Reading my Stash: A Legacy of Murder by Connie Berry

As I work through the stack of unread books teetering on my nightstand, I cast them a critical eye as to whether I’d like to revisit them in the future. Better yet, in the case of a series, if I’d like to check in for more stories in that world. I hate to admit that my “To Read” stack is looking a lot like the fabric stash I collected during my sewing phase. I’d buy fabrics because they looked so wonderful and I had to have them “just in case”, but then they entered the Hotel California room in my house where things check in but rarely check out.

I’m determined to save the books I collected over the last six months from a similar fate.

Last week I finished A Legacy of Murder by Connie Berry, the second installment in the Kate Hamilton Mystery series. I must confess that I haven’t read the first book, so I approached this with one burning question: is it written and plotted well enough that I would go back and pick up the first? With that in mind, I also wanted to know if this novel gave enough information about what happened previously without giving away too much.

A Legacy of Murder follows Kate Hamilton, an antiques dealer from Ohio, as she visits her daughter, an intern at Finchley Hall, a stately English manor. Only a few weeks before Christmas, the interns are preparing for a major exhibition of the Finchley Hoard, a once lost treasure steeped in legend and loss. Proceeds from the exhibition would help pay for the crushing maintenance costs on the crumbling family estate.

But the discovery of the body of one of the interns not only puts the exhibition in jeopardy but also places Kate’s daughter on the list of suspects. Using her knowledge of antiques and her Mama Bear instincts, Kate’s lovely English vacation soon becomes a mission to find the killer.

The book is well-written and plotted. For me, stories that can pull me into their world without feeling forced or formulaic are golden. This is one of those books.

I mentioned that this is the second installment in the series. Would I read the first?

The answer to that is “yes”. Berry weaves in enough information from the first to explain situations in this book, such as her relationship with Detective Inspector Thomas Mallory, but not so much that the reader feels fully informed. For those who haven’t read the first installment, hints from the past are a subtle tease. In a good way. Hitting that sweet spot between not enough and too much takes skill and Berry navigates it well.

My verdict? I highly recommend A Legacy of Murder by Connie Berry.

Sigh. Now I have another book to add to my nightstand: the first in the series, A Dream of Death.

Time to get back to reading.

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