The Daily Bongo

Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin

Sometimes life really throws you a curve ball. A close friend or relative may be seriously ill or dying. Or it may even be an illness that afflicts you. Whatever it is, you are down in the dumps, and all you want is to get away from the real world. For some people, the way to do that is through "comfort reads". Basically, a comfort read is a book that's quick to read without any gruesome bits. Now some folks may broaden the description by saying that it's a book that they read in a happier time or have fond memories of. Usually when someone is having a bad time, someone on one of the mystery book mailing lists that I subscribe to will recommend an Aunt Dimity book by Nancy Atherton. The books fall in the mystery catagory, but the mystery is of the light sort--there are no bludgeoned bodies to be found. Also, if you are turned off by the dead talking to the living and stuffed animals that have souls, these are not the books for you.

The books start with Aunt Dimity's Death. In this book, we are introduced to the two main characters, Lori Shepherd and Aunt Dimity. When Lori is a child, her mother tells her stories about Aunt Dimity. Lori thinks these are stories that her mother made up for her, and does not realize until after the death of her mother that Aunt Dimity was indeed a real person. Unfortunately, she doesn't find this out until she is tracked down by a lawyer because Lori is the main beneficiary in Aunt Dimity's will. Lori is at a low point in her life (divorced and not in good financial shape) when she receives the news from the Willis and Willis law firm. In order to reap her reward, Lori must go to Aunt Dimity's cottage in Finch, England, and find out what the secret is that Aunt Dimity has. Lori makes the trip with her old, battered, pink stuffed rabbit from her childhood, Reginald, and Bill Willis, the young son of the Willis and Willis law firm. Lori finds a magical journal that allows her to commuinicate with Aunt Dimity, and she also finds love and happiness in a very magical setting.

There are ten books in the Aunt Dimity series, and the latest one is Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin. In the books, Lori settles into the thatched cottage in Finch, marries Bill Willis, has twins, and becomes involved in a slew of minor mysteries. In the lastest book, the twins are now five years old, and Lori is volunteering at a hospital where she visits with patients who aren't getting any visitors. This is how Lori meets Elizabeth Beacham, a cancer patient with only a brother who hasn't visited and no friends to be seen. In a matter of days, the two become fast friends. Then the worst happens. Miss Beacham dies. Lori again is mentioned in the will. Expecting to only find some shabby furniture, she instead finds an apartment full of priceless antiques. Lori also finds herself on a search for Miss Beacham's brother. What happened to him, and will Lori track him down?

The book was actually an entertaining read. I enjoyed it more than some of the others in the series, basically because in this one Lori isn't chasing after the attractive men in the story. It always bothered me that a happily married woman was primping for other men. Maybe that's natural in life, but then this isn't real life. The mystery wasn't a real puzzler, and in fact, it was abit obvious to me why the brother disappeared from his sister's life. You don't read these books though for the puzzling mystery. You read them to spend time with familiar characters and to have a happily ever after ending. This entry in the series does not disappoint. I highly recommend the series to anyone who is looking for an escape into a feel good situation.

May 4, 2005