Book Review: Murder at Wedgefield Manor by Erica Ruth Neubauer (2021)

Murder at Wedgefield Manor by Erica Ruth Wunderley is a charming and delightful mystery novel set in the tranquil Essex countryside of England in 1926. The story follows Jane, an American who is spending some time in England with her matchmaking Aunt Millie before they return to America. While Millie catches up with her long-lost daughter Lillian and their host, Lord Hughes, Jane fills her days with reading mystery novels and taking flying lessons. But things take a dangerous turn when Simon Marshall, one of the estate’s mechanics, is killed in a car accident, and it’s revealed that the brake cables were intentionally cut.

The murder of Simon Marshall sets off a chain of events that reveals the dark secrets of Wedgefield Manor’s residents. The house is full of suspects, including visiting relations, secretive servants, and strangers prowling the grounds at night. With the help of the enigmatic Mr. Redvers, who Jane previously met in Egypt, she sets out to uncover the truth behind the murder.

One of the strengths of this book is its setting. The author expertly transports the reader to the English countryside in the 1920s, creating a charming and idyllic backdrop for the murder mystery. The descriptions of the manor, the gardens, and the surrounding countryside are vivid and engaging, making the reader feel like they are right there alongside the characters.

The characters in Murder at Wedgefield Manor are well-drawn and believable. Jane is a smart and resourceful protagonist who is easy to root for. Her aunt Millie is a fun and eccentric character who adds some levity to the story. The other characters in the book, including Lord Hughes, his family, and the estate’s staff, all have their own secrets and motivations, which keeps the reader guessing as to who the murderer might be.

The plot of the book is well-crafted, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. The pacing is just right, with the tension building steadily throughout the book until the exciting conclusion. The mystery is complex enough to keep the reader guessing, but not so convoluted that it becomes confusing.

One of the themes of the book is the role of women in society in the 1920s. Jane is a modern woman who is interested in flying planes and solving mysteries, much to the disapproval of her Aunt Millie. The book touches on the struggles that women faced during this time period, but it doesn’t feel heavy-handed or preachy.

Murder at Wedgefield Manor is a well-crafted and engaging mystery novel that will appeal to fans of the genre. The setting and characters are charming, and the mystery is complex enough to keep the reader guessing until the very end. This is a great book for anyone looking for a cozy mystery with a strong female protagonist and a charming English setting. You can get a copy of this light-hearted romp from Amazon here.


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