Paint by Murder
Fifth in the Manor House series, Paint by Murder is set in the south of England during WWII and features an interesting cast of characters, led by Lady Elizabeth Compton, widow and amateur detective. When an artist is found murdered, Lady Elizabeth begins an investigation, spurred by rumours about German spies in the area. There are several subplots, all connected to the main one, involving other village residents as well as a blossoming romance between Lady Elizabeth and an American officer housed at the Manor.
Though part of a series, this book does stand alone and is an enjoyable trip back in time to 1940s England. The author effectively captures the atmosphere of the period, especially the paranoia. Her characters are well-rounded, and the mystery is deftly plotted, though I did guess the identity of the German spy early on. Especially enjoyable was Kingsbury’s setting, which comes to life—I could taste the sea spray in the air, see the winding coast road, and picture the small village with ease. Highly recommended for mystery and history lovers alike.