A Manor House Mystery, No. 1
Berkley Prime Crime - Feb.  2001
ISBN: 0425178560 - Paperback
Historical / Cozy -  WWII

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks, MyShelf.com
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Kate Kingsbury, widely known for her Pennyfoot Mystery series, and Berkley Prime Crime, known for it’s wide variety of successfully published mysteries, are together again, and the result is an exciting new mystery series. As in her last series, Ms. Kingsbury’s new series is considered a cozy, and, in some corners, a historical mystery as well. A Bicycle Built for Murder is the first in the series.

The Manor House seaside village is called Sitting Marsh. It’s World War II, a time of bombing, blackouts, rationing, and American soldiers on British soil. The main character Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton is thirty-one and divorced. She inherited a Jacobean mansion, cottages, and vast acres after her parents were killed. She cares for her tenants beyond what is expected and proves it when a mother asks her to investigate the disappearance of her wayward daughter. When a disappearance turns to murder, Lady Elizabeth, with the approval of the local law, takes on the formidable task of listing suspects and clues to find out what happened to sixteen-year-old Beryl Pierce. After adding amateur sleuth to her list of obligations, Lady Elizabeth discovers she can add Hostess as well when a handsome major arrives to tell her American officers will be moving into her manor. 

A Bicycle Built for Murder is expertly written.. The mystery stays in the front position with character introductions and long-term secondary plots blending in. The historical details and dialogue add to the intrigue. The main secondary characters are the manor house staff, Violet, Martin, and Polly. They provide some light moments in the mystery, and if first impressions are anything to go by, I can honestly say they will effectively help to carry the series. A Bicycle Built for Murder is an engaging read of murder and mayhem that takes place in a time far from forgotten. I highly recommend it.

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