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Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall: A…
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Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall: A Mystery

by Hannah Dennison

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Kat is still planning to return to London and resume her life there, but she is reluctant to abandon her mother at Honeychurch. When a new high-speed train is rumored to be coming to the village, displacing homes and disrupting life there, Kat gets involved helping the villagers, almost accidentally. And when the proponent of the train goes missing and is presumed dead, Kat finds herself in the thick of the mystery. Also worrisome are the antics of her nemesis, Trudy, who seems bent on exposing Kat’s mother’s secret identity and her past as well as demeaning Kat’s reputation. Entertaining and interesting, these characters are delightfully enjoyable and amusing, though the plot does tend to wander a bit. ( )
  Maydacat | Oct 29, 2016 |
I forgot how fun a lot of the dialogue in the first book was, so the readability of this one was a nice surprise. It's a light, entertaining read filled with eccentric characters and set in the requisite English village, but I really respected the author for taking a real-world current issue - the controversy of building a high speed train - and incorporating it into the plot, informing the reader without preaching to them.

The mystery itself was interesting if not shocking or complicated. I vacillated between liking the dynamic between the MC and her mother and wanting to smack the both of them for being so childish.

I'll definitely read the third one. ( )
  murderbydeath | Oct 13, 2016 |
I looked for Deadly Desires At Honeychurch Hall after reading and really enjoying Book 1, Murder At Honeychurch Hall. Both these books remind me of the Ellie Haskell series by Dorothy Cannell. There is the same old-fashioned English village with an eccentric cast of characters. Both series are an homage to Agatha Christie: the grand English country house and the quaint village with the stereotypical but appealing locals. Deadly Desires might not be quite as interesting as the first book, mostly because I now know some of the secrets that made Murder At Honeychurch Hall so much fun as they were revealed. I've enjoyed the Honeychurch Hall mysteries so far, and I see that Book 3 will be published in the summer of 2016. ( )
  booksandscones | May 23, 2016 |
I fell in love with the first book in this series, Murder at Honeychurch Hall, and the love affair continues with this, book number two. Author Hannah Dennison must enjoy writing these because a sense of fun shines through on each page. As she stated in a recent tour, every Honeychurch Hall book will feature a real threat to Britain's stately homes, so if you're a reader-- like me-- who enjoys those wonderful, beautiful, old houses, I encourage you to give this series a try.

I also recommend them for the characters Dennison has created. Kat is an extremely likeable, smart, and caring woman who, as a former popular television personality, is still being stalked by the media. She also has a rather batty mother to deal with. Iris has always been a bit of a distant figure in Kat's life, tortured by headaches that would send her to her bedroom for hours at a time. However, Kat has recently learned that Iris was actually in her bedroom writing romance novels all those years, and she's the very popular author Krystalle Storm. Iris is a strange mix of wisdom and innocence. (Too many years hidden away writing bodice rippers?)

In this book Dennison livens up the action with Kat's Uncle Alfred. Between Iris and her brother, Kat may wind up talking to herself... and arguing with her answers. Newcomers Angela Parks and Patty Gully are in the thick of it, too, and they both kept me trying to figure out what they were up to.

The mystery in Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall is a good one that kept my mental gears whirring. I did manage to deduce part of the nefarious doings but had to wait until the reveal to find out whodunnit.

Hannah Dennison's Honeychurch Hall series is an irresistible blend of wit, stately homes, mystery, and wonderful characters. I'm hopelessly hooked, and now I'm reduced to waiting for book number three. ( )
  cathyskye | Jun 13, 2015 |
English stately home setting? Check! Female detective figure? Check! Small-village intrigue? Check!

In theory, _Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall_ should have been right up my alley, since it ticks all the boxes for what I like in a good, escapist cozy mystery. However, I found this book insipid. Maybe it's because I haven't read the earlier installments in Dennison's series, but I found the main character, Kat Stanford, and her mother, Iris, flat at best, and irritating at worst. There's a lot of summarizing of their past escapades here, but I found that more confusing than enlightening. I'm sure it's one of the most difficult tasks facing the writer of a mystery series: how do you fill new readers in on what's happened to these characters before without boring your faithful readers by telling them what they already know? Some writers manage this very deftly, but Dennison does it in a way that's obtrusive and clumsy.

I also found the characterization to be wildly inconsistent. Is Kat attracted to Valentine Prince-Avery, or not? Does she like the policeman Shawn, or not? At one point she notes that her ex-boyfriend David is "pompous," like Shawn, but at the end, she's in Shawn's arms. She's an antique dealer, but she feels "instantly depressed" by the "auction today" banner at another local estate, and can't bring herself to bid on anything. Huh?

There's also just some sloppy writing and editing here. At one point, Shawn and his partner arrive at Iris's cottage to view a crime scene. Iris offers them tea, and Shawn says "We've no time for tea," but only a page later, he's described as going "over to the sink and rins[ing] out his coffee mug." So, I guess he had tea after all?

As long as I'm being nit-picky, there's also this line: "Valentine's meeting Kat here this afternoon, so perhaps you can both fight a duel" (don't duels usually involve two people? Why say "both"?). And also the dangling modifier here: "There were five cars--one being a Rolls-Royce and a stunning barouche."

Really disappointing--I expect better from St. Martin's!

NOTE: I received this booka s a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  rvhatha | May 13, 2015 |
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