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The Hunt for Sonya Dufrette by R.T. Raichev
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The Hunt for Sonya Dufrette (2006)

by R.T. Raichev

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I don't think words can adequately convey how much I disliked this book. The plot is so-so, but the writing's so stilted that I had to check the copyright page to see if it had been translated from another language. It hadn't, so there is no excuse. It also suffered from major perspective problems: 99% of it was from the main protagonist's point of view, but every so often it shifted disconcertingly and threw the thing out of balance – more so than it was to begin with, that is. And, annoyingly from a plot point of view, the story really only starts to get going after the book ends. One thing it does have going for it, and that's that the protagonist and her admirer are adults – old enough to have grandchildren. I was also rather envious of the lead character's job as the librarian in a London gentleman's club, a job which, if it existed, would have suited me down to the ground. Oh, well. ( )
  phoebesmum | Jul 5, 2009 |
First in a series collectively known as "Country House Crime, The Hunt for Sonya Dufrette begins with the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1981. It is this event which has brought several people to a house party to watch the nuptials on television. The home is owned by a couple named the Mortlocks; among the guests was a little girl named Sonya Dufrette, a child with autism. Sonya disappeared while everyone was watching the celebration, and everyone thought she drowned in the nearby river. Now, 20 years later one of the other guests sees someone who reminds her of that day. Antonia Darcy, a writer and currently a librarian at a military club, gets it into her head to investigate Sonya's disappearance after all this time, and she finds a partner in Major Hugh Payne. Antonia has her reasons, and one of them is that she had carried a bit of guilt for what happened over the years because she had first brought Sonya to the river to play at that house party. But trying to solve a mystery after 20 years? Not always that easy.

As first novels in mystery series go, this wasn't bad, and I do so love an English country house murder mystery. Many of the characters were a bit flat, although I must say I did like the main character, Antonia, who has an invisible voice in her head she names Miss Pettigrew. Antonia also has a very vivid imagination, but often not much common sense. The action wasn't very active, but again, it's a first in a series and hopefully the rest of the novels pick up the pace a bit. We'll see, as I do plan to read at least the next one, The Death of Corinne.

This may be something cozy readers would like, although there are no cutesy gimmicks here. Hard-core mystery readers like myself may find it a bit tame and a bit slow. However, it was a decent read and I was captivated for a while.

Overall...I'd label it "not too bad." ( )
  bcquinnsmom | May 6, 2009 |
A "possible" murder mystery. I like the main character and the set up--she's a librarian in an English Officer's club. I'd read this author again. ( )
  krsball | Mar 22, 2007 |
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A death that is yet to take place but is believed to have happened some twenty years earlier?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786717866, Paperback)

On the day of the ‘Royal Wedding’ in July 1981 at a house party on the banks of the Thames, a little girl wanders off on her own. Her doll is found floating in the river, but of the girl herself there is no sign. Twenty years on and Antonia Darcy, divorcee and assistant librarian at the Military and Naval Club, still puzzles over the disappearance of Sonya Dufrette and the strange behavior of the awful Lawrence Dufrette, his exotic wife Lena, and intelligent and charming Lady Mortlock — not to mention the strange absence of the nanny. Ably assisted by her new admirer, Major Payne, Mrs. Darcy embarks on the first adventure in a new series of ingeniously plotted whodunits set against the background of country house life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:08 -0400)

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"On the day of the royal wedding in July 1981, at a house party on the banks of the Thames, a little girl goes missing. Twenty years on, and Antonia Darcy still puzzles over the disappearance of Sonya Dufrette."

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