I finally decided to give Aunt Dimity a try, and checked this out of the library. It is the first two Aunt Dimity novels together: Aunt Dimity's Death, and Aunt Dimity and the Duke. We are introduced to major characters in the world of Aunt Dimity, and introduced to Aunt Dimity herself--but only through letters, stories, and photographs. Aunt Dimity remains a bit of a mystery herself, and I believe all 20 or so novels keep her that way. It's an interesting concept, but it works. Aunt Dimity is a bit of a magical characters, always putting the right people together, working in mysterious ways, and lends a bit of the paranormal to her stories. The mysteries are barely there; I read somewhere that the Aunt Dimity mysteries are "the coziest of the cozies" and I have to agree. These stories beg to be read with a cup of tea, a roaring fire, and a hand knitted blanket.
Aunt Dimity's Death does begin with Lori, a down on her luck woman living in Boston. Her mother recently died, and Lori is alone in the world. She's broke, and at the end of her rope. A letter from a legal firm in Boston requests her presence pronto, and she discovers that all the stories her mom told her when she was a child about Aunt Dimity were actually based on a real Aunt Dimity. She was the best and closest friend of Lori's mom, and Aunt Dimity has died. She's left a request for Lori: travel to England, stay at a cottage in the tiny village of Finch, and write an introduction for a soon to be published compilation of Aunt Dimity stories.
But, there is a bit of a mystery: Aunt Dimity and Lori's mom wrote heaps of letters over the years, and they are all together, waiting for Lori to read through them. Her mom leaves her a personal letter, asking her to solve a mystery concerning Aunt Dimity and a photo taken in the 1940's from an unknown place that was dear to Aunt Dimity. With the help of Bill, a partner in the law firm, she travels to England and begins her tasks. And there she finds some odd things...could Aunt Dimity's spirit haunt the cottage?
Aunt Dimity and the Duke is the second in the series, but is told before we meet Lori and Bill. It is the story of Emma and Derek, who become good friends with Lori and Bill in the first story. This story involves a castle, a local legend, gardening, and the death of a rock star. I enjoyed it just as much as the first story.
What can I say? I'm hooked on this series. I'm happy to say there are around 20 novels, and Nancy Atherton keeps writing more. These are enjoyable, cozy, British, and undeniably gentle mysteries. There is no horrible violence, swearing, or grizzly murders. Perfect for those who just want something fun to read, and full of characters that become friends. I'm going to read every one of these books and that makes me very happy.
Rating: 7/10 for a mystery series that doesn't have much mystery, but enchanted me nonetheless. Lovely cozy British mysteries to take on vacation or read in front of the fire. You'll get the rabbit symbol when you read the first in the series.
This version is available in trade paperback and e book. All of the mysteries are available in mass market paperback, and e book. They are available at your local bookstore and library.