As John Cleese of Monty Python's Flying Circus used to say, “And now for something completely different.”
As a change from the Nordic Noir novels featuring police detective Martin Beck by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö and the Gothic goings on in Jane Eyre, I am now reading a gentle mystery: Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton.
Here we have the story of Lori Shepherd who is grieving the death of her mother. She is surprised to discover that the bedtime stories her mother told her concerning the adventures of an Aunt Dimity were actually based on the exploits of a very real Dimity Westwood.
Upon learning that Aunt Dimity was a real person and then sadly of her death, Lori’s own adventures begin.
It turns out that Lori's mother (American) and Dimity Westwood (British) met and became fast friends in London during World War II. Lori’s mother moved back to America after the war yet she and Dimity kept up a 40-year correspondence. It was these letters from Dimity that birthed the bedtime stories.
Without going into too much of the plot, I can tell you that Lori’s experiences include being befriended by members of an old world law firm, taking up temporary residence in a cottage (perhaps haunted) in the Cotswolds, feasting on oatmeal cookies (recipe included), having tea with the elderly Pym sisters, and staying in a suite at a luxurious and historic London hotel.
Oh, and perhaps finding a little romance.
I am only halfway through this 200-page novel and am thoroughly enjoying the author’s lighthearted and descriptive prose. The Mystery revolves around the meaning of a tattered, black-and-white photograph of a misshapen tree and missing photo album pages. So far there haven't been any bloody bodies.
That's a relief!
This book, published in 1992, is the first in a series of now twenty-one Aunt Dimity mysteries. It appears that my library has them all in its ebook collection.
It is a pleasure to be in Aunt Dimity’s world, an “oasis of charm and dignity.” Sometimes that is just where I need to be.