Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton is the self appointed guardian of the English village of Sitting Marsh. It's World War II and the villagers are suffering from food shortages and the difficulties of dealing with the many American soldiers inhabiting the base near town. Lady Elizabeth, however, is tackling another mystery. Four American servicemen have died, killed by eating poisonous berries. Even stranger, all of them had red hair and spent the last night of their lives at the local pub. Assisted by Major Earl Monroe, the attractive American she has fallen in love with, Elizabeth uses her local knowledge of the village and her curious nature to uncover the identity of the murderer. This is a clever story with eccentric characters and an detailed look at English small town life.
This report prepared by Tara Roberts
Berkley, April 2004, 5.99, 208
World War II is causing hardship for those left behind especially in the small village of Sitting Marsh where women and men unable too serve have to keep their spirits up as they try to do the work of the men now at the front. Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton of Manor House tries to set a good example helping when she is needed. The offices of the United States Army Air Force are billeted in her home so they can be near the base, but that doesn't sit too well with the villagers.
Even though the Americans are fighting for their country, the people of Sitting Marsh resent their brashness, their flirting with the local women, and the quality of goods they have on the base while the villagers must make do with rationing. Four red haired men on the base have died after eating at the local pub and the authorities believe they were poisoned. Lady Elizabeth finds this intolerable and decides to do her best to flush out the perpetrator.
Kate Kingsbury's manor house mysteries are charming and whimsical historical tales that give the reader an understanding of the hardships and the sorrows of village life during World War II. The heroine is a strong-minded woman who leads by example with action and kindness especially to those less fortunate than herself. The secondary cast is a delightful bunch of eccentrics, who add humor when the plot turns too maudlin.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner