The Daily Bongo

Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea

I have been a fan of the Aunt Dimity books, written by Nancy Atherton, since I read the first book in the series. It struck a cord in me that have given the books a special place in my heart. The main character in the books, Lori Shepherd, is a woman in her thirties, who starts out as a lone lore creature with only a beat up pink rabbit for a friend. After her mother's death, Lori finds out that the Aunt Dimity that her mother told her stories of as a child was a real life person who has left Lori a fortune and a cottage in England. Lori travels to England with lawyer, Bill Willis, and finds an enchanted cottage. Reginald, the beat up pink rabbit, becomes resplendently new. Aunt Dimity is a friendly spirit who communicates with Lori via copperplate writing in a journal that appears blank except when Dimity is talking to Lori. Lori finds happiness and love/marriage with Bill Willis. Of course, Lori lives a life of happily ever after that is revisited in the other books of the series. The books are a cozy treat and are just the sort of sweet that one wants to read when one is feeling down or sick. The best things always happen to everyone. No one is ever hurt or murdered, and there is good in every person. Well, almost every person.

The new book in the series, Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue is more of the same, but at the same time a big disappointment. Bill Willis has been receiving death threats for a character nicknamed Abaddon that have extended to his family. The folks at Scotland Yard believe that the time to act is now. Lori and twins, Will and Rob, are taken by helicopter to a safe haven by Sir Percy Pelham. The destination is an island off the Scottish coast called Erinskil. Sir Percy is the laird of the island, and the inhabitants are not a tourist friendly bunch. Hence the island is considered a safe retreat. Lori and the twins settle into Sir Percy's fabulous castle under the guard of Damian and Andrew. Unlike the other books, Lori doesn't flirt with either of the bodyguards. That was always a sore spot with me because if she loved her husband so much, why was she always seconds from leaping into an affair with another guy? Anyway, Lori and Damian come to believe that the islanders are harboring a secret that may have something to do with illicit drug smuggling. How else to explain the renovations to the houses on Erinskil and the lifestyle of the inhabitants?

Syrupy sweetness can be addictive at times, but then there are those occasions when something more substantial is needed. Usually in the Aunt Dimity series, the mystery is on the weak side, but Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea is practically non-existent. We do have the crazy stalker Abaddon who has made threats, but his appearance is only made at the very end of the book. Of the last twenty pages, only four of them have any suspense. In fact, Abaddon was a disappointment because he just appears. It would have been interesting if somehow Ms. Atherton had made Abaddon be one of Sir Percy's minions, but that was not the case. The only theme that is stressed to the point of nausea in the story is to be positive. Think the best of people, and when the best isn't in them, just keep on loving life. We even find that Lori's blood type is B+ (i.e. be positive). The story is a quick read. Expect disappointment that nothing really seems to evolve in the book and the suspense is minimal. I think that my next Aunt Dimity will be a loaner from the library.

March 5, 2006