DEATH IS IN THE AIR by Kate Kingsbury
Berkley Prime Crime - Aug. 2001
ISBN: 0425180948 - Paperback
Historical Cozy Mystery / World War II / British

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks,
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Lady Elizabeth Hartleigh Compton is back in her second Manor House mystery, which takes place during World War II. Readers were first introduced to Lady Elizabeth, her manor house staff, and most of the villagers in A Bicycle Built for Murder. In this one, we get to know the characters a little better, learn a little more about living in the British countryside during wartime, and how the villagers handle dire situations on their own.

Since Lady Elizabeth inherited her parent's property, the manor house, the cottages, the village, and High Street where the shops are located, she has felt a need to carry on the tradition of caring and protecting those who live there. When a German pilot bails from his plane to escape in the woods where a murdered girl is later found, Elizabeth visits constables George and Sid, who have been brought out of retirement, and offers her services. While dealing with an escaped pilot and murder investigation, she also deals with the American officers now living in the East wing, a butler haunted by an unhappy ghost, the announcement of a relative's imminent arrival, a gang of knife-bearing housewives, and conflicts between the American and British soldiers.

Kate Kingsbury a.k.a. Doreen Roberts has a gift for creating a memorable, fictional place where cozy mystery fans can fully immerse themselves and become more familiar with the characters, who, as well as the settings, are vivid and unique in their own original ways. This series, like her last, Pennyfoot Hotel, is light and perfect for an evening of entertainment. There are no spoilers concerning the first in series, but I do recommend you find A Bicycle Built for Murder and start from the beginning; the characters alone are worth the effort.

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