Saturday, 3 September 2011

Review: Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy (Manor of Murder Mystery #1)

Publisher - Berkley
Publication Date - June 2010
Paperback - 320 pages
Genre - Mystery

Source - Received from Kaye Publicity for review

Rating - 4/5: Really liked it!

Book Info - Everyone wants a piece of millionaire Bennett Marshfield, owner of Marshfield Manor, and letters are coming in daily from those claiming to be poor relations. The elderly, reclusive heir trusts no one but his aged curator, Abe. But when Abe is killed in a case of mistaken identity, the tide changes...

Although shaken by the murder, Grace Wheaton, whose lifelong dream has been to work at the manor, steps up to the challenge of assuming Abe’s job. But now some of the letters arriving for Bennett have taken a nasty turn, demanding millions – or else. When an uninvited stalker shows up at the manor and at Grace’s home, she and handsome groundskeeper Jack Embers must protect their dear old Marshfield. But to do this, they’ll have to investigate a botched Ponzi scheme, some torrid wheaton family secrets – and sour grapes out for revenge...

My Thoughts - I must admit to having mixed feelings towards the main character, Grace. For the most part I did like her and found her to be very capable in her job and a loyal friend with the patience of a saint (there were a few times where I would have given her assistant, Frances, a slap, but Grace always managed to deal with her with incredible composure)! However, there were just a few moments where I couldn’t help thinking that Grace looked down on some of the people around her and felt that she was somehow better than them.  But the fact that Grace isn’t perfect did make her a more believable character in my eyes.

The mystery aspect of the novel was well thought out and well written. I was absolutely certain that I knew who had committed the murder and it wasn’t until the last couple of chapters that I realised I was completely wrong, and it was somebody I hadn’t even considered. I love it when I read a mystery that is able to surprise me like this, as often it can be obvious from early on who the perpetrator is.

I really enjoyed Julie Hyzy’s style of writing. It flowed well and was easy to read, with the author easily switching between the action elements of trying to solve a murder and the beautiful descriptions of Marshfield Manor and its grounds.

Summary -  Overall, it was a very enjoyable read, with suspense, lots of twists, and well-rounded characters.

Other books in the series:
1. Grace Under Pressure
2. Grace Interrupted

Other reviews of this book:
Curling Up by the Fire / Devourer of Books / Ficsation / Jenn's Bookshelves / Lesa's Book Critiques


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