Sunday, June 24, 2012

Grace Among Thieves by Julie Hyzy

When I read complaints about cozy mysteries and the amateur sleuth getting involved in all the investigations, I think about Julie Hyzy. Yes, her amateur sleuths do get involved, but it's through no fault of their own. And, as in her latest mystery, Grace Among Thieves, Hyzy is more than willing to show that her sleuths are human, fallible, and they make mistakes. It's no wonder that Julie Hyzy is an award-winning author with some of the best cozy mysteries out there. Her series books are just what cozy mysteries should be, filled with likable, flawed characters a reader would like to know, settings we appreciate, and despicable villains. Just perfect.

Grace Among Thieves, the third book in the Manor House mystery, once again features Grace Wheaton, curator and manager of Marshfield Manor, an estate in Emberstowne, a small town in the North Carolina mountains. Along with the Bennett Marshfield, the septuagenarian owner of the manor, she's trying to bring the house up-to-date, increasing security, and bringing in a film team to create a dvd to showcase the estate. When small valuables start to disappear around the house, Grace and Bennett fear it might be his stepdaughter, Hillary, a cloying woman who is trying to win her way into the dvd while urging Bennett to allow her a bigger part in running the estate. But, a surprise phone call from Grace's mentor reveals those thefts could be an indicator of bigger trouble to come.

The trouble isn't quite what Grace expects though. While a tour is going on in the house, one visitor is murdered, and another is shot. Now, Grace has theft, murder, and an appealing recuperating victim on her hands. She's worked with the local police force before, and even Grace's recalcitrant assistant, Frances, admits Grace does a better job finding killers than the police do. That's one reason one of the detectives, Flynn, gets so angry when Grace is involved. This time, Grace's mistakes could lead to tragedy.

What are you looking for when you read a cozy mystery? If you're looking for a cast of characters that include the sleuth, loyal friends, an attractive setting, and a duplicitous villain, you can pick up Grace Among Thieves with confidence that you've found the right book. If you're looking for mature sleuths who still grow and learn from their mistakes, Hyzy is the right author. Grace Wheaton, like Ollie Paras in Hyzy's White House Chef series, is a mature woman in her thirties who juggles a career and a complex personal life. Relationships don't always work out for either woman, but they grow and move on. Readers of cozy mysteries often care about the characters as much as they do about the mysteries themselves. Julie Hyzy successfully combines all the elements cozy readers want in her latest mystery, Grace Among Thieves.

(And, a note. Kudos to the cover illustrator, Kimberly Schamber. If that cover doesn't define a cozy mystery, nothing does.)

Julie Hyzy's website is www.juliehyzy.com

Grace Among Thieves by Julie Hyzy. Berkley Prime Crime. 2012. ISBN 9780425251393 (paperback), 278p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.





6 comments:

Nancy said...

Lesa, I just read this book and wanted it to go on. There are a few tantalizing hints dropped about future books, plus I am speculating about another possible romance that I think Ms. Hyzy has laid the groundwork for. Don't you think possibly Flynn is secretly smitten with Grace? I think the fireworks between those two is gradually settling and when the ashes settle they will fall in love. mark my words, Lesa. Ha, ha, ha!

Julie Hyzy said...

Lesa - what a wonderful review! Thank you, thank you!! My husband and youngest are out right now, but as soon as they get back I'm going to read it aloud to them! You've started my week off with absolute delight!! Thank you!

Lesa said...

Nancy,

I totally agree with you. And, like you, I see Flynn as a possibility in the future. You're right. Lots of fireworks in the previous books. I liked his connection to Bootsie. And, as you saw, I mentioned it was only one reason Flynn was angry. I think there are other reasons, such as his personal concern.

Lesa said...

Julie,

I'm sorry I didn't get it read at the beginning of the month, but I'm glad I started your week off right!

Jane R said...

I really enjoy this series (and I'm a fan of the White House Chef mysteries as well). The reviews of Grace Among Thieves have been outstanding and I can't wait to get my hands on it. Thanks for the stellar review!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Jane. And, thanks for commenting regularly on the blog. I appreciate it. I'm a fan of both series, too. One of my sisters is just starting this book.