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Murder at Honeychurch Hall

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Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house at Honeychurch Hall, an isolated country estate located several hundred miles from London. Yet it seems that Iris isn’t the only one with surprises at Honeychurch Hall. Behind the cr Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house at Honeychurch Hall, an isolated country estate located several hundred miles from London. Yet it seems that Iris isn’t the only one with surprises at Honeychurch Hall. Behind the crumbling façade, the inhabitants of the stately mansion are a lively group of eccentrics to be sure—both upstairs and downstairs —and they all have more than their fair share of skeletons in the closet. When the nanny goes missing, and Vera, the loyal housekeeper ends up dead in the grotto, suspicions abound. Throw in a feisty, octogenarian countess, a precocious seven year old who is obsessed with the famous fighter pilot called Biggles, and a treasure trove of antiques, and there is more than one motive for murder. As Iris’s past comes back to haunt her, Kat realizes she hardly knows her mother at all. And when the bodies start piling up, it is up to Kat to unravel the tangled truth behind the murders at Honeychurch Hall.


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Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house at Honeychurch Hall, an isolated country estate located several hundred miles from London. Yet it seems that Iris isn’t the only one with surprises at Honeychurch Hall. Behind the cr Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house at Honeychurch Hall, an isolated country estate located several hundred miles from London. Yet it seems that Iris isn’t the only one with surprises at Honeychurch Hall. Behind the crumbling façade, the inhabitants of the stately mansion are a lively group of eccentrics to be sure—both upstairs and downstairs —and they all have more than their fair share of skeletons in the closet. When the nanny goes missing, and Vera, the loyal housekeeper ends up dead in the grotto, suspicions abound. Throw in a feisty, octogenarian countess, a precocious seven year old who is obsessed with the famous fighter pilot called Biggles, and a treasure trove of antiques, and there is more than one motive for murder. As Iris’s past comes back to haunt her, Kat realizes she hardly knows her mother at all. And when the bodies start piling up, it is up to Kat to unravel the tangled truth behind the murders at Honeychurch Hall.

30 review for Murder at Honeychurch Hall

  1. 4 out of 5

    Luca

    Murder at Honeychurch Hall is definitely a guilty pleasure kind of book. It has everything I like in a cozy mystery: picturesque English countryside complete with a magnificent old building and garden; family drama and secrets everywhere! I really liked the characters except David, Kat's boyfriend. Every time he said something I couldn't help but roll my eyes. All in all, I'd recommend this book for everyone who loves a Midsomer Murders or Agatha Raisin like light read set in a small village in th Murder at Honeychurch Hall is definitely a guilty pleasure kind of book. It has everything I like in a cozy mystery: picturesque English countryside complete with a magnificent old building and garden; family drama and secrets everywhere! I really liked the characters except David, Kat's boyfriend. Every time he said something I couldn't help but roll my eyes. All in all, I'd recommend this book for everyone who loves a Midsomer Murders or Agatha Raisin like light read set in a small village in the country. I know I'm looking forward to reading this series!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    I discovered author Hannah Dennison when I read Death at High Tide, the first novel in a new cozy series. I enjoyed the book so much that I really wanted to read more by Dennison without waiting a full year. That is how I came to Murder at Honeychurch Hall, the first in a different series by Dennison, this one featuring ex-television personality-turned-antique dealer Kat Stanford. But, while Death at High Tide’s heroine Evie Mead is surrounded by over-the-top characters, Evie herself is poised, I discovered author Hannah Dennison when I read Death at High Tide, the first novel in a new cozy series. I enjoyed the book so much that I really wanted to read more by Dennison without waiting a full year. That is how I came to Murder at Honeychurch Hall, the first in a different series by Dennison, this one featuring ex-television personality-turned-antique dealer Kat Stanford. But, while Death at High Tide’s heroine Evie Mead is surrounded by over-the-top characters, Evie herself is poised, generous and likeable, no one in Murder at Honeychurch Hall is all that believable — or likeable. Kat wants to take over her recently deceased father’s job of running her mother’s life. Mom Iris Stanford, on the other hand, buys a ramshackle cottage in Devon without consulting anyone. To say that the village she moves to — the ridiculously named Little Dipperton — is inbred is not even an insult; everyone in that village is related to everyone else. It would be a joke if the people weren’t so foolish: a jealous, shoe-obsessed housekeeper; her mean but stupid groundskeeper husband; a cartoon villain of an earl, the earl’s mercurial mother, a dim-witted and none-too-honest constabulary. It just goes on and on. That Kat, who is stupid enough to carry on an affair with a married man, is the best of the lot is saying something. I finished this novel, the first in a series. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t that great, either. Suddenly, waiting a year for the sequel to Death at High Tide doesn’t seem like such a bad option. I may come back for the next in the Honeychurch series; however, it’s more likely that, like Kat, I’ll move on.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dale Harcombe

    Three and a half stars. Kat Stanford has given up her television job as host of Fakes and Treasures. She was excited about her and her mother going into business together In London. That is, until she get a phone call from her widowed mother that doesn’t seem to make any sense. Her mother has bought The Carriage House, part of Honeychurch Hall Estate. The big problem is it is nowhere near London but in Little Dipperton, Devon. Kat sets off to help her mother, who is in a cast having suffered some Three and a half stars. Kat Stanford has given up her television job as host of Fakes and Treasures. She was excited about her and her mother going into business together In London. That is, until she get a phone call from her widowed mother that doesn’t seem to make any sense. Her mother has bought The Carriage House, part of Honeychurch Hall Estate. The big problem is it is nowhere near London but in Little Dipperton, Devon. Kat sets off to help her mother, who is in a cast having suffered some bizarre injuries, and to sort out what exactly is going on. The relationship between Kat and her mother is handled well. Kat finds out she doesn’t know her mother as well as she thought she did and that there are more than a couple of family secrets. As well as a missing person and a murder, there are an assortment of quirky characters and of course one or two nasty characters. The tone is light and there are some very amusing moments. This book is the first in the Honeychurch Hall series and I enjoyed it. It is a good holiday book when you just want something light to read. Fans of the cosy mystery genre should enjoy it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    On the most basic level there's a giant problem when your actual dead body doesn't show up until the 70% mark of the mystery. Beyond that, this was very trite. The main character was terrible; her attitude toward her mother was appalling and her own judgement—especially in her romantic relationship—was extremely questionable. The amount of times "tart" was tossed around had me shaking my head and I hated how much women were pitted against one another. I'm fairly sure I wasn't supposed to activel On the most basic level there's a giant problem when your actual dead body doesn't show up until the 70% mark of the mystery. Beyond that, this was very trite. The main character was terrible; her attitude toward her mother was appalling and her own judgement—especially in her romantic relationship—was extremely questionable. The amount of times "tart" was tossed around had me shaking my head and I hated how much women were pitted against one another. I'm fairly sure I wasn't supposed to actively dislike Kat's recently deceased father, but the way his "traditional" views were painted were infuriating. The plot was ridiculous to an insane degree and yet it somehow managed to be cliched, too. ETA, much much later, apparently distance is measured in miles in England, but the whole set up of her mentioning this at the beginning of the book felt shoe-horned in and jarring.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    On the cover of Murder at Honeychurch Hall, there is an endorsement by M.C. Beaton, a favorite cozy mystery author of mine, which states, "Just the thing to chase the blues away." Beaton hits the mark with her comment. This first book in Hannah Dennison's new Honeychurch Hall series is everything a cozy mystery should be and then some. The setting, in the Devon countryside, is my favorite area for English mysteries. There are lords and ladies, a country manor in disrepair, secret identities, ant On the cover of Murder at Honeychurch Hall, there is an endorsement by M.C. Beaton, a favorite cozy mystery author of mine, which states, "Just the thing to chase the blues away." Beaton hits the mark with her comment. This first book in Hannah Dennison's new Honeychurch Hall series is everything a cozy mystery should be and then some. The setting, in the Devon countryside, is my favorite area for English mysteries. There are lords and ladies, a country manor in disrepair, secret identities, antique stuffed animals, romantic pairings both fictional and factual, and, yes, a murder. And, there is the witty dialogue and great story connecting them all. It's the type of book that you literally want to curl up with and have a good time with. Fun, with the murder not dampening the atmosphere too much. Kat Stanford has decided to give up her celebrity as the host of the British television show Fakes & Treasures and open up an antiques shop with her recently widowed mother, Iris. Unbeknown to Kat, Iris has moved 200 miles from London to a carriage house on the Honeychurch Hall Estate in Little Dipperton, Devon. Kat learns of her mother's major life change in a phone call from Iris telling that she has broken her hand. Kat's offer to help suddenly includes a long trip to check not only on her mother's physical health, but her mental health in view of the move. Kat arrives at the Honeychurch Hall Estate to immediately become ensconced in a family struggle to keep the estate intact as opposed to selling to developers. Iris' part in all of this conflict is a puzzle indeed to Kat, and its revelation is a fascinating story. Kat learns that she doesn't really know her mother much at all, as Kat's preconceived ideas of her mother as a lonely widow and city girl are quickly dispelled. It's quite accurate to say that Kat's life will never be the same. The vision she had for life after her television show may have to be rewritten. Kat will even begin to reconsider her fiance, who is still currently married to Kat's nemesis and dragging his feet on the divorce. As Devon proves to be anything but the boring out-of-the-way backwater Kat was expecting, the question remains at the end, what Kat will decide to do with her life. I was fortunate to receive a copy of Murder at Honeychurch Hall from the author, and I consider it one of those magical moments in reading when you discover an author that you know is going to continue to be a favorite read. I am so looking forward to the next Honeychurch Hall mystery, and I plan to check out Ms. Dennison's previous series, Vicky Hill mysteries. Some of my firmly established favorite authors have endorsed Murder at Honeychurch Hall--M.C. Beaton, Rhys Bowen, and Catriona McPherson. I agree wholeheartedly in their endorsements.

  6. 4 out of 5

    megHan

    I am a huge fan of mysteries. They are so much fun to read, and a great way to exercise those "little gray cells." Whenever I find one that peaks my interest, I grab it up. This book was one of those. The first thing that caught my eye about this book, after the title, was the cover. The author really took great care when she had this created - the detail is incredible. There's a small dog, a brick path surrounded by gardens and, in the background, you see Honeychurch Hall. (It wasn't until I was I am a huge fan of mysteries. They are so much fun to read, and a great way to exercise those "little gray cells." Whenever I find one that peaks my interest, I grab it up. This book was one of those. The first thing that caught my eye about this book, after the title, was the cover. The author really took great care when she had this created - the detail is incredible. There's a small dog, a brick path surrounded by gardens and, in the background, you see Honeychurch Hall. (It wasn't until I was actually reading the descriptions of the house in the book that I noticed the boarded windows and scaffolding.) The cover really got my attention and made me very curious about the mystery that would come in the pages. This was an enjoyable read. The characters were a lot of fun to get to know, especially Kat and her mom, Iris. The people that lived on the property and in the home were really interesting as well - and well written. I felt like I knew them all when I was done with the book. There were several little mysteries going on as well as the big murder, which made reading the book even more fun. The secrets everyone were keeping from each other, plus the twists and turns of the mysteries, kept me on my toes - and made it very hard to put the book down. I ended up reading the second half of the book all in one night, staying up until well after 2am wanting - no, needing - to finish and find out what happened. The end - I had little ideas about some of it, but the actual conclusion - let's just say that Ms. Dennison really had me stumped. This is the first of a series and I can't wait to be able to read book two. My favorite character was the young boy, Harry. He was handsome - the kind of kid I would love to hang out with myself - and I really liked the bond that him and Kat had and how quickly they took a liking to each other. My least favorite character was Kat's boyfriend, but I don't honestly think I was supposed to like him. The author did a great job writing this character. The mother and daughter team were great - and in some ways reminded me of my relationships with my mother - but sometimes the way they treated each other really got on my nerves. They did grow, however, as the story went along and that helped me like them more. Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    I was pleasantly surprised with this first in a series-not your typical garden-variety British cozy. The relationship between Kat and her mother is very argumentative but in a nice way. I will read the next Honeychurch mystery hope to see the estate manor and surroundings a little more fleshed out.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Though I was delighted by the mystery (which actually doesn't happen until the very end of the novel) Murder at Honeychurch Hall had the one trope I cannot stand: the killer decided to tell Kat every single detail. Why, book, why?! Still, a solid start to what is turning out to be a fun and intriguing series! M. C. Beaton has a blurb featured on the cover stating this this novel is "just the thing to chase the blues away" and I have to say she's right! For the full review (and a review of the seq Though I was delighted by the mystery (which actually doesn't happen until the very end of the novel) Murder at Honeychurch Hall had the one trope I cannot stand: the killer decided to tell Kat every single detail. Why, book, why?! Still, a solid start to what is turning out to be a fun and intriguing series! M. C. Beaton has a blurb featured on the cover stating this this novel is "just the thing to chase the blues away" and I have to say she's right! For the full review (and a review of the sequel!) head over to The Pretty Good Gatsby!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Iza Brekilien

    It's a nice cosy mystery, not great, but nice. The story took some time to happen, but since it's the first book in the series, I'll be lenient 8) However, the characters were not great or really likeable. I can read a book with unlikeable characters, except when those are supposed to be nice ! But their soft spot for gin tonic made me want to drink one... 12/10 : downgraded the rate from 3 to 2, I've read a lot better since ! It's a nice cosy mystery, not great, but nice. The story took some time to happen, but since it's the first book in the series, I'll be lenient 8) However, the characters were not great or really likeable. I can read a book with unlikeable characters, except when those are supposed to be nice ! But their soft spot for gin tonic made me want to drink one... 12/10 : downgraded the rate from 3 to 2, I've read a lot better since !

  10. 4 out of 5

    Niki

    i'm really sorry to give it only one star, but that was such an unnervingly story - no action at all, apart for the constant bickering between mother and daughter - both have secrets on their agenda, ok, i suppose that was part of the so-called suspense, but both characters were really really annoying - the mother was some sort of scatterbrain, and the daughter didn't know what to do with herself - why did I finish it = to know if maybe - just maybe - the plot was going to be better - hahaha - no i'm really sorry to give it only one star, but that was such an unnervingly story - no action at all, apart for the constant bickering between mother and daughter - both have secrets on their agenda, ok, i suppose that was part of the so-called suspense, but both characters were really really annoying - the mother was some sort of scatterbrain, and the daughter didn't know what to do with herself - why did I finish it = to know if maybe - just maybe - the plot was going to be better - hahaha - nobody was nice in this story, not even the kid who is a kleptomaniac

  11. 4 out of 5

    Renae

    Murder at Honeychurch Hall is a "cozy" mystery featuring casual racism, casual misogyny, and characters so absurd they're little more than caricatures. The entire book is a disaster, and Hannah Dennison couldn't even get the mystery part right—the story has nary a dead body until well past the halfway point. What's more, our horrifically banal-yet-obnoxious protagonist never once investigates; rather, she just so happens to stumble across the murderer, who cheerfully explains the means and motiv Murder at Honeychurch Hall is a "cozy" mystery featuring casual racism, casual misogyny, and characters so absurd they're little more than caricatures. The entire book is a disaster, and Hannah Dennison couldn't even get the mystery part right—the story has nary a dead body until well past the halfway point. What's more, our horrifically banal-yet-obnoxious protagonist never once investigates; rather, she just so happens to stumble across the murderer, who cheerfully explains the means and motive behind Devon's homicide du jour. (tl;dr: this is utter shit.) As mentioned above, this book's mystery element is so scantily present that one can barely consider it a member of the genre. Instead, Murder at Honeychurch Hall reads most like a poorly-conceived farce that's supposed to be funny—but only in the way that your racist uncle's jokes at Thanksgiving are funny. Each and every character is exaggerated and absurd, from the boozy Louboutin-obsessed housekeeper to the implausibly precocious seven-year-old kleptomaniac. Most ridiculous of all is Dennison's protagonist, Kat Stanford. The book opens as Kat finds herself in rural Devon after her (allegedly) flighty and irresponsible mother purchases an old house—presumably with the money Kat's "sainted" father left her. The author clearly wants readers to root for Kat, but her method of endearing her main character to audiences is...odd. To say the least. For the entirety of the novel, Kat judges and verbally abuses her mother, apparently taking cues from her now-deceased and equally abusive father. Kat's mother is silly and inept, we are told, even as mounting evidence tends to indicate that the older woman is more than capable of handling her own affairs. Throughout all of this, it's Kat who ends up looking idiotic. Indeed, even Kat's awful "boyfriend" finds it necessary to point out her illogical (and cruel) behavior: "Mum has been acting as if she's been let out of jail." "Well, Frank was pretty oppressive." "No he wasn't." It was perfect alright for me to criticize my father but I couldn't bear anyone else to. "Dad was just old fashioned and believed that a woman's place should be in the ktichen." "Oh no, my father wasn't oppressive! He just [proceeds to list oppressive behaviors]." OKAY... sure, Jan. The above is just one example of the novel's constant internalized misogyny, which Dennison clearly intends to play up for laughs. At no point is Kat's antagonism toward her mother interrogated. Every female character except for Kat is vapid and a "tart," although we never see Kat do anything truly praiseworthy either. (As I said, she certainly doesn't solve any mysteries.) I suppose that for some old white ladies, this sort of "haha, women are slutty sluts" humor is the peak of hilarity. But really, it's just disgusting. And of course, there's more! Another "funny" plot element in Murder at Honeychurch Hall is unchallenged, casual racism. Dennison uses the slur "gypsy" over two dozen times, all as part of a humorous side-plot wherein Kat's mother is writing "pornography" (i.e., bestselling historical romance novels). Dennison also just casually tosses in a scene at the pub where people are in blackface, just for a quaint touch of local color. BLACKFACE. This book was published in 2014, not 1814. Dennison + her entire editorial team either knew or should have known this was unacceptable. And finally, I must ask: is the author a Luddite? The way this book gets even common, everyday technology so wrong had me really scratching my head. The book clearly takes place in roughly 2014: protagonist Kat is the unfortunate star of a viral video, she uses Google maps on her phone to navigate, and she lectures her mother about "living in the age of the internet." Yet at the same time, we see Kat's mother printing off her manuscript to send to her publisher (?), and when Kat needs to check her email, instead of just pulling up an app in her phone, she goes to an internet cafe (???). Ma'am, what the hell. Maybe these anachronisms are meant to convey how "rural" the small town setting is, but honestly...I've done my share of tromping around centuries old European hamlets with octogenarian populations, and I assure you that they have wifi and 4G. All of this to say: Murder at Honeychurch Hall as atrocious. I didn't even talk about the mystery in this review because there LITERALLY IS NO MYSTERY! Instead, it's just a supposedly comedic interlude in small town England, populated with zany characters and cheerful misogyny. I understand that the first book in a cozy mystery series typically spends a lot of time "setting the stage" for books to come, but this stage is really only good for hurling rotten tomatoes at. Absolute, unmitigated garbage, from page 1 to The End. 📌 . Blog | Review Database | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brian Frauenknecht

    This book started out very slow for me. And did not pick up until the middle of the book. I was expecting the first murder to occur within the first 4 chapters. It did not. I did enjoy the book and will continue reading the series and hope the rest of the series gets continues to get better.

  13. 5 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Kat Stanford has just quit her job at the popular TV show Fakes and Treasuers to start an antique shop with her mother. She's also hoping for an official commitment from her (married but separated) boyfriend david. When Kat's mother calls and announces she's broken her wrist and needs Kat's help, Kat is only too happy to step in. Then Kat is shocked to discover her mother has purchased a carriage house in Devon -200 miles from London! Kat promised her late father she'd look after her mother so o Kat Stanford has just quit her job at the popular TV show Fakes and Treasuers to start an antique shop with her mother. She's also hoping for an official commitment from her (married but separated) boyfriend david. When Kat's mother calls and announces she's broken her wrist and needs Kat's help, Kat is only too happy to step in. Then Kat is shocked to discover her mother has purchased a carriage house in Devon -200 miles from London! Kat promised her late father she'd look after her mother so off she goes to Devon where she finds a fleeing nanny, a little boy obsessed with a fictional WWI pilot and her special antique toy mouse, a dilapadated carriage house and a neighbor out to get her mother. She also discovers her mother has secrets she never knew. The secrets begin to come out as they battle Eric, the owner of a junk yard next door. Eric's wife Vera seems to hate Kat and Iris for some reason and the fleeing nanny up and disappears. When the police get involved, Iris decides to play matchmaker. When Kat stumbles across a dead body, she and her mother become prime suspects. Can she solve the mystery before her mother ends up dead? This is a cozy mystery but not a typical one. The plot doesn't follow the usual path. There are a lot of mysteries that need to be unravelled and the dead body doesn't appear until 3/4 of the way through. The description on the dust jacket is misleading. The mystery kept me reading until way too late in the night. I had to know how it was resolved. There were some secrets that are easy to guess and others that aren't. I figured out who the killer was before Kat discovered the truth. I didn't find any of the characters in this novel appealing. There are too many of them to make them real flesh and blood people. I didn't even really like Kat all that much. She insists on keeping her head in the sand regarding her boyfriend, she doesn't really listen to what her mother is telling her in the beginning and her character growth is minimal. David is a jerk and I don't know what Kat sees in him. I found the little boy, Harry, annoying. His interested in Biggles is so obscure that I have never heard of that character. He's cute when he's repeating what he's heard the adults say but mostly I found him annoying. I was fond enough of him that I didn't want him to die. His formiddable grandmother, Lady Edith lacks the humor of Maggie Smith's Lady Violet. She's a complex character but doesn't have a lot of "screen" time. Eric and Vera are crazy. Neither of them seem like real people. I hated them both and I know that's what the author intended but they were a bit over the top. This book is the first in a planned series but I'm not intereted enough to read more about the characters.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    A Bit Crazy; A Bit Cozy; A Bit Conventional This starts out as Miss Marple visits Cold Comfort Farm by way of Fawlty Towers. This is not your standard issue country house murder mystery. Yes, there is a country house, and yes, there are a few murders. But most traditional murder mysteries are not peopled almost exclusively by breezy, demented, exasperated, funny, odd, exasperating, eccentric characters who are looking at "quirky" and "unique" in the rear view mirror. Each plot development is more A Bit Crazy; A Bit Cozy; A Bit Conventional This starts out as Miss Marple visits Cold Comfort Farm by way of Fawlty Towers. This is not your standard issue country house murder mystery. Yes, there is a country house, and yes, there are a few murders. But most traditional murder mysteries are not peopled almost exclusively by breezy, demented, exasperated, funny, odd, exasperating, eccentric characters who are looking at "quirky" and "unique" in the rear view mirror. Each plot development is more implausible than the previous one, every important twist or turn strains credulity, each character is mind-bogglingly over the top -- and yet it all somehow works and you keep reading. Maybe you keep reading because you're into the mystery; maybe you keep reading the way people stare at car crashes; maybe you keep reading because you are just stunned by the author's audacity -- but however you want to explain it, you keep reading. Then, about half way through we settle down. The misbehavior and eccentricity and duplicity starts being explained. At that point the mystery becomes more conventional and we enter more traditional territory. But, while it lasted it was quite a ride. Bottom line - there are only so many mysteries out there and if you gobble them up like candy corn, then this istrikes me as a tasty enough snack. Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Damaskcat

    This is the first book in a new series and it is certainly a promising beginning. Kat Stanford has given up a successful TV career and has moved temporarily to the Carriage House which her mother has just bought much to Kat's surprise. When she arrives it turns out to be virtually derelict and her mother has various injuries caused by an assortment of accidents. Honeychurch Hall itself seems to be full of eccentrics - and that includes the servants. the nanny has disappeared and has been reported This is the first book in a new series and it is certainly a promising beginning. Kat Stanford has given up a successful TV career and has moved temporarily to the Carriage House which her mother has just bought much to Kat's surprise. When she arrives it turns out to be virtually derelict and her mother has various injuries caused by an assortment of accidents. Honeychurch Hall itself seems to be full of eccentrics - and that includes the servants. the nanny has disappeared and has been reported missing and seven year old Harry has taken to wearing a flying helmet, goggles and a white silk scarf and insists on being called Biggles. This is a delightful story of country life with plenty of mysteries at its heart - not all of which will be unravelled before the end of the book. There are some shocks in store for Kat as well as for other people. I liked Kat herself who narrates the story and I thought her mother delightfully dotty. You could describe this book as Downton Abbey meets Midsomer Murders. If you like those programmes you will probably enjoy this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stacie Haden

    A decent start to the series. I was irritated by the way Kat treated her mother, but I hope that works itself out in the second book of the series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    LORI CASWELL

    Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house at Honeychurch Hall, an isolated country estate located several hundred miles from London. Yet it seems that Iris isn’t the only one with surprises at Honeychurch Hall. Behind the crumbling façade, the inhabitants of the stately mansion are a lively group of eccentrics to be sure—both upstairs and downstai Kat Stanford is just days away from starting her dream antique business with her newly widowed mother Iris when she gets a huge shock. Iris has recklessly purchased a dilapidated carriage house at Honeychurch Hall, an isolated country estate located several hundred miles from London. Yet it seems that Iris isn’t the only one with surprises at Honeychurch Hall. Behind the crumbling façade, the inhabitants of the stately mansion are a lively group of eccentrics to be sure—both upstairs and downstairs —and they all have more than their fair share of skeletons in the closet. When the nanny goes missing, and Vera, the loyal housekeeper ends up dead in the grotto, suspicions abound. Throw in a feisty, octogenarian countess, a precocious seven year old who is obsessed with the famous fighter pilot called Biggles, and a treasure trove of antiques, and there is more than one motive for murder. As Iris’s past comes back to haunt her, Kat realizes she hardly knows her mother at all. A when the bodies start piling up, it is up to Kat to unravel the tangled truth behind the murders at Honeychurch Hall. Dollycas’s Thoughts I knew before I finished the first chapter I was going to love this story. Iris is a very independent woman especially now that her husband has passed away. She also has a couple of secrets. Her relationship with her daughter Kat reminded me so much of my relationship with my own very independent mother. All are stubborn women and hate having anyone tell them what to do. The dialogue between Iris and Kat was spot on and at time absolutely hilarious. Kat has come to Honeychurch Hall to help her mother but to also find out why she left London and where this leaves their plans to go into business together. Kat has left her job on the telly for a few reasons but she thought she was leaving to follow her dream of opening an antique shop. Her mother can’t seriously want to live in this broken down carriage house surrounded by a bunch a crazy people. The nanny has already left, the child has quite the imagination, he pretends he is Biggles, is a fictional pilot and adventurer, and spends his days chasing down missing pilots and hiding from the enemy. The matriarch of Honeychurch Hall may be in the early stages of dementia or is she just trying to pull one on her family. Her son has his own ideas on what to do with Honeychurch Hall. The maid had a heck of a shoe obsession and she is the one Kat finds dead in the garden tunnel. There is so much happening in this story. We meet some very extraordinary characters and they are all twisted into an incredible mystery. This story was a pure joy to read. I hated to see it end. I can’t wait for the next one. Write fast please Hannah!!!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    I loved this book! I was in the mood for funny, zany, quirky, eccentric, slightly over-the-top skullduggery (can you tell by the plethora of adjectives?), and author Hannah Dennison has delivered the goods with style and flair. The setting is a peach: a remote estate in Devon badly in need of restoration and simply stuffed to the rafters with priceless antiques. Honeychurch Hall is one of those country houses that was added to by each generation over the centuries, so secret tunnels and the like I loved this book! I was in the mood for funny, zany, quirky, eccentric, slightly over-the-top skullduggery (can you tell by the plethora of adjectives?), and author Hannah Dennison has delivered the goods with style and flair. The setting is a peach: a remote estate in Devon badly in need of restoration and simply stuffed to the rafters with priceless antiques. Honeychurch Hall is one of those country houses that was added to by each generation over the centuries, so secret tunnels and the like should come as no surprise. The setting adds a Gothic touch to the book that I really enjoyed. The cast is the biggest assortment of eccentrics that you'll meet for a long time. Kat herself is the sanest of the lot-- regardless of her celebrity status-- and she helps readers stay tethered to the ground. We need the tether because the rest of the cast is bonkers. The matriarch of Honeychurch Hall rides sidesaddle, insists that her snuff box collection is disappearing, and is often seen with her 7-year-old grandson who identifies with Biggles. Almost every single estate worker comes from a long line of Honeychurch Hall servants, and they all have their (nearly) incomprehensible relationships and secrets. However, Kat's mother Iris is probably the one character who has the most astounding secrets. Kat is definitely going to have her hands full as this series progresses. The first half of Murder at Honeychurch Hall is fast-paced, almost frantic, and I can see it leaving some readers dizzy with the introduction of several characters, the setting, the British slang, and the like. But Dennison is in her element. She has a purpose, and she is definitely having fun. The second half of the book settles down to allow readers to catch their breath, and we begin to see individual characters and their motivations in a much clearer light. It's these motivations that add a depth to the story that some may find surprising and I found to be delightful. As much as I liked Dennison's characters, setting, and story, it is her sense of fun that captured me. Sometimes as I read a book, the way the various elements come together tell me how much the author was enjoying herself as she wrote. If Dennison had half as much fun as I think she did, I can't wait for the next book in this new series.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Guy

    I love English mysteries and this is a rather great one. It isn't your typical cozy. It is the first in a new series and one I'll definitely keep up with. Kat is a tv host trying to get out of the business. She comes to Honeychurch Hall to see the home her mother has purchased. Things definitely aren't what they seem. The cottage house is falling apart and she learns that her mother has some really big secrets. One of them has to do with her mom's career, that Kat didn't know about until arriving I love English mysteries and this is a rather great one. It isn't your typical cozy. It is the first in a new series and one I'll definitely keep up with. Kat is a tv host trying to get out of the business. She comes to Honeychurch Hall to see the home her mother has purchased. Things definitely aren't what they seem. The cottage house is falling apart and she learns that her mother has some really big secrets. One of them has to do with her mom's career, that Kat didn't know about until arriving at Honeychurch Hall. There's really a book within a book here at times, and that made for an interesting read. I loved the aristocrats from the hall especially Countess Edith and young Harry, who is Rupert's son. Harry is totally precious, even though he has an obsession with WWII. Then there's Kat's boyfriend, who is married to her nemesis, Trudy. There's some hilarity there too. It takes quite awhile for the mystery to get going, but there's enough intrigue with the quirky family members from The Hall and Kat's family and boyfriend. There's a lot going on with her mother Iris, who is hiding quite a bit from her daughter, not only a career but a rather unusual family life from before her marriage to Kat's father. The story is fast paced and fun a great start to a new series! I look forward to seeing how things progress at The Hall.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ionia

    Murder at Honeychurch Hall, is a cute, quirky and fun mystery with vibrant characters and a lot to love. I enjoyed this book from the beginning. The main character is funny, blunt and draws you into the story right away. I liked that this book did not take long to get into the mystery portion of the story and stayed with the original purpose throughout. There are enough characters and side stories that the mystery was not easily solvable and the story never got boring or made me lose interest. I Murder at Honeychurch Hall, is a cute, quirky and fun mystery with vibrant characters and a lot to love. I enjoyed this book from the beginning. The main character is funny, blunt and draws you into the story right away. I liked that this book did not take long to get into the mystery portion of the story and stayed with the original purpose throughout. There are enough characters and side stories that the mystery was not easily solvable and the story never got boring or made me lose interest. I was excited that the author stayed consistent with her character's personalities, but that she allowed them to make decisions one would not expect. As the story progressed, more information was slowly revealed, building the original mystery and adding to the feeling of tension in the book. The ending was also unexpected and I was pleased with the way it turned out. I really liked this book and look forward to reading more from this author. This review is based on a digital ARC. All opinions are my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Robbins

    Book one in the Honeychurch Hall Mystery series. Kat Stanford has just quite her t.v. job in London and now she has to hunt down her mother after she calls asking for help. Her mother Iris has broken her hand but what Kat does not know is that she has also relocated to a secluded historical Carriage House on an historic property called Honeychurch Hall in the countryside of England. Once she arrives she finds the place a shambles after being abandoned for years, her mother almost helpless, and t Book one in the Honeychurch Hall Mystery series. Kat Stanford has just quite her t.v. job in London and now she has to hunt down her mother after she calls asking for help. Her mother Iris has broken her hand but what Kat does not know is that she has also relocated to a secluded historical Carriage House on an historic property called Honeychurch Hall in the countryside of England. Once she arrives she finds the place a shambles after being abandoned for years, her mother almost helpless, and the surprise do not seem to stop from that point on. By the end Kat knows an entirely different side of her mother that she never knew existed. A nanny comes up missing shortly after her arrival, and the housekeeper is found dead not too long after that. Kat finds herself as a suspect so she has to figure out what really happened though in a very unconventional way. This is a lovely estate with a group of interesting characters such as young Harry and Mr. Chips that blends into a wonderful story that I really quite enjoyed. A must read for cozy mystery fans. It gets 4/5 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Nope. This did not work for me at all! Every character in this book was either wimpy, clueless or nasty. I kept hoping that one of them would be likeable, as the many characters were introduced over the first 65 pages, which is as far as I could stand to read of this. I don't understand the thought process behind making everyone in a book annoying or unpleasant. Are there readers who enjoy this? I guess there must be because there were plenty of very favourable reviews of this book which is what p Nope. This did not work for me at all! Every character in this book was either wimpy, clueless or nasty. I kept hoping that one of them would be likeable, as the many characters were introduced over the first 65 pages, which is as far as I could stand to read of this. I don't understand the thought process behind making everyone in a book annoying or unpleasant. Are there readers who enjoy this? I guess there must be because there were plenty of very favourable reviews of this book which is what prompted me to try it. Unfortunately, it did nothing for me. Moving on, back to the library it goes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Monica Gearhart

    I absolutely loved this book! I went to get the next one from the library and I have to wait for it. :( it kept me guessing from the beginning. I never thought the killer would be who it was. I loved the back and forth between Kat and her mom. Enjoyed Lady Edith's "forgetfulness." Thank you for the opportunity to read this. Excited for the next one. I absolutely loved this book! I went to get the next one from the library and I have to wait for it. :( it kept me guessing from the beginning. I never thought the killer would be who it was. I loved the back and forth between Kat and her mom. Enjoyed Lady Edith's "forgetfulness." Thank you for the opportunity to read this. Excited for the next one.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    A fun beginning to a new cozy mystery series featuring Kat Stanford. Once her mom abandons London and their plans for an antique toy store, Kat ends up in Devon, mixed up in a family brouhaha over keeping an old estate intact. Murder and mayhem ensue. Looking forward to the next installment.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Giusti

    was given an arc for an honest review. review coming mar 7

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ephie

    It took me 4-5 chapters to get into this story as it reads like a high school composition rather than a published book. The characters are annoying, the protagonist is rude and unlikeable, and I couldn’t relate to the references from TV, the setting, etc. The extracts from the romance novels were unnecessary and even more badly written - in case the writer thinks she has an alternative to writing murder mysteries that poorly attempt to imitate Agatha Christie’s. The “murder at Honeychurch Hall” d It took me 4-5 chapters to get into this story as it reads like a high school composition rather than a published book. The characters are annoying, the protagonist is rude and unlikeable, and I couldn’t relate to the references from TV, the setting, etc. The extracts from the romance novels were unnecessary and even more badly written - in case the writer thinks she has an alternative to writing murder mysteries that poorly attempt to imitate Agatha Christie’s. The “murder at Honeychurch Hall” does not happen until 2/3 of the book! It is subsequently so poorly and unprofessionally investigated, if the murderer did not confess, the crime would never have been resolved. I did like the book itself: the cover has an elaborate picture and it has a soft back which made it lovely to hold. 2.5/5

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tracie

    I've had this book on my bookshelf at home for quite some time always with the intent to read but always putting other series ahead of it. I finally decided to take it off the shelf and boy am I glad I did. This story was full of history, back story, secrets and red herrings. Just when I thought I had it figured out I was thrown for another loop. Plus I felt like I was getting a bonus book with the snippets of the romance novel that pops up here and there. I have enjoyed reading this book immens I've had this book on my bookshelf at home for quite some time always with the intent to read but always putting other series ahead of it. I finally decided to take it off the shelf and boy am I glad I did. This story was full of history, back story, secrets and red herrings. Just when I thought I had it figured out I was thrown for another loop. Plus I felt like I was getting a bonus book with the snippets of the romance novel that pops up here and there. I have enjoyed reading this book immensely and cannot wait to start on the next one in this series. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys cozy style mysteries.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nancy H

    This is a really good first entry in the Honeychurch Hall mystery series. The characters are quirky and the setting is a great one for a cozy mystery. There are lots of opportunities for sequels, and I hope the author writes quite a lot of them!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Fun read...cozy mystery. A few too many characters introduced without much info resulting in ME not knowing who's who and having to go back and research them! Needed a cast of characters. Successful only because it made me want to see what happened to the main characters at the end of the book! I think this is a series. I'll research and when I'm in the mood for a quick read, i read the follow up! Fun read...cozy mystery. A few too many characters introduced without much info resulting in ME not knowing who's who and having to go back and research them! Needed a cast of characters. Successful only because it made me want to see what happened to the main characters at the end of the book! I think this is a series. I'll research and when I'm in the mood for a quick read, i read the follow up!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Excellent book, I only deducted a star because it took me forever to finish. Highly recommend!

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