MURDER AT BLACKWATER BEND by Clara McKenns
The Second Stella and Lyndy Mystery
Wealthy American Stella Kendrick is charming almost everyone in Hampshire, from the serving classes to much of the aristocracy, including her fiance, the Viscount of Lyndhurst. The most notable exception is her mother-in-law to be, who finds fault with everything Stella does. Delighted to spend time together, Lyndy decides to teach Stella to fish, but instead of a trout, Stella lands a dead body! Plenty of people had reason to dislike Lord Fairbrother, but when Stella's new friend, the village snake catcher, becomes a prime suspect she decides to do all she can to unearth the real killer. After all, assisting the police in their enquiries is easier than dealing with a vicious widow, a suspicious reporter, and an upcoming wedding, which Lyndy's mother seems desperate to cancel.
MURDER AT BLACKWATER BEND is a story about being true to yourself and the importance of open communication and standing up for your friends. It's about truth versus seeing what we want to see. It's about fitting in, while not always conforming.
I am so happy that Stella and Lyndy have realized that, despite being an arranged marriage, they are eminently suited for each other and are truly falling in love! The characters here are vividly drawn. Stella is a true dynamo and I love her passion for her animals and friends. Lyndy's father and his paleontologist friend bring joy and the excitement of discovery while Inspector Brown shows the benefits of hard work and open mindedness. Lady Atherly and Lady Philippa, on the other hand, are vile in their behavior...and Stella's father is almost as bad as an abusive blowhard of a bully.
MURDER AT BLACKWATER BEND is a compelling historical mystery that looks at Edwardian social mores as it details a well plotted murder. It's also a jolly good tale that drew me in and got me emotionally engaged. I look forward to Stella and Lyndy's next adventure as well as their wedding that will hopefully rid us of Mr. Kendrick and his boorish behavior.