My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Melancholy Manor is the second mystery novel by Ellie DeFarr to feature tough private eye Hera Hunter, following ‘Haunting Memories from a Troubled Past’ last year. This story begins with Hera contemplating the execution – via the sights of her rifle – of a murder who has escaped justice, and she continues the remainder of her investigations with the same ruthless efficiency. In this book, Hera is tasked by her friend and cat burglar extraordinaire, Gwendolyn Oates, with uncovering the truth about her new boyfriend, and by terminally ill society matriarch, Caroline Dunham, with exonerating her stepson, Kyle Dunham, of the murder of two young – and as yet unidentified – Asian women, after her daughter, and Kyle’s step-sister, Zoey Barnes, publically accuses him of the killings, the latest in a long line of allegations of wrong-doing between the siblings.
Ellie DeFarr’s second book is an serious and enjoyable mystery albeit with some dark themes. Hera is a likeable heroine, with her own strict code of morality, and is surrounded by a cast of three-dimensional characters, her faithful assistant Toby, her foster sister and local madam, Billy, and the squabbling siblings, Kyle and Zoey, plus some murky men of mystery: a new, attractive but creepy cop, a smooth talking art thief and her smart new office neighbour. Not forgetting of course the true star of the book: Lucky the lovely and loyal dog! The plot take some dark twists and turns and has a thrilling and satisfying conclusion. I very much enjoyed reading Melancholy Manor and look forward to seeing where her adventures take Hera next. For Readers’ Favorite.