Title: Grace Interrupted (A Manor House Mystery #2)
Author: Julie Hyzy
Publisher/Pub. Date: Berkley/April 2011
Summary: Civil war re-enactors have set up camp on the grounds of Marshfield Manor. The group is very believable, especially when the unrest spills out of the barracks and inside the sumptuous mansion. Grace manages to settle a minor squabble, but loses the war when actor Zachary Kincade is found stabbed to death.
Jack Embers, the groundskeeper, falls under suspicion when he’s linked to the death of Zachary’s brother years ago. But there were others out for Zachary, actors who can be very convincing when the coveted role of “General” is on the line. Grace feels responsible for finding the murderer…and for the sweet tuxedo kitten found on her doorstep, Bootsie. Can she come to the rescue of her friends without putting herself in danger’s way
A Few months ago I reviewed the first book in this series. Grace Interrupted picks up shortly after where Grace Under Pressure left off. Marshfield Manor is slowly returning to normal after having been the scene of a gruesome murder and Grace is getting back into the swing of things with her newly acquired position.
The book opens with a bang. There’s an altercation between two women and one of the Civil War reenactors (a group of reenactors is staying on the grounds for a week). It turns out the guy never showed up at their best friend’s wedding. And he was the groom. Whoops.
The following day the man, Zachary Kincade, winds up dead. Two officers introduced in the previous book have returned, along with a woman named Tank. She flew in from Michigan to help bring the department to the 21st century. How this was done, I have no idea. I didn’t like Tank at all. The whole police force, for that matter. Admittedly, the only things I know about how investigations work come from Law & Order, but I had to raise an eyebrow at their conduct.
At one point Grace calls the police station and asks Tank is she could see a police report from nearly fifteen years ago. …and Tank lets her. Little things like this accumulated throughout the novel and eventually it became too much.
Bennett, the owner of Marshfield Manor, is a great character. I looked forward to any scene he was in. Also, at one point he randomly bought this car. How gorgeous is that??
There’s a subplot involving a kitten that I was pretty meh about. Grace comes home from work one day to discover a tiny little kitten sitting there, soaking wet from the storm. She, along with her two roomates, end up falling in love with newly-dubbed Bootsie and would rather not find the owner.
The one thing about this series – as opposed to other cozy mysteries I’ve read (& other series in general) – is that Grace and the obvious Love Interest didn’t immediately get together. Jack Embers is the gardener at Marshfield Manor and although there was that cliche instant connection, it wasn’t until this book that the pair finally went on a date (and that was after a series of setbacks and reschedules).
Jack and his brother Davey were both suspects in the murders (both this new one and the one from years back) and that’s certainly putting a damper on things.
Although this series isn’t spectacular or my favorite, it’s quick and fun and I was able to finish it in a few sittings. Currently, the whole series consists of these two books (Ms. Hyzy has a few other cozy series she’s working on including a White House Chef Mystery series which sounds ridiculous and fabulous), but I look forward to a third book.