Grace Cries Uncle (A Manor House Mystery #6), by Julie Hyzy

Five stars (of five)

The annual return of Grace Wheaton and a Marshfield Manor Mystery always warms my heart. The Manor is abuzz ahead of a prominent antiques convention. Grace has finally agreed to a blood test, which will determine if she and Bennett Marshfield hold any familial connection. While Grace would be blessed to share a bloodline, it is Bennett who has put all his hopes in one vial. After a visit by a sketchy FBI agent, Grace wonders what might be going on in town. After the agent’s body turns up the following day in a neighbour’s yard, the curiosity turns to dismay as Grace becomes embroiled in yet another murder. With investigative leads heating up, Grace’s estranged sister, Liza, turns up and seeks help, never one to shy away from living off the kindness of others. While Grace juggles dealing with a sister she never liked and wondering if the murder could have any connection to her, Bennett remains coy about his plans for the antiques conference, one he has made sure to attend every year in the past. As the mystery surrounding Liza’s appearance turns into a full-scale catastrophe with the arrival of another person from Grace’s past, new layers of drama emerge, all tied to a precious antique. Grace must determine how she will handle her sister, her boss, and the knowledge that both could be wrapped up in a single, larger threat.Oh, and who could forget the DNA results, a revelation that could change everything in the blink of an eye. Hyzy dazzles again with her series, as quick to read as it is pleasurable to digest.

While not as ‘deep’ or widespread as some of the murder books I tend to read, Hyzy’s writing style brings the story to life and allows reader a thoroughly enjoyable tale in a short period of time. The characters are always in top form and the nuances between them makes for an enjoyable piece of fiction. As with her other series, little needs be said to convey her meaning, leaving shorter books that pack the same punch. A great summer or travel read, that will leave the reader begging for more. Luckily, these are annual publications, with the alternate series written in the six month interval. Now if only I can cut my cravings until the dead of winter.

Kudos, Madam Hyzy for another stellar piece of work.