Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Aunt Dimity and The Lost Prince by Nancy Atherton (Viking)

If, like me, you're an Anglophile as well as a paranomal mystery aficionado, you will love this book. If you're neither of those, you will love this book. Nancy Atherton writes intelligently, honestly, and funnily ( yeah, yeah, I know humourously is the right word !). Her writing style is true and this 18th book in her Aunt Dimity series doesn't fail in any way. Her characters are human, her plots are delicious,and her sense of humour (note the British spelling !) is right on target. She never reaches for credibility on any level. Honestly, this is just the best series!

Aunt Dimity is the one who comes to Lori from the "other side" via writing. Reginald, Lori's stuffed bunny has gifts of his own and even if you don't have a big G (for gullible)  on your forehead, Aunt Dimity is just too wonderful to dismiss just because she's dead.

Lori Shepherd, the fearless, impulsive and oh-so-human sleuth, is an American who lives with her family in the Cotswolds in the charming and gentle town of Finch. Lori has a case of the February blues and snow has canceled school. She is in the house with rambunctious twin 8-year-old boys (wouldn't you know her husband is in Majorca on business?) when her young, energetic neighbor, Bree Prym, shows up at her house, asking for refuge for a week—or more!

Bree is an adventurous kind of girl and the boys love her. Her new spiky, bright red hairdo and announces her personality in no uncertain terms. She's compassionate but brassy and sassy, my kind of woman. Bree has a scheme to visit a nearby museum, Skeaping Mano, well-known for its awful displays of skeletons and shrunken heads. The boys, Will and Rob, will love it. (Lori is relieved to find that this ghastly museum also houses a fine collection of porcelain, silver, jade and woodcuts.)

Lori is upstairs in the museum soaking up art when she sees a young girl, maybe 9 years old, looking at a silver sleigh-shaped salt cellar. The daughter of the cleaning woman, Daisyl is frightfully thin and very different, but delightful. She and Lori have a most mysterious conversation about a Russian prince who is being kept against his will.

The next day, while volunteering at a thrift shop, Lori finds the girl's parka, and in the pocket is the silver sleigh. Lori wants to find Daisy so that she won't be accused of theft.  Oddly enough the museum's curator won't acknowledge the theft, and Daisy and her mother have left abruptly, leaving no forwarding address.

Lori and Bree have to dive right into the middle of this mystery and well, you'll just have to read the book to see what happens. I can assure you that you'll meet interesting people at each step.Their flaws and gifts are funny, if maddening at times, and Atherton's insights into the human character are true. The wise Aunt Dimity supports and guides Lori into acceptance of the quirky.

This is more than a good read. It's super, and there's a lot to learn about life, too.

—Dian Esterly

—FTC Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher.


SandyG265 said...

I'm really glad that Bree returned in this book. I missed some of the regular characters from the village but Lori met plenty of new ones and the story really moves.

Msmstry said...

Thanks for reading the review AND commenting. I was afraid no one would notice it without the book cover. I couldn't get it to load after several tries.

Happy reading!