Aunt Dimity and the Summer King
by Nancy Atherton
Cover Artist: Tamaye Perry
Review by Gayle Surrette
Viking Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780670026708
Date: 14 April 2015 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
It's been awhile and I always enjoy spending a bit of time catching up with Lori Shepherd and her husband, Bill, and their twin boys, Will and Rob. Turned out I missed a book and Lori and Bill now have a daughter, Elizabeth. The twins call her Bess. I'm so glad I dropped in.
While Lori is much more relaxed than when she had the twins, she's been extremely tired and recovering. Now able to get around and hoping to get back in shape for Bill's father's wedding, she's decided to get some fresh air and exercise. She finds an unused path that looks interesting and, due to an pram accident, she meets the man who owns the property abutting Bill's father's property. She enjoyed the meeting and intends to find out more about him.
Visiting Finch, imagine Lori's surprising in learning that she's gotten out of touch with the local gossip. Several cottages are empty and the village is suffering because of it. Lori decides she'll find out why those cottages are empty and see about finding people to move in. But things are not quite as they seem -- then again, nothing is as it seems in Finch. There's been a big feud with a neighboring town that somehow Lori never learned about.
The real estate office handling the cottages evidently tells all potential renters about the feud and about some of the less appealing aspects of village life. Well those aspects appeal to Lori but could put new people off. She's got to get the real estate agent to dial it back on the local color so those cottages can be rented again.
Somehow, the chance meeting, the ancient feud, and Lori's efforts to learn why those cottages are still empty all come together to make a delightful, fun visit to this lively village with its wonderful selection of characters. Don't know if I'd want to live there full time, but I certainly enjoy visiting each time a new book appears.
Aunt Dimity & the Summer King is the twentieth book in the series. Don't let that put you off. Atherton manages to catch you up on what you missed so you can just sit back and enjoy the adventure. The various threads do come together for Lori (and the reader). This is more a mystery of village life than the usual mystery where you need to find out who did it. This is finding out why things are like this -- and the reason is quite a surprise.