DEATH IS IN THE AIR by Kate Kingsbury
Berkley Prime Crime Mystery – August 2001
ISBN: 0425180948 - Paperback
Historical Mystery / Cozy - England 1942

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde,
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Kate Kingsbury, well-known author of the Pennyfoot Hotel series returns to her latest literary creation the village of Sitting Marsh for the second in her new whodunit series about the wartime sleuthing activities of Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton. Set a mere few days after A Bicycle Built for Murder the US air force officers are ensconced at the Manor and Lady Elizabeth still yearns after the dashing (but married with children) Major Earl Monroe. But more excitement ensues when a German pilot crash-lands and parachutes down – then escapes into the woods. Shortly afterwards a land girl is found dead and everybody automatically thinks that the German is responsible – but Lady Elizabeth wants to dig deeper…

Kingsbury is adept at describing life in a small English village and has obviously done her research to get the ambience right. However, the actual whodunit plot takes a backseat during most of the book and is replaced by romance and scenes from daily life. This made me wonder whether she should have stuck to writing a story about village life during wartime as this is what comes to the fore during the book and stays in the memory afterwards, not the thin and linear murder plot. The characters are coming to life nicely and the whole is entertaining but I do think that Kingsbury really does need to decide what genre she wants this series to fit into.

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