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    Review of AUNT DIMITY TAKES A HOLIDAY by Nancy Atherton (see the Aunt Dimity website)

    Viking, 2003

    When her friend finds that she is a Vicountess and is called to the family estate, American Lori Shepherd agrees to go along. When the friend mentions murder, Lori packs the notebook that allows her to communicate with the ghost of Aunt Dimity, a woman who knows everything about manners, who is who is English nobility, and has helped Lori solve several mysteries in the past.

    On the manner, Lori finds that her friend's fears may not be irrational. Steven, nephew to the Earl, has been getting death threats and is injured when his horse unexpectedly balks at a jump. There certainly are a lot of suspects, including Nell, Lori's friend's daughter who may wish to preserve her father's inheritance, the evil lawyer Gina, who may also have designs on Lori's husband Bill, and a long-forgotten vallet. Using her own energy and Dimity's common sense (Lori seems to tragically lack any of this), Lori uncovers hints of motive, opportunity, and method.

    Author Nancy Atherton (see more reviews of mysteries by Atherton) has created an engaging and multidimensional character in Lori Shepherd. The supernatural element is well integrated and furthers the mystery rather than simply solving it through magical means. I would have liked to see Lori do more solving, however, rather than simply finding an assortment of clues. Lori and Dimity both ended up too much bystanders than key actors in the solution to the mystery.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 4/06/03

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