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The Hunted Hare (The Aidan Mysteries) by Fay…
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The Hunted Hare (The Aidan Mysteries) (edition 2012)

by Fay Sampson

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3119357,052 (3.5)5
Member:JanicsEblen
Title:The Hunted Hare (The Aidan Mysteries)
Authors:Fay Sampson
Info:Monarch Books (2012), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Hunted Hare by Fay Sampson

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Hunted Hare is a classic whodunit in the sense that a character we’ve only just met (who might not be such a nice person) is murdered quite early on in the story, and there is a convenient cast of characters who all have a motive for offing him. It takes place at an under-booked guesthouse in a remote but picturesque part of Wales. Sounds like the perfect formula for a cozy. What makes this book a bit different is that one of the protagonists, Jenny Davison, has terminal cancer. She and her husband, Aidan, and their young daughter are on a final holiday together, and making a pilgrimage of sorts, as their destination, Pennant Melangell, is considered a sacred place that may have healing properties.
The back copy describes the book as first in a series of mysteries about the “’thin’ places of the Celtic world,” but those looking for a hint of fantasy or the supernatural with their murder won’t find it here. Sampson sticks pretty strictly to the historical significance of the area. She portrays its importance to both Pagans and Christians, and the location does provide some of the motivation and the conflict in the story.
Jenny’s illness definitely hangs a sense of melancholy over the book—a whodunit is usually a “fun” murder story, where death is almost beside the point, as characters and reader collect clues and race toward the big reveal at the end. But having a main character who is facing her own death—not dramatic or plot-fueling, but sad and slow and all too familiar for those who have battled a serious illness or lost someone to one—changes the tone of the book somewhat. It humanizes the characters a bit more, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is somewhat unexpected. It makes it a bit more serious. And I am curious to see how Sampson handles the subsequent books in the series—they are called the “Aidan Mysteries,” so presumably Jenny is not going to experience a miraculous remission. It’s an unusual way to start off a series.
The setting is intriguing and well-described, I didn’t guess the solution, and I give Sampson points for stepping off the beaten path a bit; but, for me, there was still something missing here. Maybe Aidan isn’t a compelling enough protagonist, or I was hoping for a hint of the Fair Folk, or maybe the realism of Jenny’s cancer was just too depressing for me in this subgenre. It’s a solid mystery, but just not quite my cup of tea. ( )
  BookNrrrd | Jun 24, 2014 |
With deft movements, Ms. Sampson not only brings the reader into a world rich with imagery and artistry, but into the complex and care-worn family of Aidan, Jenny, and their precocious daughter, Melangell.

Get to know this family as they struggle with the challenges of dealing with terminal cancer and journey with them as they courageously continue to live their lives and are determined to hold onto hope and each other.

These characters were well drawn and relateable, but while I did enjoy each character, for whatever reason, it was Aidan who claimed my heart. A true hero, torn between wanting to protect his family from the horrors that have surrounded them, but able to do little more than hold onto the precious love he has for his wife for just a short while longer.

This is a poignant story. A story that will try to keep you in its own world. A story that will beckon you to read it again after you've finished. ( )
  AmandaWrites | Dec 30, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Jenny Davison is dying. She and her husband want to return to a place that is special to them, a place they named their daughter after, Pennant Melangell. Jenny and Aiden had written a book about the shrine there and Saint Melangell, and the shrine is thought to have healing properties.

There is a new Inn that they stay at, the House of the Hare. It's beautiful, peaceful and all that they wished for. Jenny even takes up an old hobby, archery. All is well, until someone is murdered with an arrow. There are several people who may have had motive, and Jenny may have seen or heard something that may help the police find the killer, but she can't quite remember what it is.

This was a very interesting book, full of local color and historical references. The Davison's are a warm and loving family, facing a terrible personal crisis. They are looking for solace and peace and instead find violence and murder. This book is as much about how this family deals with both of these situations as it is about the mystery itself. The Davison's are people one would like to meet. The characters are believable and complex, and the relationships drive much of the story. The only flaw is that book bogs down a bit when discussing the Pagan vs Christian aspects of the history of the place, but this is a minor distraction.

I very much enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next installment in the series! ( )
  drsyko | Feb 17, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
My ancestors are from Wales, so the subject of this book interested me. The Davisons are returning to St. Melangell -- a place that Aidan and his wife Jenny have previously visited. They even named their daughter Melangell. But this time, Jenny is terminally ill and wanting to visit for maybe one last chance of getting well. Their stay at the new big resort, The Hunted Hare, is not without problems. A murder occurs, and Jenny is briefly a suspect.

I liked the characters and the settings. There was a brief intro to the next book, and therefore you know what happens to Jenny. I do hope the books don't just become another series where the characters are always running into a murder or two each time. ( )
  Angel2649 | Jan 30, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A solid mystery. The Davisons are a truly nice family with a sadness ahead of them since mom, Jenny, has cancer. They come to the House of the Hare to revisit old memories and look for peace. A murder gets in the way of this. I never really understand why Lorna is so beloved by her friends that they will do so much for her. Overall, well-plotted if a little wordy at times. ( )
  bgknighton | Jan 16, 2013 |
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THE BERWYN MOUNTAINS closed in around the narrow lane.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0857212044, Paperback)

The hamlet of Pennant Melangell consists of a church and a few cottages and lies in a mountainous part of North Wales that is so remote that it is, even today, only barely accessible to cars. It is the ancient pilgrimage site for the medieval Saint Melangell and is still visited by those seeking healing.

The Davison family has come to Pennant Melangell seeking spiritual refuge as their family faces the reality of Jenny Davison's terminal cancer. Jenny and Aidan have visited before, but this is the first time they have brought their daughter, seven-year-old Melangell, to the place which inspired her name.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:37 -0400)

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