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Murder at the Brightwell (Thursday Quotables)

MURDER AT THE BRIGHTWELL (Ashley Weaver) Amory Ames is a wealthy young woman who regrets her marriage to her notoriously charming playboy husband, Milo. Looking for a change, she accepts a request for help from her former fiancé, Gil Trent, not knowing that she’ll soon become embroiled in a murder investigation that will test not only her friendship with Gil, but will upset the status quo with her husband.

I pulled open the door, and Gil rushed in before I could say anything. “Amory, I need to speak with you.”

At the sight of Milo lounging in my chair, long legs extended, arms folded on his chest, one of my silk stockings dangling from his hand, Gil stopped short. “Ames,” he said.

Milo smiled pleasantly. “Trent. Fancy meeting you here.”

“I’ve just dropped by to speak to Amory.”

“So I see. Well, don’t let me stop you.” He wave a hand in a magnanimous gesture. “By all means, speak with her.”

“I… had rather thought to speak with  her alone.”

“I expect you did.”

“I have been looking for you all day, Gil,” I said, before they could begin to trade barbs. “I was beginning to be afraid that something dreadful had happen to you. Wherever have you been?”

“That’s what I need to speak you about.” He cast a glance at Milo, then looked back to me, lowering his voice. “It’s rather urgent.”

“We are all ears,” Milo said.

Gil’s jaw tightened, and his reply was directed to me. “I’d rather speak to you alone, Amory. If you don’t mind.”

I turned to my husband. “Milo, perhaps you would give us a moment,” I said. Whatever Gil had to say would not take long, and if he would feel easier in telling it without Milo, then so be it.

“Really,” Milo replied, “I’m not certain I should leave. In fact, I might, under other circumstances, be inclined to ask what exactly a gentleman is doing coming to your room so late at night.”

“I might ask you the same thing,” Gil replied, turning to face Milo. His posture was tense, and there was a decidedly unpleasant look on his face. Though a gentleman in every respect, I was not entirely certain that Gil would be above lending a blow in a tense situation.

Milo appeared unperturbed by the threat of imminent fisticuff. “I have every right to be here. She is my wife, after all.”

“How nice of you to remember at last,” Gil retorted.

“Please,” I interjected. “It’s been a very trying week, and I would appreciate as little additional turmoil as possible.”

Thursday Quotables Meme

I’m not sure what I think about this novel. I did enjoy reading it. It kept my interest throughout. But in the end, I was quite disappointed by the wrap-up.

What I liked the most, and what kept me reading was – more than the mystery – the relationship between Amory and her husband Milo.
The two find themselves in a profound crisis after being married for five years. Milo seems to have lost all interests in his wife and leads a life of amusement alone around the globe. Amory, though still in love, is embittered by his disinterest. When Gil, her former boyfriend, turns up asking her for help, things turn on their head.
The dynamic between Amory and Milo is fantastic, especially thank to Milo, who’s a complex character and one the reader, just like Amory, never know whether to trust. It’s obvious that there is alchemy between the two and that they seem to care about each other in spite of everything, but there is always also mistrust, especially on Amory’s part.
I did want to see them together again, still, when the story ended, a lot of questions remained unanswered, though it may be meant to. This is only the beginning of a series, after all. I enjoyed the evolution of the relationship a lot, but in the end, things seemed to settle a bit too nicely. For me, at least.

The mystery was a total mess. Amory asks questions around, but there never seem to be a strategy to her actions. As a reader, I never saw a design. Everything was very ramdom. And when the revelation came, I found it quite contrived and not really too logical. There were also a few red herring that were quite clumsily executed.
In truth, I found that the mystery was only there to spice up a romance, and the funny thing is that I don’t think the romance needed spicing since it was a lot stronger than the mystery.

The characters are a mixed bag. There are a lot of them, as it’s expected in a mystery, some are more interesting and complex than others. But they never created a community (of characters, I mean). They all seem to act independently from each other. Motives very seldom crossed or integrated. It was all very hazy, and in the end, I couldn’t tell everyone’s role or motive. Always unsatisfactory in a mystery, as far as I’m concerned.

So, it was a good read. I’m not at all sure it was a good mystery.

In post is part of the Thursday Quotables meme. If you want to discover more about this meme and maybe take part in it, head over to Bookshelf Fantasies

MURDER AT THE BRIGHTWELL (Ashley Weaver) The seaside holiday... and the murder might be what it takes to save Amory's marriage


  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted December 12, 2019 at 14:22

    The main characters do sound interesting, Sarah. And of course, the time and place are, too. I know what you mean, though, about the mystery. For me, the plot has to hang together and be believable if I’m to really enjoy a story. Still, I’m glad there were things you liked about this one.

    • Post Author
      Posted December 14, 2019 at 16:39

      It is the same for me. A story has to be strong in its entirety, otherwise I’ll always remember it as a near-miss.

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