Book Review: Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver

Murder at the Brightwell
Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Publisher:  Minotaur Books

Summary:   Amory Ames is a wealthy young woman who regrets her marriage to her notoriously charming playboy husband, Milo. Looking for a change, she accepts a request for help from her former fiancΓ©, Gil Trent, not knowing that she’ll soon become embroiled in a murder investigation that will test not only her friendship with Gil, but will upset the status quo with her husband.

Amory accompanies Gil to the Brightwell Hotel in an attempt to circumvent the marriage of his sister, Emmeline, to Rupert Howe, a disreputable ladies’ man. Amory sees in the situation a grim reflection of her own floundering marriage. There is more than her happiness at stake, however, when Rupert is murdered and Gil is arrested for the crime. Amory is determined to prove his innocence and find the real killer, despite attempted dissuasion from the disapproving police inspector on the case. Matters are further complicated by Milo’s unexpected arrival, and the two form an uneasy alliance as Amory enlists his reluctant aid in clearing Gil’s name. As the stakes grow higher and the line between friend and foe becomes less clear, Amory must decide where her heart lies and catch the killer before she, too, becomes a victim. 

I stayed up late to finish this one and it was worth the day of tired. 4 stars. I've said it before but I'll say it again, I don't need one more series to keep up with but I had this on my TBR pile for a bit and was in the mood for a mystery. Now I'm hooked. Amory Ames is going through some marital issues with her erstwhile, much talked of in the tabloids husband, Milo Ames. Five years in and she's regretting having passed on steady and reliable Gil for exciting and startlingly handsome Milo. So what's a woman to do when on the morning Milo returns from Monte Carlo to their estate, Gil pops in to ask Amory for a favor that has to be handled at the Brightwell seaside resort hotel? One goes without a word to the husband, of course. So begins a week that will bring together a cadre of bored, monied acquaintances where one of them winds up dead, suspects are named, one is arrested and Amory is on the case (mostly for Gil's exoneration). Oh and Amory has the unwanted, unexpected, stake-claiming & cock-blocking arrival of Milo, to deal with as he moved promptly into her hotel suite (I'm still not sure he told the truth about Veronica being in his suite).

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I was Team Milo all the way as he was positively delightful and completely unflappable. And as frustrating as it was to read Amory recount over and over how much he didn't care & was just there to be an annoyance, I knew he was up to something else. Amory jumps to the conclusion I thought she would while the story unfolds and annoyed me a bit but I kept rooting for her to see all the answers in front of her.

With the mystery, it came together neatly and I didn't figure out who it was before the reveal. I was dying to know what was in Laurel's letters to Amory and it frustrated me that it took so long to for Amory to read them as they did have pertinent information within. Amory had some hits and some misses in her investigation but this was her first time out. Milo was a good companion to investigate with and he was put to very good use. For people who didn't know how to much talk or be with one another they did work well together. I was annoyed a bit by Amory's willingness to believe the worst of people she simply disliked & discount valid points regarding those she did, but again, this was her first case. One of my favorite quotes from the book, Milo says to Amory: "Poor darling, you're not coldhearted enough to be a detective. You only want the disagreeable people to be guilty, and I'm afraid you'll find that life isn't like that." In the end, it's not Amory who solves the case but she still had a good sum up scene with the killer.

All in all, this was a good book and I only regret not having read it sooner. I'm looking forward to the next one and will be on the lookout for more from the author.

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