Berkley, Jun 7 2011, $7.99
Part manor house and part museum, Marshfield Manor is a tourist attraction that brings in millions of dollars to the town. Grace Wheaton is in charge of the building and frequently is called to defuse fights between guests. One of the guests Zachery sets his eyes on David Embers and attacks him thinking he is his brother Jack who he believes killed his baby brother for stalking a Kincaide sister.
When the brawl ends, each walks away hurt but breathing. Jack, who has tried to date Grace, tells her the entire story; she believes he is innocent. Her belief is shattered when Zachery is found murdered in a field near where Civil War re-enactors have set up camp. The police look at Jack as the prime suspect just like they did years ago when Zachery’s brother was murdered. Considering what she knows about Jack, she decides he did not kill either Kincaide. As such she decides to investigate the two related homicides, but what she concludes is so horrific she cannot believe her assertion; even the police have trouble dealing with Grace’s belief when she explains it to them. Tthe killer remains free to harm more people.
The second Manor of Murder Mystery (see Grace Under Pressure) is a family drama as much as a murder mystery; as the two deaths link two bitter clans. Readers will agree with the heroine that selecting the culprit is difficult because both families consist of damaged people never fully moving passed thirteen years ago only to feel an eerie déjà vu. After a brief doubt, Grace knows in her soul that Jack is innocent of both horrible crimes, but proving it by fining the culprit seems just out of reach. Julie Hyzy provides an engaging complex amateur sleuth enhanced by a strong cast of suspects.