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Here comes Dorothy; amiable, resourceful village sleuth
on 27 March 1998
Now then, put on your most comfortable lounging clothes, settle into your favorite oversized chair and make sure sustenance is nearby - tea and cookies would be appropriate. Get ready to let a delightful, middle-aged mystery-solving lady take you to her picturesque cathedral town in rural England. As the tale begins, our heroine just happens to be passing by the Town Hall at the right moment to be in on the discovery of a body. And she is off and running.
This second Dorothy Martin mystery makes it certain-sure that we have a genuine addition to the best in this particular genre. Dorothy is a believable and well-rounded village sleuth whose trademark is her collection of very noteworthy hats - she never goes without one. Recently widowed, she is a voluntary transplant to England, anxious to embrace all that is truly English - from her chosen home (an historical landmark that she is obligated to maintain in its original appearance) to her traditional English garden, the cultivation of which she finally turns over to a local expert, discovering as so many of us do that her gardening thumb is more grimy than green!
She has the insight into human nature that puts her in the category of Jane Marple. Dorothy says to Alan, "When you're as old as I am, feelings about people are perfectly legitimate evidence in themselves. They're always based on experience." She has the warm, sensitive and caring nature reminiscent of Jessica Fletcher. Alan points out to her, "You have a greater capacity for worrying about people you don't even care for than anyone else I know." And she has a gentle, self-deprecating sense of humor that charms us.
Dorothy is a skilled and resourceful snoop who carefully organizes her thinking onto pieces of paper in a manner suggesting a professional. As she makes her way about the village (not a simple matter in a land where everyone drives on the "wrong" side of the road!), investigating everyone and everything that might bear on the mystery! of the body in Town Hall, we become better acquainted with this witty, intelligent and perceptive lady. When a second murder is committed and it becomes obvious that Dorothy herself could be in danger, tensions mount and Dorothy must redouble her own efforts to solve the crime.
Sherebury has become so real to me while reading this book, as has Dorothy and her village friends, that it is surprising to remember that this is fiction. I hope Dorothy is here to stay. I can't wait for more.