Welcome back to Asheboro, Maryland, where real estate can be a matter of life and death. Killer in the Carriage House is the second book in the Victorian Village Mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly.
Coming back to her hometown was never on the agenda for hotelier Katherine Hamilton. But when she’s offered a chance to lead the charge of transforming the landscape into a Victorian village and tourist attraction, Kate can’t quite refuse. The only problem? Nobody in Asheboro has the passion, nor the funds, to get plans off the ground. . .until Kate teams up with handsome historian Joshua Wainwright, who has ambitious ideas of his own involving an old mansion and a treasure-trove of documents that could attract investors and help seal the deal.
Then, just as Kate and Josh seem ready to pull the trigger, a dead body turns up in the town library. Do these mysterious papers spell danger instead of dollars? That’s what Kate intends to find out before all bets are off…and someone else ends up six feet under.
In bestseller Connolly's enjoyable if somewhat rambling sequel to 2018's Murder at the Mansion, former hotel hospitality manager Kate Hamilton draws up a plan to transform the center of Asheboro, Md., her hometown, into a Victorian village. In particular, she wants to restore the Barton mansion, the home of wealthy Henry Barton, who started a shovel factory outside of town after the Civil War. Asheboro's citizens accept her proposal, and she and her new beau, Johns Hopkins professor Josh Wainwright, begin surveying buildings. Meanwhile, Carroll, a library science student, starts sorting through documents in the Barton mansion that haven't been read in more than a hundred years. Shortly before moving the documents to the local library, Kate and Carroll discover the body of a young man in the library. As the police work to identify the victim, Kate and Josh research the source of Barton's wealth, but somebody is prepared to kill to prevent the exposure of old secrets. Realistic characters compensate for the relatively weak plot. Cozy fans will be curious to see what Kate gets up to next.
Second book in series
Killer in the Carriage House is the second book in A Victorian Village Mystery series. It can be read alone for those who are new to this series. Kate Hamilton lost her job when a big conglomerate took over the hotel where she worked. Her friend, Lisbeth Scott asks her to return to Asheboro and come up with a plan to save the dying town. Kate’s idea is to turn the town into a Victorian village after seeing the Henry Barton mansion. However, it will take a massive amount of planning, money and help to pull it off. Money is something that is in short supply after the banker embezzled the town funds. Kate is hoping Henry Barton’s papers will be a help and gets assistance from Josh Wainwright and Carroll Peterson. I like that we are introduced to some of the townspeople like Mayor Skip Bentley, Frances who owns the newspaper, Ted the diner owner, and Mr. MacDonald with his hardware store. Killer in the Carriage House is a slow starter with a sluggish pace. I thought the mystery was light. The dead body is found after I was a quarter of the way through the book and is barely addressed after that point. Identifying the killer is a piece of cake and the resolution was lacking. Kate has great ideas for the town with no idea on how to execute them. She is also a procrastinator. Kate keeps putting off things she needs to accomplish (even going to the grocery store). She should be looking into funding, building codes, talking to towns people and doing research. Instead, Kate devotes her time to the Barton papers. Henry Barton does sound like a fascinating man and I am sure there is more to discover about him. I like the inclusion of Nell Pratt in the story from A Museum Mystery series. A Victorian Village Mystery series is a concept that I think is charming and I enjoyed Murder at the Mansion. Killer in the Carriage House, though, was lacking which is unusual for Sheila Connolly. I am curious to see what Kate and her friends uncover in the next A Victorian Village Mystery.