Herald of Death

Written by Kate Kingsbury
Review by Monica E. Spence

Someone is murdering the villagers of Badger’s End. The killer has taken a lock of hair from each victim and left a gold Christmas angel sticker on the corpse. Over her husband’s objections, Cecily Sinclair Baxter, the manager of the Pennyfoot Hotel, has been asked by the local constabulary to assist in the investigation. Bodies are piling up, and Cecily’s biggest concern is that it may impact on the holiday reservations for the hotel.

Billed as a Special Pennyfoot Hotel Mystery, I expected to be a welcomed stranger in a well-established world. Unfortunately, the author seems to have forgotten those of us who had not read her stories. I had no idea what time period the story was set in until I checked the author’s website. (It turned out it is an Edwardian setting.) There was little or no description of the hotel or the characters. She gives great emphasis on introducing what seem to be “familiar” characters, but again little help in visualization. Perhaps, if I had read the prior novels, this book would have been like a homecoming – one filled with warmth and friends. Instead, I felt left in the cold on the doorstep.