The stylish, charming next novel in Ashley Weaver's Edgar-nominated Amory Ames mystery series, set in 1930s England, A Deception at Thornecrest.
"Thornecrest looked beautiful in the evening light. One would never imagine the turmoil that had just occurred within its walls."
Amory Ames is alone at her country house Thornecrest, enjoying her last few weeks of peace and quiet as she prepares for the imminent arrival of her baby. Her husband, Milo, is in London on business, and Amory is content to catch up on her correspondence, organize the nursery, and avoid the well-meaning if rather overbearing company of the ladies in the village as they prepare for the Springtide Festival. But then a woman appears on her doorstep, claiming to be another Mrs. Ames, Milo’s wife.
Amory's marriage has had its ups and downs in the past, but her faith in her husband has been restored, and Milo has been nothing but thrilled about becoming a father. Though the alleged second Mrs. Ames seems earnest, Amory is convinced she must be mistaken, a belief that Milo confirms upon his homecoming. However, when another unexpected visitor arrives at Thornecrest, secret identities and whirlwind romances appear to be becoming par for the course.
It's not until the day of the festival, when Milo's stable hand Bertie is found dead, that the strange characters appearing in town begin to seem more sinister, and Amory is determined to uncover the killer in the crowd.
Set in 1934, Weaver's sprightly seventh outing for Amory Ames (after 2019's A Dangerous Engagement) finds the heavily pregnant Amory at Thornecrest, the Ames family's country home in Kent. One morning, while Amory is applying herself to her correspondence, the butler announces an unexpected visitor: a young woman claiming to be the wife of her husband, Milo, who's away on business. The woman introduces herself as Imogen Prescott, and says she married Milo three months earlier. Amory maintains her aristocratic sangfroid, and assures Imogen that everything will be explained once Milo returns home. No sooner does Milo do so than another unexpected visitor turns up on their doorstep, and it becomes clear how Imogen was deceived. A murder amid the annual village Springtide Festival complicates matters further. The lively give-and-take between Amory and Milo makes up for the minimal sleuthing. Those who enjoy escaping into make-believe English villages in the company of pleasant vicars, mildly eccentric aristocrats, and wily village folk will be satisfied.