Dig Deep for Murder
Somewhere on the coast of England during WWII, Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton, divorced heiress of the Manor House of Sitting Marsh, strives to keep up her duties despite the turmoil of the war, her money problems and the disturbing presence of American soldiers billeted at the Manor. Lady Elizabeth is a proud, responsible yet vulnerable woman who tries her best to reconcile the traditions inherited from her parents with the inevitable changes brought about by war. We have here a classic English mystery setting complete with elderly butler, cherished cook/nanny, and quaint villagers. The author manages to make it all feel believable, including Lady Elizabeth’s cession of a portion of her land for a Victory Garden—where, unfortunately, the body of one of her tenants is dug up.
The plot follows the same cozy tradition of an amateur sleuth getting herself brashly in danger and needing to be rescued by her beloved American Major. Some parts of the book – the blackout curtains, the lack of food, the Americans driving on the wrong side of the road, the importance of appearances – tend to be repetitive, and the author doesn’t quite manage to shed her romance writer persona. However, none of this prevents the reader from dashing through this fast, delightful story, fourth in the Manor House mystery series.