Book Review: Aunt Dimity’s Death by Nancy Atherton

Posted May 14, 2018 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Aunt Dimity’s Death by Nancy Atherton

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy, Mystery, Cozy
Published by Penguin on 1993
Pages: 244
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Aunt Dimity's Good Deed

First in the Aunt Dimity Mystery cozy paranormal mystery series and revolving around Lori Shepherd, the Cinderella of our tale.

My Take

It’s a quest for Lori with questions that must be answered, an introduction to be written, and the mystery of the traumatic photograph to be solved. Part of her quest is subconscious, with the stories the catalyst that will change Lori’s entire outlook. I still don’t see, however, why Lori thinks her desire to learn about that photograph should turn into a deal-killer. Oy.

The resolution about that photo made me cry.

Atherton uses first person protagonist point-of-view which gives us insight into Lori’s thoughts and feelings, which could be annoying at times. I swear Lori was a porcupine in another life!

I do like the lessons in Aunt Dimity’s Death. Atherton hides them very nicely within the funny “stories” exchanged between Mom and Dimity over the years.

”Take delight in the small things in life.”

Don’t be afraid that things will end — begin and see where it takes you.

It was a different sort of start of the action with Aunt Dimity explaining how Lori never knew she existed. I loved the friendship that continued between Lori’s mom and Dimity. Such a blessing to have a comfort such as their relationship. The decades of correspondence between the two that brings Lori such insight.

I am reading the series backwards, as I had read Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed, 3, first, so it’s easy to see that Atherton is introducing the series characters and providing a thorough grounding in Lori’s mother’s past as well as background on Aunt Dimity. There’s even a background on Reginald, *grin*.

Sigh, I’d like a “fairy godmother” like Aunt Dimity. So, naturally, I love the whole Cinderella thing, but the way in which Lori was treated in the first part of the book was so NOT believable. It’s also why I cut Lori some slack about being such a prickly girl taking offense at every thing. Of course, Bill wasn’t much better. Who the heck did he think he was, making these decisions and purchases?? It made no sense.

The characters are sweet, and LOL, I do enjoy how protective Dimity can be! As for Mom, she sounds amazing. I liked her idea of Chocolate Chip Tuesday!

It’s all quite mild and with a lovely ending — the truth of why that month was necessary for Lori to find her way.

So sit down with a nice hot cuppa tea and some brown bread…

The Story

Divorced, jobless, penniless, it’s an unexpected gift from heaven when Lori receives the missive from a law firm.

All she must do is write an introduction to a book of Aunt Dimity’s stories that will be shared with the world. And find out why that photograph so crushed Dimity.

The Characters

Lori Shepherd is struggling to make ends meet in Boston. Reginald is Lori’s pink flannel rabbit. Beth Shepherd, Mom, was a third and fourth grade teacher in Chicago. Joe is the father who died.

Aunt Dimity “Belle” Westwood isn’t really related. She founded the Westwood Trust which supports charitable institutions in the U.K.

Willis & Willis is…
…a Boston-based law firm entrusted with carrying out Dimity’s will. William Willis, Sr, is the head of the firm. Bill Willis is his son and also a lawyer. He’ll be assigned as Lori’s facilitator. Great-great-uncle Arthur was nuts for astronomy and loved the library at Chatsworth. Some of the law interns include(d) Sandy Walters and, I think, Tom Fletcher. Mrs Franklin and Mr Hudson are two of their most valued clients.

Dr. Stanford J. Finderman is a curator of rare book collections with an opinionated reputation. He’d also been Lori’s boss before she married. Meg Thomson is a friend from Lori’s college days who now lives in Maine; Doug Fleming is her partner in their art gallery. Van Gogh is Meg’s one-eared cat. Father Zherzshinksi at St. Boniface had been her mother’s priest. Trevor Douglas is a purveyor of antique maps. Mrs Frankenburg had been Mom’s downstairs neighbor.


Finch, England, is…
…where Aunt Dimity’s cottage is located and Pouter’s Hill is nearby. Emma (she used to be an IT tech, and now she adores gardening) and Derek Harris (he’s a building contractor specializing in restorations) are neighbors acting as caretakers of the cottage. Ruth and Louise Pym are sock-knitting sisters who have nearly lived forever. Bedelia Farnham, the greengrocer’s wife, had triplets: Amelia, Cecelia, and Cordelia.

The Flamborough Hotel is…
…the Willises’ home base in England, and it was known as the Flamborough Telegraph during World War II. Miss Kingsley is the hotel concierge. Paul is an older gentleman who will be their driver. Archy Gorman had been a bartender there for seventeen years before he opened his own pub. Darcy Pemburton had been a fine cabinetmaker.

The egocentric Dr Evan Fleischer is an “important” person whose ideas and opinions are the only ones worth knowing. Ian Bramble is one of the keepers at the London Zoo.

World War II

Pearl, a friend of Dimity’s, had married an airman, Brian Ripley, who died practically the next day. Leslie Gordon is at Starling House, which helps the newly widowed. Bobby MacLaren was a Scottish airman stationed at Biggin Hill. Andrew MacLaren is his unmarried brother, still living on the MacLaren estate. Mrs Hume is his sharp-eyed housekeeper. Mr Sinclair is to tend the stove.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a pastel blue frame — it makes me think Art Deco. Across the top is a deeper sky blue border within which is a pastel yellow band with the author’s name centered in it in black. Below that is a central graphic (with notched corners) that introduces us to two of the characters: Reginald, the pink flannel bunny and the journal in which Aunt Dimity communicates. It’s a lovely scene within a room with Reginald sitting in a chair at a round table on which sits a clear glass vase of white lilacs, a tea cup, a stack of envelopes, and the open journal with pen hovering. Behind Reginald is a lovely country view out mullioned French doors bordered by deep red drapes tied back with a scalloped valance overhead. Below this is the series information on an angle in script, and it also serves as the first part of the title with the rest in white in a narrow band of sky blue. A pair of fine red lines run vertically on either side of the graphic.

The title is the kick-off for the series, Aunt Dimity’s Death.

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