Berkley, Dec 2002, 5.99, 208 pp.
World War II is raging and the residents of the small hamlet of Sitting Marsh are looking to the lady of the manor Lady Elizabeth for guidance during those perilous times. They don't know that the owner of the manor house is cash poor due to her ex-husband's gambling debts. Lady Elizabeth keeps up the appearance of a wealthy titled landowner so she can be a comfort to the villagers and an example of inspiration due to her contributions to the war effort.
She has donated a half-acre of her land to the villagers for a Victory Garden so they can grow fruits and vegetables to add variety to their rationed diets. When her assistant Polly takes over one of the plots of a recently deceased villager, she unearths the body of a man whose face is all smashed up. Feeling responsible for all her tenants, even those deceased, Lady Elizabeth embarks on her own investigation, one that almost gets her killed.
DIG DEEP FOR MURDER is a delightfully refreshing cozy that sheds some light on how the small English towns coped during the war years. The interaction of the heroine with her house staff and some of the more colorful villagers are quite humorous and helps defuse the action when it gets too intense. The mystery is well constructed and the heroine's investigation follows a logical path, which makes for a very believable plot appreciated by the audience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner