Audiobook Review: Murder at the Mansion
Author: Sheila Connolly
Narrator: Emily Durante
Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x
Series: Victorian Village Mysteries #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Tantor Audio
Murder at the Mansion is the first in the new Victorian Village Mysteries. Emily Durante’s narration of Kate’s multiple sleuthing was gripping and fascinating. I really enjoyed this new cozy murder mystery.
Kate, a boutique hotel manager who is satisfied with her life, is the heroine of the novel. Living and working in Baltimore, she lives and breathes her job. When her old best friend from high school comes up to meet her, she thinks it is just for old-times sake. However, Lizbeth is hoping to have Kate return to their small hometown of Asheford. The town is almost bankrupt, the businesses are in need of repairs from a recent storm, and people are starting to think they should to abandon the town. However, Lizbeth thinks that Kate can bring tourism to the town by turning the Victorian Mansion built by a town founder into a tourist attraction.
There is a wrinkle in the plan thought, Kate’s high school nemesis, Cordelia, is on the city council. She has convinced the town to use the funds to purchase the Victorian Mansion. Only after the town spent the majority of their money on the purchase did they find out Cordelia’s selfish motives for the move. In an effort to prevent Cordelia from gutting this pristinely preserved Victorian mansion, Kate is tasked with seeing if there is another option. Once Kate sees the mansion, not only does she want to save it, but thwarting Cordelia will just be the icing on the cake. Unfortunately Cordelia is murdered while Kate is touring the facility with the caretaker. With her job ending due to a foreign take over, Kate is struggles between figuring out what she wants to do, saving Asheford, and finding out who killed Cordelia. However as she works through those issues, she stumbles across a few other town secrets.
I really enjoyed the overall novel. Kate’s bumbling investigation and research was fascinating. I loved her idea of turning the town into a Victorian Destination tourist attraction. With the mansion and the main town as the focal points, I eagerly look forward to seeing how she transforms the town. The history of the mansion and its owner was fascinating and hope the history of the town continues to be uncovered. I can’t help but think (along with Kate) that there are more historical treasures to be found in the mansion. The murder of Cordelia was just another fascinating aspect to the overall plot of the town. It wasn’t completely surprising the culprit, though it took a bit of time to puzzle it out.
Ms. Durante’s narration was entertaining. I enjoyed her characterization of Kate. She is determined, intelligent, but also loyal and compassionate. She’s not a tough chick to barge into conflict nor handle atrocities without blinking an eye. I found that I could relate to Kate and her personality. I eagerly look forward to listening to the next novel in this series narrated by Ms. Durante.
Between the flicker of romance between Kate and the mansion caretaker and the historical mysteries still yet to be uncovered, I look forward to seeing if Kate can transform the town of Asheford. This was a delightful cozy murder mystery and I can’t wait to pick up the next novel in the Victorian Village Mysteries.
Review copy provided by Tantor Audio.
About the Book:
Katherine Hamilton’s goal in high school was to escape from her dead-end hometown of Asheford, Maryland. Fifteen years later she’s got a degree in hospitality management and a great job supervising every aspect of the day-to-day operations of a high-end boutique hotel on the Baltimore waterfront. Then her high school best friend asks her to come talk with the town leaders of Asheford, but she won’t say why. Kate can’t cut her last link to her past, so she agrees to make the short trip across the state to Asheford.
Once Kate arrives, the town council members reveal that their town is on the verge of going bankrupt, and they’ve decided that Kate’s skills and knowledge make her the perfect person to cure all their ills. The town has used its last available funds to buy the huge Victorian mansion just outside of town, hoping to use it to attract some of the tourists who travel to visit the nearby Civil War battle sites. Kate has less-than-fond memories of the mansion, for personal reasons, but to make matters worse, the only person who has presented a possible alternate plan is Cordelia Walker–Kate’s high school nemesis, who had a hand in driving Kate away from Asheford so many years.
But a few days later Kate receives a call from the police–Cordelia has been found dead on the mansion property, and Kate is all-but certain that her name is high on the suspect list. She finds herself juggling the murder investigation and her growing fascination with the magnificent old house that turns out to be full of long-hidden mysteries itself. Kate knows she must clear her name and save her town–before she ends up behind bars.