Manna from Hades

Written by Carola Dunn
Review by Gwen Sly

Manna from Hades is the first of three Cornish mystery novels published in the UK in 2013 from the pen of Carola Dunn, author of the Daisy Dalrymple series. The author states in her ‘Notes’ that the series is set in a fictional village world somewhere in the 1960s/70s between her childhood memories of Cornwall and the present reality.

Eleanor Trewynn has returned to her Cornish roots after a long marriage of living overseas with her husband, an employee with the London Save the Starving Council, Lon*Star. Recently widowed and now retired, she has bought a home in the village of Port Mabyn. Using the last of her savings and now existing on a small pension, she has converted her house into a flat for herself upstairs and a shop below to enable her to continue the charity work. Returning from a day of collecting donations she discovers a corpse in the storeroom of the shop. With her niece, Detective Sergeant Megan Pencarrow of the county constabulary, Eleanor assists the police in the solving of the murder. The crime seems to be related to a violent robbery in London, the proceeds of which Aunt Eleanor thought was a particularly generous gift to Lon*Star.

This is an entertaining crime and mystery tale written by an established author. There are strong female characters, including the dog, Teazle, and easily manipulated men. The dialogue is amusing at times. The fictional setting depicts life in an idyllic seaside village. The book, however, struggles to fit into the genre of an historical novel.