Grace Against the Clock (A Manor House Mystery)
by Julie Hyzy
Cover Artist: Kimberly Schamber
Review by Verna Suit
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425259672
Date: 01 July 2014 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
As part of her duties as manager and curator of Marshfield Manor, Grace Wheaton helps to host a fundraiser on the Marshfield premises to benefit restoration of the town's historic clock. The man who was to be the emcee falls dead, creating a 'locked room' mystery that Grace feels compelled to solve. In the process, she uncovers still more of Marshfield's inexplicable secrets.
Grace also discovers secrets of her own house. Her half-cousin, Hillary, is overseeing the house's renovation and delights in publicizing newly-discovered historic details, incidentally giving publicity to her fledgling renovation business. As a result, Grace's house is visited by a parade of strangers, and maybe the murderer.
I became a Hyzy fan with the author's White House series featuring head chef Ollie Paras. I'm enjoying this new series also, partly because it shares many characteristics with the first. Both series are set in historic residences. Like Ollie, Grace is a capable boss who's clearly in charge when on the job, but more hesitant when it comes to her love life. She's a bit old fashioned, actually, and tries hard to be professional and diplomatic. She benefits from having as foils her gossipy assistant Frances and two gay wineshop-owning roommates.
Grace Against the Clock is a light, enjoyable read. Happily, the title actually refers to a key part of the story rather than just being a cute pun.