Grace Sees Red (Manor House Mysteries #7), by Julie Hyzy

Eight stars

In her latest adventure from Marshfield Manor, Julie Hyzy brings another murder mystery to light and places sleuthing responsibilities in the capable hands of Grace Wheaton. While touring the Manor one morning, Grace receives a call from her assistant, Frances, who is highly distressed and in need of immediate assistance. Once Grace makes her way to the address Frances offered, it is soon discovered to be an assisted living facility. Frances uses her weekends to visit someone at the facility, her ex-husband, Percy, and has been doing so for many years. The surprises do not end there, as Grace discovers that Percy’s neighbour has died and Frances remains a person of interest in his suspicious death. There is no love loss between Frances and Gus, something she is happy to admit to anyone who will listen. However, Grace will not stand idly by and her her friend be dragged through the mud. Once Frances has retained counsel, Grace commences sleuthing, checking stories and trying to determine what might have happened to Gus. Could he have died naturally or taken matters into his own hands, as there is evidence of a possible insulin injection. Local law enforcement are less than keen to have someone poking around, though Grace does her best not to step on any toes. When the victim’s family arrives to handle the situation, Grace sees new avenues that may work in Frances’ favour. While all this is taking place, Grace handles an issue on the home front when her roommates’ winery is suddenly closed by an overzealous building inspector. She tries to quell disaster there by coming up with a plan that might solve everyone’s concerns, but Frances and her situation are not completely solved. When Frances is formally arrested, Grace knows that she cannot wait any longer and pushes her investigation into high-gear, calling in the assistance of anyone who might be able to help. Will Frances finally have to fess-up for her antics to rid herself of an annoying human, or is someone trying to frame her for the death? All is revealed in true Manor fashion in Hyzy’s latest novel, which is as cute as it is entertaining.

I never tire of a good Hyzy novel, for it allows me to shift into neutral, but also keep my wits about me. The stories are usually not very complicated, but they are layered with interesting characters, great bantering dialogue, and just enough mystery to keep me from figuring it all out in the opening chapters. Added to that, Grace Wheaton and her backstory are always developing, which keeps her from getting stale and allows Hyzy to take readers inside her drama-filled life. Much like the other series Hyzy successfully pens, Grace seems to fall into these mysteries as she denies leading the way towards them. Be that as it may, they are always highly entertaining and leave a cliffhanger at the end just tantalizing enough that the reader will curse having to wait another year. 

Kudos, Madam Hyzy for another hit in the series. One can only hope you have many more ideas, for things are far from going stale with Grace and the rest of the Marshfield gang.