Book Review (and a Giveaway!): A Legacy of Murder by Connie Berry

Posted November 6, 2019 by meezcarrie in Connie Berry, contemporary, giveaway, mystery/suspense / 17 Comments

Kate Hamilton Mysteries #2
GENRE: Traditional/British Mystery
PUBLISHER: Crooked Lane Books
RELEASE DATE: October 8, 2019
PAGES: 336

American antique dealer Kate Hamilton’s Christmastime jaunt to a charming English village leads to an investigation of a missing ruby…and a chain of murders.

It’s Christmastime and antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is off to visit her daughter, Christine, in the quaint English village of Long Barston. Christine and her boyfriend, Tristan, work at stately-but-crumbling Finchley Hall. Touring the Elizabethan house and grounds, Kate is intrigued by the docent’s tales of the Finchley Hoard, and the strange deaths surrounding the renowned treasure trove. But next to a small lake, Kate spies the body of a young woman, killed by a garden spade.

Nearly blind Lady Barbara, who lives at Finchley with her loyal butler, Mugg, persuades Kate to take over the murdered woman’s work. Kate finds that a Burmese ruby has vanished from the legendary Blood-Red Ring, replaced by a lesser garnet. Were the theft and the woman’s death connected?

Kate learns that Lady Barbara’s son fled to Venezuela years before, suspected of murdering another young woman. The murder weapon belonged to an old gardener, who becomes the leading suspect. But is Lady Barbara’s son back to kill again? When another body is found, the clues point toward Christine. It’s up to Kate to clear her daughter’s name in Connie Berry’s second Kate Hamilton mystery, a treasure for fans of traditional British mysteries.

Other Books In This Series

Sitting down with a new Kate Hamilton book by Connie Berry is, quite simply, pure delight. These are the kinds of stories I look forward to with barely-suppressed eagerness, the sort of warmly delicious novels one can curl up with and become instantly immersed into. The type of book I will pull out and re-read because I just adore the writing voice, the rich turns of phrases, and the development of the plot. If you haven’t yet read A Dream of Death (one of my fave reads this year), you can read this second book by itself but you will be missing out on that fabulous read and really should just start there 😉

One of the things I loved most about A Dream of Death was the gorgeous writing, and it’s one of my favorite aspects of A Legacy of Murder, too. Sentences like…

“Irregular panes of glass set into tall banks of mullioned windows reflected the light like a patchwork quilt of mirrors.”

“A forest of chimneys pointed toward an ice-blue sky.”

“But our hearts have seasons, and mine was emerging from a long hibernation…”

“Strength is not always physical, I mused, and courage isn’t proved in battle alone.”

…make my reader heart sigh in bookish bliss. Not trying too hard or too needlessly verbose, just a beautiful way of expressing description and insights. Additionally, the construct of the plot in this sophomore novel is even more intricate than in Berry’s debut. Intriguing, multi-layered murders and thefts (some decades old in both cases) share the stage with an authentic look at life, love, and the combination thereof – not to mention well-defined characters, some of whom enhance the story just by being on the page. (I’m looking at you, Ivor!)

Kate’s struggles (in between mystery-solving) in this book are easily relatable, especially for women in the same stage of life, and Kate herself is just as easily liked. She’s smart, witty, warm, and strong – but also honest in her fears and insecurities. And Tom – oh how I love Tom. He’s certainly not without his faults but he’s just such a good guy. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for their relationship in book #3, and I’m excited about all the storyline possibilities (mysteries included) that the author sets the stage for toward the end of this book.

Bottom Line: A Legacy of Murder is well-plotted and engaging, with layered characters and a lovely English village setting. The writing voice (delightfully enhanced by the first person narrative) wraps you in a warm hug, the descriptions and word choices at times nearly poetic as they flow easily off the page. The mysteries keep piling up in this book and I was intrigued by each one. The perfect choice to curl up with this weekend!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book  which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4.5 stars / love it!

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Like her protagonist, Connie Berry was raised in the antiques trade. After teaching theology for twenty-five years, she took up writing mysteries featuring high-end antiques and the legacy of the past. Connie loves history, cute animals, travel with a hint of adventure, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable dog, Millie.

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17 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): A Legacy of Murder by Connie Berry

  1. Ooohhh — I have both this book and the first book on my holds shelf at my library thanks to a recommendation I read by you — somewhere on line. Anyway, I didn’t realize book 2 is a Christmas book — do you think I can read it first? Does it read as a standalone or would there be spoilers? I’m trying to read all my Christmas themed books before the end of November.

    • There are some spoilers as far as relationships – and I think you’ll love book 2 more if you’ve read book 1 – but you can totally read as a stand-alone. And you’ll love this series!!!

  2. Thanks Carrie! I’ll read them in order since they both came in at the same time. I’m not usually fussy about reading series books in order but cozy mysteries are an exception. There’s much to be said for the way setting and characters develop over the course of a series. I’m just being Christmassy impatient. 🙂

  3. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on “A Legacy of Murder” by Connie Berry. Sounds like a great book and one that is on my TBR list. Can’t wait for the opportunity to read it.

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