Monday, May 3, 2010

A Colourful Death-Carola Dunn

A Colourful Death
Carola Dunn
Minotaur, Jun 8 2010, $24.99
ISBN 9780312379469

In 1960s Port Mabyn, Cornwall, Eleanor “Aunt Nell” Trewynn runs the charity shop. The widow lives with Teazle the Westie. Overall she is contented with her life.

Eleanor's artist friend and neighbor Nick Gresham returns from London. He stops at his shop only to be greeted by the horrific destruction of several of his paintings. Outraged by the vandalism, he rejects Eleanor’s idea to call the police as he believes his artistic rival Geoffrey Monmouth slashed his work; Nick goes to confront Geoffrey with Eleanor at his side trying to calm him down. However, the pair is even more deeply stunned to find someone killed Geoffrey in his bungalow. The local police suspect Nick, but Eleanor knows otherwise and obstinately investigates as she ties the slashed paintings to the stabbing death and considers a third artist.

The second Aunt Nell Cornish amateur sleuth mystery (see Manna From Hades) is a terrific 1960s village cozy starring a likable somewhat quirky heroine and a delightful support cast. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Eleanor and Nick arrive at his gallery and never slows down as the cops know the artist has a motive although they are ignoring opportunity even though he was with Aunt Nell when the homicide and the vandalism most likely occurred (only five decades ago and yet forensic science feels like ancient history). Fans will enjoy the heroine’s return engagement as she investigates the murder of a local artist.

Harriet Klausner

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