I love Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple series, so I thought I’d check out her Cornish mystery series. Sadly, the first book, Manna from Hades, can’t compare.
It’s the 1960s and Eleanor Trewynn is an elderly widow living Cornwall. Eleanor and her husband spent years traveling the world for the charity LonStar, and after he passed she opened a LonStar charity shop in her hometown. Eleanor enjoys being back in England and living so close to her niece Megan, who was recently promoted to a Detective Sargent with the local police. One morning, Eleanor and the vicar’s wife discover the dead body of a young man in the charity shop. Megan is assigned the case, with help from her former boyfriend at Scotland Yard. Naturally, Eleanor, the vicar’s wife, and a local painter lend a hand.
This was a kind of odd book. It seemed like most of the first half was a character study of Eleanor, not a murder mystery. Yes, there was a dead body and more than a few cops, but it all took a back seat to Eleanor’s thoughts on England, the world, locking doors, charity, and so on. It almost seemed like the author wanted to write about someone she knew and loved, but wasn’t sure how, so she stuck them in a mystery. The second half dealt more with the murder and a jewel heist, which I definitely preferred. Megan is a fabulous character, and I liked Jocelyn, the vicar’s wife, quite a lot. I found Eleanor a little annoying. She could barely look after herself and made some really terrible decisions but acted like she always knew best because she had seen the world. She was weirdly naive.
It was a pleasant enough read but I can’t say I’d recommend it.