although the front cover boasts "One of the 100 best mysteries of all time," this book isn't really a mystery.
There's no murder. There's no hunt for whodunnit. There's no bad guy.
I was expecting a traditional murder mystery, something along the lines of Agatha Christie perhaps, because I knew the story was partially set in an English cottage. I was drawn into the opening. The main character, Lori Shepherd, is sympathetic and I found myself rooting for her to have a better life for herself than she's had so far. But once it became evident that there was no murder mystery in this story, I was disappointed.
It's hard for me to judge the book based on the reality versus my expectation. It's a sweet read and more of a romance than a mystery, but it doesn't even have passion in the romance. It's almost as if the author wasn't sure what she wanted to write.
The Aunt Dimity series is very popular, so it must be appealing to a number of readers. Personally, I would have liked to have something more happen, stronger emotions, and a nice, juicy killing with a puzzle to figure out. I doubt that I'll be reading any more books in this series.
A thoroughly enjoyable cosy mystery although I was a little perplexed as to how this would work as the main character apparently dies in the first book of the series. Never fear all will be revealed. Aunt Dimity was a lifelong friend and correspondent with Ruth, Lori's mother. The two ladies met in London during WWI and after Ruth returned to America the pair kept up a profuse correspondence until their deaths within a short time of each other. Lori finds herself with little money, grieving for her mother and in need of a friend when she receives a letter from William Willis & Son solicitors. When she turns up at the mansion in the Willis’s live and from where they run the business things take a miraculous turn for the better and Lori's life will never be the same again. This story has all the ingredients of a good Cosy mystery, gentle sleuthing, pleasant characters and a tender ripple of romance which is not at all overdone. The book is well written and I shall be reading others in the series
4.5 stars This is one of the few mysteries I've read that didn't involve a murder. Instead, this book, cleverly disguised as a cosy mystery, takes us into a world of adults looking at childhood memories through grown-up eyes. There are memories sweet and difficult, dark secrets, and finally, a love story or two. There's really not so much of a mystery here, but more a righting of past wrongs.
This is an unusual and rather understated little book, and one I enjoyed very much.
I thought this was cliche and immature. And I never really understood why the main character was constantly throwing tantrums and why no one was offended when she did. What is she enraged about? Why does everyone think she's spunky and clever? I thought she was whiny and boring.
Lori Shepherd lebt in den USA, ist gerade frisch geschieden und pleite. Als auch noch ihre Mutter stirbt, verliert sie ihren letzten Halt. Da erreicht sie unverhofft die Nachricht einer Anwaltskanzlei. Lori hat geerbt - von Tante Dimity in England. Verbunden mit dem Erbe sind ein paar Aufgaben. Gemeinsam mit dem jungen Anwalt Bill fliegt Lori also nach England und gerät in ein großes mysteriöses Abenteuer...
Ich liebe die Tante Dimity - Bücher! Zwar habe ich bisher noch relativ wenige gelesen, aber die, die ich gelesen habe, haben mir alle unglaublich gut gefallen. Sie vermitteln einfach ein schönes wohliges Gefühl beim Lesen - so war es auch bei diesem Band.
"Tante Dimity und das geheimnisvolle Erbe" ist der erste Band der inzwischen über 20 Bände umfassenden Reihe. Um die Reihe zu mögen, muss man sich auf übersinnliche Begebenheiten einlassen können, denn Lori kann mit ihrer verstorbenen Tante Dimity über ein Tagebuch kommunizieren.
Gerade das macht das Buch bzw. die Reihe aber für mich zu etwas Besonderem. Auch der rosa Plüschhase Reginald spielt eine Rolle.
Für mich hat das Buch einfach das gewisse Etwas gehabt; ich habe mich gleich wohlfühlen können in der Geschichte und hatte schöne Lesestunden mit Lori und Tante Dimity!
A pleasantly non-formulaic, if oddly paced, mystery. For the first 30+ pages we hear about how miserable Lori's life is: quit her job to move with her husband, got divorced, mom died (her only family), no money, a series of crappy temp jobs and shared apartments.
Then she is contacted by a law firm representing Aunt Dimity, a friend of her mother's whom she thought was a fictional character. We get a strangely protracted 60 or so pages with Lori and the father and son Willis Esquires. I didn't vastly enjoy any characters so this part was kind of a drag for me. Finally, halfway through, the actually investigating of the mystery starts, and a little after that the ghost is finally introduced, and then the weight of decades is rushed through rather quickly with happy resolutions for all.
I didn't mind reading it but don't think it needed to be an incredibly long series. Probably won't continue.
Has anyone tried the cookie recipe in the back? I've never heard of this "raisin water" step before.
I couldn't finish this book. I got half way through it and tried to skip to the end, but it was too much for me. I have to say, I'm pretty disappointed, I was looking forward to a nice long series to settle into.
I really HATED Lori, the main character. She is rude, childish, ill mannered and demanding. She treats Bill (her companion through the story) like crap and is never corrected for it. And he rolls over like a puppy dog, allows her to treat him horribly and never expects an apology.
I did like Bills character (expect where it came to Lori), I liked Dimity and all the other characters but I just couldn't get past her.
* I take my writing seriously and consider comments the reward. Please do not leave “like button” clicks, until you are accompanying them with remarks for me. *
I award four stars to many wonderful books, so there is a distinction from outrageously special ones. Those you stick with all night, forsaking other activities because "you're at a good part" non-stop. So superbly done, its characters and quirks integrate into your life and everyday things remind you of the story. “Aunt Dimity's Death” was excellent from start to finish and I thank Nancy Atherton for creating it. Her peculiar first lines, which advertise the synopsis, successfully draw you in and the momentum persists. Every turn surprises you and there are no clichés.
It is enormously original when a mystery isn’t a murder! Rarer, for the average person to grasp that. When our downtrodden protagonist meets about a will at a mansion, ‘Lori’ isn’t handed a cigar and a deed to land, nor does she encounter snobs. Warm, impeccably-mannered men are eager to meet her. You can’t wait to learn why and dialogue constantly carries wit. Here’s an observation at which I really laughed:
“The changing room was to bathrooms what the Taj Mahal is to the Little Brown Church in the Vale. I would have gladly moved into it and lived there for the rest of my life”.
I enjoyed seeing that a writing style I favour, works well. Similar to Lyn Hamilton,Nancy describes points of interest but stays abreast of key information and action. I like beginning with normal scenarios, so the appearance of otherworldly elements has an impact. No need to set mystique up. Magic floats into the tale beautifully, as Lori looks into wartime history and recent letters… to understand her family and herself.
I tried to finish this, but I simply can't do it. The writing is fine, but the main protagonist is simply awful. Truly unlikable. I get it, her mother died, her life is in a shambles, but she's a grown woman. Almost 30, but acts 5. I don't know if the story gets better, I'm not sure if the series gets better, but good Lord, Lori is a giant pain in the ass. Seriously. And she's inconsistent in her indignation. Examples: Mild spoilers ahead if you don't want those stop reading this review now. Bill Willis Jr, buys her clothes, and she is rightly put out by this, sort of, because they aren't friends, so by rights he should have asked her permission before buying her a new fabulous wardrobe, but not 10 pages later she uses her 'expense' account to purchase an expensive 'gift' for Bill's father. So, if she spends someone else's cash, a lot of too, "the price was daunting, but I considered the map to be a very necessary expense" that's totally different. Pissed off because a person bought you clothes with his own cash, but it's totally the sweetest thing in the world to buy a 'gift' with someone else's money.???? This is a huge spoiler : spoiler: Needless to say. I have had it with reading about strong independent women, who act like spoiled children.
I'm tagging the book cozy mystery because it that's what it apparently is--in fact, the title goes so far as to proclaim Aunt Dimity's Death "One of the 100 Best Mysteries of the Century*" (The asterisk is my favorite part; it so neatly and unintentionally undercuts the statement.) I am here to tell you that if this book didn't so loudly proclaim itself a mystery, I would never have guessed it. It is a cozy, comfortable story, though, about a grieving woman who discovers her recently deceased parent kept up a 40+ year correspondence with a friend in England. A friend who not only knows everything about her, but left her an inheritance, provided she travel to England and complete a task. There is a ghost, an adorable cottage, lots of reminiscing about WW2...and oh, a truly charming love interest. I wish I could say the story weaves these themes together seamlessly, but truly it is a hot mess half the time and I almost didn't make it through the first two chapters. The main character remains fairly unlikable throughout. And while somehow entirely predictable, the story manages to shove in any number of random plot contrivances, including limo drivers and Scottish castles and Dwight E. Eisenhower. But it is a heartwarming story, nonetheless, that reminded me of D.E. Stevenson. I'll definitely have to come back to this one.
The cosiest of cosy mysteries. The setting and the characters were all exceedingly charming, and that was the problem, really. Any character who was the slightest bit unpleasant was swiftly and effectively dealt with, and I have experienced more dramatic tension from drinking a weak and milky cup of tea. It was a very sweet book, but (and I say this as a vegetarian) I generally prefer a little more meat to my mysteries.
A really sweet read and classified as a cosy mystery, but I would have to say that it's more a ghost story and romance than a mystery. Certainly not a murder mystery - more of a I wonder what happened all those years ago.
It took me a long time to read - but I was totally immersed in the story - and there are a lot more in this series that I will eventually get around to reading.
You really have to suspend belief when you read this story - the different characters are all very interesting so make a good support team.
I expected a lot more hilarity and absurdity from a premise like this. It started off promisingly enough but then kinda just fell a little flat after a while. Not to mention, the mystery only took off at about the 50-60% mark so it took a *long* time before there was any kind of hook for me to get into the plot at all.
I really expected more input from Aunt Dimity's ghost since the book and series is named after her, but we kinda just get a lot of Lori and Bill and their rather unlikely romance. I wasn't very won over by either of them, which made getting through the book a little tough. The mystery wasn't even really a mystery - just a matter of finding out what was the one great sadness of Aunt Dimity's life, and for no bigger incentive other than that Lori's late mom left a letter asking her to do so just because.
If the mystery wasn't exciting, the resolution is even more indifferent. It simply turns out that Dimity had always thought she had caused the death of Bobby MacLaren, her lover and would-be betrothed because she broke their engagement a day before he went on an ill-fated flight as a pilot in WW2. She thought her betrayal had distracted him enough to cause his death during that flight, and his distraught and resentful brother, Andrew, had written her to tell her as much. As it later turns out, Andrew finds out that Bobby had never lost faith in Dimity all along and had already fashioned a wedding ring to give to her. Andrew withheld the wedding ring from Dimity out of sheer resentment. After Lori finally finds all this out, somehow everything is resolved and both Dimity and Bobby can now enjoy the afterlife together.
Overall, the book was serviceable with some bright moments in the narrative along the way, but it could've done with quicker pacing or a more exciting mystery that starts earlier. My experience of the book was also dampened by the performance of the narrator Teri Linden, who didn't seem to be enjoying the book either.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I love this! This is like a kids book for adults! I don't mean a kids book as in the picture books for 5 year olds or the middle grade reads that kids are devouring today such as Captain Under pants. I am talking about Winnie the Pooh, Beezus and Ramona, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and Paddington Bear. All those wonderful stories that have enthralled children for years and will continue to do so for years to come. These are the children's books I plan on keeping forever and as soon as I can find and buy her books I think Aunt Dimity will join them.
The amazing whimsicalness in thid story is beautiful, but it is also deep and covers Important life choices and thoughts.
I think this is the first time I've ever jumped into a series with such gusto in a long time and I can't wait to continue reading.
Lori Shepard is shocked when she finds out that Aunt Dimity died. Mostly because she thought she was a fictional character her mom made him to tell her bed time stories. Not only is she real but she has left her a task to complete and then she will receive $10,000. Lori could really use the money so off she goes to Merry Old England to stay in Aunt Dimity's cottage. With her is Bill Willis the son of her Aunt Dimity's lawyer to help her with the task. But once at the cottage strange things start to happen. Could it be Aunt Dimity?
I really enjoyed this book it was a quick fun read. And although it is the first book in a series it does not leave you hanging and wraps up all the strings very nicely.
When Lori was a child, her mother told her bedtime stories about Aunt Dimity. Lori thought she was a fictional character until she received notice that she had received an inheritance from Aunt Dimity. Accompanied by the younger lawyer in the firm Willis & Willis, Lori journeys to Aunt Dimity's cottage in the Cotswolds. This is a cute story with a cozy mystery, a light romance, some improbable events, and a friendly ghost (no, not Casper). It was a nice change of pace after reading some heavy books lately. So brew a pot of tea and enjoy a trip to the English countryside.
This was sweet, but not the mystery novel I was expecting. It's more a romance and a ghost story than a mystery (and there is no murder, if you require that in a cozy mystery). I wasn't very fond of Lori, who is kind of a pill the whole time, nor of Bill, who was rather annoying and too quickly spotted as the intended love interest, but Aunt Dimity was a great character and the letter-writing friendship she had with Lori's mother was the absolute best thing.
My dear IRL friend, doyenne of cozy mysteries, recommended this series to me, and it was just as sweet and comforting as she said. Literally the equivalent of chamomile tea. A cozy mystery without a murder! God bless us, every one.
Lori gets all the wish fulfillment in this book, and it's such a wholesome, magical journey that I loved every step of it. I have spent a lot of my time this week thinking about American chattel slavery and I thoroughly needed this uplift. Plus, I started it outdoors on a rare sunny March day, and finished it indoors on a normal, rainy March day. The coziness in the book matched the coziness of the reading experience, which was quite fun.
Recommended to cozy mystery lovers who want a really light cozy mystery without a murder. As the plot resolved at the end, I realized it felt like Kate Morton lite in some ways, which is a compliment. If you're worried about the ghost thing, it's not a gothic haunting or anything like that. Just a benign background ghost, like the house in Encanto but even more in the background. I'm not racing to keep up with the series at this point, but might track down the rest of them at some point. In the meantime, Aunt Dimity's Death has a place on my bookshelf...once I find a copy with a tolerable cover.
This series is more romance than mystery I think - quiet explorations and adventures which lead to happy endings. I'm going to go on to read the second one, but I flipped to the end of this one because the romance involved
I picked this up on the recommendation of a friend, who referred to it as a “cozy mystery.” I don't know if that is an actual genre, but if so, this book is certainly its poster child. Cups of tea and fluffy slippers abound, and that really is a stuffed pink rabbit you see on the cover. His name is Reginald, and he is a character. And our protagonist, who, of course, starts out being prickly and studiously non-domestic, ends up just as warm and cuddly as her stuffed bunny and provides us, on the last page, with a (really tempting) recipe for oatmeal cookies. So. Yeah. Cozy.
Now, having confirmed the “cozy” part, I will quibble a little with the “mystery” part of the appellation. Technically, I suppose, there is a mystery, but it isn't really very mysterious. I'm not a mystery reader, and I'd figured out how things would be resolved well before I hit the halfway mark. What this really is is a romance, and even there the obstacles to our lovers' happy union are very minimal. He is utterly devoted from the get-go, and perfect in every way (Atherton makes him adorably unathletic, as if this makes him believable), and our heroine, who is well educated, pretty, and a size eight (I don't recall ever being provided with a character's clothing size before), has only to overcome some minimal trust and self-confidence issues, and true love and a delightful, jet-setting life are hers. Because “cozy” here means tea, crumpets, and Rolls Royces. Our characters have mansions, servants of Jeeves-like attentiveness, and just generally spend money like crazy. And, since our heroine is in straitened circumstances at the beginning of the book, she can marvel at length over all the lovely expensive things in her new situation. (Early on I felt like I was reading the cozy mystery version of “Pretty Woman,” but that aspect did ease up, thank goodness.) For all I know it is typical of the genre, but I'm just not used to so many descriptions of what people are wearing, and I found it a little tiresome.
Still, complaints aside, this was a quick, “fluffy” read, and by the end I really was feeling the cozy thing. Our hero is like a big, absurdly friendly puppy, and even though our heroine is a little self-absorbed and immature for a thirty year old, she has magically enhanced baking skills and is a spiffy dresser, and if the hero is willing to put up with her moodiness, who are we to argue?
Absolutely incredulous premise but a delightful read nonetheless, especially if you suspend your disbelief. The prose is expressive and unpretentious, flowing like a light bubbly drink. Not champagne certainly but maybe a Breezer or a Cooler. And although not much is going on in the plot, I liked the characters and the descriptions. The novel’s low-key blend of a ghost story, a love story, and a bit of mystery was sweet, funny, and cozy. Besides the premise, what I found hard to believe in this book were the lawyers. They are too nice – everyone’s dream-lawyers – but on the other hand, I don’t believe in ghosts either. If I’m willing to accept a friendly ghost, why not the charming lawyers? They’re just as fictional. One thing puzzled me about this book though – I mean the physical book, not the story. This book lacks the credits page. You know the page that usually comes right after the title page, with all the publisher’s information and the copyright and the year of publication. This book doesn’t have such a page. Neither the publisher's info nor the year of publication are mentioned anywhere inside the book. Only the dust cover has the publisher’s name: Viking. By contrast, the writer’s name is on every page in the header, except the title page, which only contains the title. Then comes an empty page, and then the novel starts. I think this book was from a defective print run, or maybe it was a single defective copy and it wasn’t supposed to end up in a library, but for some reason it did. I wonder if a collector would want such a copy. Its lack of information is almost as incredible as the ghost and the lawyers.