Murder at the Brightwell is the first book in the Amory Ames series by Ashley Weaver.
Quick Review(read on for full review)
A stylish, captivating read which captured the time period wonderfully, and Amory and the world she inhabits makes for a engaging backdrop to a murder mystery. 5 / 5
Summary (from Goodreads)
Glamorous Amory Ames might be wealthy but she is unhappily married to notorious playboy husband Milo and she willing accepts her former fiancé, Gil Trent’s plea for help in preventing his sister Emmeline from meeting a similar matrimonial fate.
Amory and Gil set off for the Brightwell, a sprawling seaside hotel in Devon, where Emmeline and her intended, the disreputable and impeccably groomed Rupert Howe are holidaying along with a sprinkling of other rich and sumptuously-dressed guests.
Champagne flows but the sparkle soon fades as a dark and unresolved history between Gil and Rupert surfaces. After a late night quarrel the luxurious hotel is one guest fewer by morning. When Gil is arrested for murder, Amory is determined to defend his innocence. But if she’s right the killer is still in their midst – can she prove it before she too becomes a victim?
Extravagance, scoundrels and red herrings abound as Amory draws closer to the truth.
It is an impossibly great trial to be married to a man one loves and hates in equal proportions.
(From Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver, page 7)
This book was a captivating, engaging read, and the author did such a wonderful job of bringing the upper class of the 1930s to life. The Brightwell Hotel was stylish and decadent – the perfect playground for the rich and famous, and the perfect backdrop to a cosy murder mystery.
Amory Ames made for a fantastic main character. It’s easy to feel sorry for her when you consider the state of her marriage, but you quickly realise she is flawed and imperfect and human too, and not likely to sit around feeling sorry for herself. She is intelligent and witty and determined to solve the crime she has found herslf in the middle of.
The rest of the cast of characters were also well-written. Many of them were unlikeable, which made for interesting possible suspects. Naturally, there were plenty of red herrings, and the added difficulties stemming from a potential love triangle kept me turning the page until the very end. I didn’t once lose interest in the story, and am eagerly anticipating reading the next book in the series, Death Wears A Mask.
As the first book in the series, it did a great job of introducing the reader to everything we needed to know, without inundating us with too much information, and the author has left me needing to know what happens next for Amory. This has certainly entered my top five cosy crime series set between the wars.