Monday, February 2, 2009

The Aunt Dimity Books by Nancy Atherton

These were recommended to my sister as books that someone who likes Mitford would enjoy, and she passed that on to me.

I've been reading these for the last week. I find them soothing and enjoy the formula. The village has an interesting scattering of people, Lori is an engaging character, one can't help but like Reginald (He's a stuffed bunny. Of course he's lovable), and there's enough going on to keep stuff interesting, though Lori might want to skip almost-falling for the nearest handsome man for a book or two sometime soon.

I do confess to wondering why they are shelved in the mystery section. Generally, the Big Mystery turns out to be that there is no mystery, and everyone needs to take a deep breath and settle down for a while. Soothing, but not really mysterious.

That is, up til Aunt Dimity Beats Death, where we're suddenly in the middle of a full-blown Gothic, complete with haunted castle and ghostly possession. After which, things go back to normal for Aunt Dimity: Detective. It's a bit startling and between that and Aunt Dimity and the Duke (the only book so far that doesn't feature Lori), I suspect Atherton planned to have Dimity serve as a background star and linking element to a wider variety of books rather than having her share the limelight with Lori.

We'll see what's on the shelves next time I visit the library.

As for the Mitford basis of the recommendation: Yes, there is enough similarity to make the comment valid. The Mitford books, though, have a bit more substance to them and tend to have more variety in plot. Aunt Dimity is for a one-time, light read. I can see reading Mitford more than once.

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