Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Dartmoor Burial (A Claire Camden Mystery #1)

Author:  Audrey Peterson
Genre:  Mystery

ISBN #:  9780671729707
Pocket Books
256 Pages
Various Prices
October 1, 1992


On sabbatical from her pressured university life in California, Claire Camden is looking forward to time alone in her second home in London.  Her spirits are up after her divorce two years before, and at last she can get to work on her book about M. L. Talbot, one of Victorian England's most lively and daring female novelists.

But on her first visit to the country home of her ex-mother-in-law, Claire gets caught up in one young woman's tragic story.  Darla Brown's pregnant body has been found on the moor, and all of Morbridge is churning with talk of the ghastly murder - gossip about Darla's flirtations and her rumored engagement to an unknown man.  The old-world opinions of the neighbors - their insights into the legends of the Dartmoor region, small-town manners and scandals - are as intriguing as any fiction Claire has studied.

With Detective Superintendent Neil Padgett at her side and the wealth of all English literature before her, Claire is determined to take her own novel approach to the disturbing case...a close reading that will draw her to shocking conclusions...and into the passionate, angry mind of Darla's murderer.


When Claire Camden takes a leave of absence from her job in California, her main goal is to visit with her daughter Sally.  But while first visiting her ex-mother-in-law, Bea, she learns of a young woman who was recently found dead among the moor.  The case soon becomes of interest to her, along with a growing interest in the detective superintendent assigned to it, Neil Padgett.

While Claire learns that a neighbor of Bea's is ailing and longing for her granddaughter, she finds that the young woman, Harriet, may have a tie to Darla - while the neighbor insists they barely knew each other, Claire learns that Harriet and Darla were indeed friends...and something more lies between them.

But while trying to stay away from the murder she is yet drawn into it, and her study of the Victorian author M. L. Talbot may also have a peculiar clue to the case that Claire very nearly misses...

I read this book, as the first in a series of three because it sounded interesting.  I did find it enjoyable, and liked most of the characters in it.  In fact, I would have liked to have seen this series continue, but as it isn't, I will have to content myself on the three that exist.

It was pleasant enough and there were a couple of subplots that actually wove themselves into the story nicely and brought it to a satisfying conclusion.  The scenarios are all believable, and while all of the characters aren't likable, they aren't meant to be.  There was enough given on Claire's background that the reader doesn't feel as if they've walked into the middle of a conversation, and I hope in the next two books to see that Claire's and Neil's relationship flourishes.  A very nice read indeed of a mystery.


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