Sunday, February 25, 2024

Latest Recommendation


How fun is it for a book lover to happen onto a book which happens to be the first in a brand new series and know it's a series you're going to love?

It doesn't happen very often.  At least, not for me.

I usually stumble into a series after reading a book without realizing it's part of a series and then going back, finding Book One and bingeing.  I've done this a number of times, including the J. D. Robb books, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Margaret Maron, David Housewright, Randall Silvis, Mark Pryor and Mark de Castrique to name a few.  I do love having a few series to follow, some of which I was lucky enough to discover with Book One; Louise Penny and Deborah Ctombie pop immediately to mind.  There are more, of course, but you get the idea.

Sarah Stewart Taylor's AGONY HILL, from St. Martin's,  is the newest to the list.  This one will hit the shelves in August and I'm already antsy for the second.

Not too cozy, not too hard.  A perfect traditional mystery set in a realistic community, with believable, likeable,  characters.  For me, it was a comfort to find and I read it straight through.  Being of a certain age (75), it's hard for me to think of a book set in the 60s as Historical Fiction.  But, it is what it is.  <sigh>

Description from NetGalley -

Set in rural Vermont in the volatile 1960s, Agony Hill is the first novel in a new historical series full of vivid New England atmosphere and the deeply drawn characters that are Sarah Stewart Taylor's trademark.

In the hot summer of 1965, Bostonian Franklin Warren arrives in Bethany, Vermont, to take a position as a detective with the state police. Warren's new home is on the verge of monumental change; the interstates under construction will bring new people, new opportunities, and new problems to Vermont, and the Cold War and protests against the war in Vietnam have finally reached the dirt roads and rolling pastures of Bethany.

Warren has barely unpacked when he's called up to a remote farm on Agony Hill. Former New Yorker and Back-to-the-Lander Hugh Weber seems to have set fire to his barn and himself, with the door barred from the inside, but things aren’t adding up for Warren. The people of Bethany—from Weber’s enigmatic wife to Warren's neighbor, widow and amateur detective Alice Bellows — clearly have secrets they’d like to keep, but Warren can’t tell if the truth about Weber’s death is one of them. As he gets to know his new home and grapples with the tragedy that brought him there, Warren is drawn to the people and traditions of small town Vermont, even as he finds darkness amidst the beauty.

Note: FTC Disclosure Notice: Dear FTC - I received a digital copy of Agony Hill from No other compensation was offered or accepted beyond the possibility of a review of the book.

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