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Million Dollar Baby by Amy Patricia Meade
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Million Dollar Baby by Amy Patricia Meade is the first book in the Marjorie McClelland Mysteries. The book is set in Ridgebury, CT during 1935. Marjorie McClelland is a single young woman and is the author of three mysteries (one currently in progress). She is struggling on her current novel when she meets Creighton Richard Ashcroft III. He just purchased Kensington House (biggest house in town). It had been vacant since the stock market crash in 1929 when Henry Van Allen is found dead in the empty swimming pool. It was ruled a suicide.

Creighton is showing Marjorie around the house and grounds when they stumble over a dead body. It turns out to be Victor Bartorelli, the former gardener. Victor has been dead over five years. Police Detective Robert Jameson (of the Hartford County Police) has been assigned the case. Marjorie is convinced that the two murders are related and wants to get in on the investigation. Marjorie convinces Creighton to help her. Since Creighton is attracted to Marjorie and wants to spend more time with her, he does not need much convincing. Marjorie, though, finds Detective Jameson very handsome and wants to get to know him better.

Creighton uses his money and influence for them to be included in the investigation. They duo set out to investigate and start with Mrs. Gloria Van Allen (Henry’s wife). Eventually they uncover blackmail, embezzlement, and the murderer!

Million Dollar Baby sounds like a good mystery book. The mystery is intriguing, but the book is long-winded. They also make Marjorie out to be a little bit too quirky. Her behavior and attitude is constantly changing. She is strong and fearless, then scared witless, then acts confidant, and then she is afraid of going to a society party. It is just too much contradiction. I think the book needed a little more editing. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Mar 6, 2015 |
Marjorie McClelland is a mildly successful mystery novelist trying to make ends meet during the Great Depression. Creighton Ashcroft is a wealthy Englishman who has recently purchased the grandest estate in Marjorie's town. Though they come from two different worlds, Creighton is immediately attracted to the author and offers to help her with her latest book. Marjorie accepts his help, and they soon settle into a daily routine, which is shockingly interrupted by the discovery of a skeleton on Creighton's property. Creighton and Marjorie call the police immediately, but Creighton regrets this action when the extremely handsome lead detective appears on the scene and competes for Marjorie's attention. Can this trio of detectives discover what happened to the dead person? And will Creighton be able to win Marjorie's heart away from his attractive rival?

Being a fan of the classic country house mystery, I was excited to read this book, which is first in a series set in 1930s New England. Unfortunately, I just wasn't impressed by the writing style. The dialogue was awkward and clumsy, and there was too much "showing" rather than "telling." I was also annoyed by the rapid shift in Creighton and Marjorie's relationship; at first, he seems to be merely attracted to her, but about halfway through the book he suddenly feels deep and lasting love. I found the change very abrupt, and I couldn't figure out why he was so interested in her after a few superficial conversations. I do think the setup of the series is interesting and unique -- it's not every day you have three sleuths embroiled in a love triangle while they attempt to solve crimes! However, the execution just wasn't good enough for me to continue with the series.
  christina_reads | Oct 18, 2013 |
I had great fun both in reading Million Dollar Baby by Amy Patricia Meade and in mentally casting this as a 1930’s movie. Written in a light, engaging way this vintage-style book, the first in a series, is a winning combination of mystery, humor and romantic entanglements.

Set in a small Connecticut town, the contrasting main characters of local mystery novelist, Marjorie McClelland and the rich, debonair Englishman, Creighton Ashcroft stumble upon the remains of a body hidden on the grounds of the estate that Creighton has just purchased. This murder seems to tie in with the suicide of the previous owner that occurred five years ago. Deciding to become sleuths, Marjorie and Creighton aid the local police in their investigations.

With high jinks and hilarity Million Dollar Baby carries the reader back to the 1930’s and in both style and vision, one can’t help but see the likes of Cary Grant, Constance Bennett, Lionel Atwell and Gale Sondergaard giving a light hearted twist to the dark times of the 1930’s depression. I am eagerly looking forward to getting my hands on the second book in this series. ( )
3 vote DeltaQueen50 | Jun 17, 2013 |
the first in a series of slightly campy mysteries set in depression-era Connecticut. it was a fun read. ( )
  faither | Sep 6, 2007 |
The year is 1935. When a handsome Creighton Ashcroft II tootles into Ridgebury CT in his 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom II Continental, he increases to one the town’s number of eligible bachelors. In her 20s, single and orphaned, mystery writer Marjorie McClelland, tries to appear uninterested. But Mr. Ashcroft is young, very attractive and wealthy, so when he invites Marjorie to see his new 27-room home, Kensington House, she jumps at the chance. Too bad they come across a skeleton while touring the grounds.

Creighton is dumbfounded when he learns that Kensington House was the site of an infamous suicide. The previous owner, Henry Van Allen, fell to his death from an upstairs window five years earlier. When the skeleton is determined to be the Van Allen’s family gardener, who also died five years earlier, Creighton and Marjorie conclude there is a connection and that what police deemed a suicide could have been murder.

The detective in charge of the case, Robert Jameson of the Hartford County Police, is hesitant, however, to reopen the Van Allen suicide. Seems his predecessor was demoted when he started looking more closely into circumstances of the case. So, the detective, the millionaire and the mystery writer team up to surreptitiously investigate both the suicide and the murder. It appears both men are smitten with young Miss McClelland – and that could – and does -- complicate things.

Marjorie McClelland is not a picture-perfect heroine. She is, at turns, smart and sassy, then silly and naïve. But it’s easy to see why both men – and readers – would be attracted to her. She has a big heart, great energy and, as it turns out, oodles of personal courage. Too-perfect characters can be boring -- something Marjorie will never be.

A tad reminiscent of Jill Churchill’s "Grace and Favor" mysteries, readers of both historical and cozy mysteries will find a lot to like in Million Dollar Baby. The chemistry among the three main characters has sizzle, and their teaming up to solve a crime is actually pretty plausible. The story moved along nicely, with crisp writing, plus I found the resolution particularly satisfying. I, for one, am pleased there’s a second book already in the works. If Ms. Meade can maintain the quality, she’ll be able to keep readers interested for a long time.

By Diana. First published in the Cozy Library August 14, 2006. ( )
  NewsieQ | Aug 18, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0738708607, Paperback)

Successful young writer Marjorie McClelland leads a solitary, comfortable life in the quiet, post-prohibition town of Ridgebury, CT. Her tranquil life is disrupted when Creighton Ashcroft, a British heir with time and money to burn, purchases a deserted mansion with a mysterious history on the outskirts of town. Instantly smitten with the talented and beautiful Marjorie, Creighton craftily arranges an intimate meeting, but the mood is spoiled when they stumble across a body while touring the ample grounds of Creighton's new estate.
With the intention of reaping the story's literary benefits, the two forge an unlikely partnership and research the mansion's sordid past, but they soon find themselves in the middle of an unfolding series of hidden murders and family deceit. On top of this, the handsome detective assigned to the case has caught Marjorie's attention--and Creighton's suspicious eye. The trio must work together to break through a web of deceptively demure townspeople and the discreet upper class to solve the mystery of the mansion's past before becoming victims themselves. Filled with rumor and humor, this historical thriller delights to its captivating close.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:04 -0400)

Successful mystery writer Marjorie McClelland leads a solitary, comfortable life in post-Prohibition Ridgebury, Connecticut-- until Creighton Ashcroft, a British heir, purchases a deserted mansion on the edge of town. He arranges an intimate meeting with Marjorie, but his romantic hopes are dashed when they discover a body while strolling through the garden of his new estate. And the handsome detective assigned to the case catches Marjorie's attention--and Creighton's suspicious eye. Unlocking the mansion's sordid past, the sleuthing trio find themselves caught up in treachery, betrayal, and murder.… (more)

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