I'd not met the Cotswold-dwelling young American family Lori and Bill Shepherd and their five-year-old (but much older looking and acting) sons before I picked up Aunt Dimity: Vampire Hunter. After a few pages, I felt they were all old friends—especially Lori. These are easy people to like.
When the headmistress at the twins' school calls to say the boys are frightening the other children with their outrageous lies about their exciting, not to mention dangerous, exploits, Lori's dander comes right up. She knows her boys aren't liars—they lived through these adventures. (Not surprising: this is the thirteenth in the Aunt Dimity series.) She jumps to their defense, but the story about the vampire that terrified them on a hill not far from their cottage confuses her. She doesn't know about vampires, but she does believes the boys saw something, something scary—maybe a vampire, or maybe someone out to frighten or even harm the youngsters.
Lori doesn't let it rest. No one will hurt or threaten her family. She sets about to solve the mystery with help both from friends and neighbors and from her benefactress, Aunt Dimity. A World War II friend of Lori's mom, Aunt Dimity bequeathed not only her cottage but a magical blue journal to Lori. When Lori has a dilemma she consults Aunt Dimity who reaches from beyond to offer sage counsel and advice through the pages of the journal. Lori and Aunt Dimity solve not only the mystery but add light to a sinister local legend and help a local romance along.
This is a delightful book to read in front of the fire beside a tray of tea and cookies. (There's a good recipe for Charlotte's Jammy Biscuits at the end of the book. Try it with orange marmalade.) That's where I'll be when I read some of the earlier books in the series. But be warned—those vampires may be at your windows if you read this when you are alone in the house on a dark and stormy night.
Author Nancy Atherton does not keep a cozy cottage in the Cotswolds; she dwells and delights in the beauties of America's Rocky Mountains. There she draws on her many experiences traveling in England and beyond as she continues to expand the popular Aunt Dimity series of cozy mysteries. You can learn more about Aunt Dimity and her creator (and find more good teatime-treat recipes) on the book website.
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