Berkley, Sept 2003, 5.99, 224 pp.
Even though her parents were killed in the London bombings and her ex-husband absconded with most of her money Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton is determined to look after her tenants and the villagers of Sitting Marsh. As the lady of the Manor, she feels it is her duty to set an example to the people who look her for guidance during the perilous times of WW II.
When one of her new tenants, artist Basel Thorncraft, is murdered she is told that the local constables are not handling the case. There are rumors in the village of a German spy staying in the area waiting for a pick-up by his masters. Elizabeth thinks that the spy killed the artist but there are so many new faces in the village that she doesn't have a clue as to who the perpetrator is. She starts her own investigation, an action that has always put her in danger in previous homicide investigations.
PAINT BY MURDER is a splendid British historical cozy that gives the reader a feel of what life was like in the small English towns during W.W.II. The heroine is always torn between acting like a proper English lady and giving in to the impulses that always get her in dangerous situations. Kate Kingsbury's Manor House mysteries are simply delightful and her latest work is no exception.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner