Thursday, April 4, 2019

ARC Review: A Dream of Death by Connie Berry

A Dream of Death
Author: Connie Berry
Series: A Kate Hamilton Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (April 9, 2019)

Description: On a remote Scottish island, American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton wrestles with her own past while sleuthing a brutal killing, staged to recreate a two-hundred-year-old unsolved murder.

Autumn has come and gone on Scotland’s Isle of Glenroth, and the islanders gather for the Tartan Ball, the annual end-of-tourist-season gala. Spirits are high. A recently published novel about island history has brought hordes of tourists to the small Hebridean resort community. On the guest list is American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton. Kate returns reluctantly to the island where her husband died, determined to repair her relationship with his sister, proprietor of the island’s luxe country house hotel, famous for its connection with Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Kate has hardly unpacked when the next morning a body is found, murdered in a reenactment of an infamous unsolved murder described in the novel—and the only clue to the killer’s identity lies in a curiously embellished antique casket. The Scottish police discount the historical connection, but when a much-loved local handyman is arrested, Kate teams up with a vacationing detective inspector from Suffolk, England, to unmask a killer determined to rewrite island history—and Kate’s future.

My Thoughts: American Kate Hamilton finds herself on the Isle of Glenroth in Scotland after an emergency call from her sister-in-law. She hasn't been back since her husband died there three years earlier. She had vowed never to return but her promise to her husband to take care of his sister made her change her mind.

Kate's sister-in-law Elenor has never liked Kate and Kate returned her sentiments. Elenor converted the family home into a luxury hotel and was good at playing lady of the manor and running roughshod over her employees. She gave Kate a novel about the original owner of the house who was murdered along with her maid in the early 1800s. Her husband was found soon after dead from an apparent suicide.

The mystery along with a connection to Bonnie Prince Charlie has made the island a popular tourist destination. A recent novel written by one of the local residents added to the interest in the island. Elenor announced her engagement to the author at her annual Tartan Ball but then was found murdered the next day.

The island it teaming with suspects. No one liked Elenor. Her right hand woman who gave up a good job to help her start the hotel has become disillusioned with her. Descendants of the original owner of the house resent Elenor's presence and dearly want to embellish the memory of their ancestor.

When a inlaid casket is found, and then lost, Kate really wants to know about its place in the story. Though she won't admit to being psychic, Kate has a feeling that the casket has something to do with the larger mystery.

Widowed Kate also begins a new romance with widower Tom Malloy who is the only guest in the hotel. He's a police officer who is resting up after a hard case recently finished and who's checking out his roots in Glenroth. It looks to be a doomed romance with his future in England and hers in Ohio. Besides both are still mourning their lost spouses. But I like that they are going to give their romance a chance.

I liked all the twists and turns of this plot and the wide variety of interesting and suspicious characters. I liked Kate. I liked her relationship with her mother and her loyalty to her husband. I liked her determination to solve the crime - not for the sister-in-law she disliked - but for the mentally challenged man who was her husband's good friend while they were growing up and who has become a suspect in the murder.

Favorite Quote:
"Someone is lying."

"Yes. Someone is lying." He was serious now. "And it isn't a game of Clue. It's a real murder with a real murderer, and until we figure out why Elenor was killed, we can't be certain he or she won't kill again."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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