Publication Date: March 8, 2021
Length: 286 pages
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
The setting for this book was not one I was familiar with. Being American I didn't know much about Brighton, England, or why people choose to vacation there. It was a lot of fun to be given a lesson in geography and culture along with a cozy mystery! I love all things water.....sea, ocean, whatever, so this sounds like a place I'd like to visit. Clifford the butler was a great tour guide in this one as he and Ellie work to solve who has murdered her husband.....the one she thought was already dead.
When the story begins, Ellie is taking a much deserved holiday to celebrate her 30th birthday, with her butler Clifford and her bulldog Gladstone. Also tagging along is her cook, Mrs. Trotman, housekeeper Mrs. Butters, and awkward but loveable kitchen maid, Polly. As Ellie and Clifford arrive ahead of the others they are once again thrust into a murder mystery, this time involving Eleanor's husband, Hilary, who was supposed to have died six years earlier under mysterious circumstances. How on earth did she end up at the same hotel at the exact same time his murder occurs? Shocked and confused, she nevertheless sets out determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.
As the clues unfold she and Clifford make a list of suspects. As each one is eliminated and a second mysterious death occurs, they are more bewildered than ever. It seems Hilary was a man of mystery and Ellie feels she hardly knew him at all. The only real clue they have is a wedding photograph with a cryptic message on the back and the stories told to them by the remaining suspects. DCI Hugh Seldon from previous adventures arrives to be of assistance but is limited on resources himself. Ellie must discover who murdered her husband for two reasons it seems: the need to know what happened to him and her growing feelings for Hugh. She will need to resolve one relationship before she can start another.
I really enjoyed this story. It was fast paced as all the Verity Bright books are with the same recurring, adorable characters and the typical shady suspects. I didn't guess the ending and it had a few extra twists that made it fun and didn't really get resolved until the last 30 pages or so. Throughout the story Clifford, Ellie, and the hilarious ladies visit all the Brighton sights and go to the beach in surprise homemade swimsuits. Clifford shows his softer side and even gets caught testing the waters with his trousers rolled up. The author weaves local and historical information into their sightseeing which I really enjoyed and was very informative. You felt as if you'd visited Brighton yourself by the end and if I ever go I will definitely know about some things to see and do along the way.
This is a solid series I will be continuing and is always a nice, uplifting break from more serious books. And the covers are an added bonus....I just love seeing what colorful, cute 1920's style look will grace the next one.