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Aunt Dimity's Death    by Nancy Atherton order for
Aunt Dimity's Death
by Nancy Atherton
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 1993 (1992)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

Lori Shepherd is at the end of her rope. Her mother's death and her own divorce have left her alone in the world. Unable to find any work aside from temp jobs, she is virtually penniless, a situation made even worse when a burglar (no double incensed by her lack of valuables) vandalizes her possessions, including the venerable pink rabbit she has kept since her childhood. Sick at heart, Lori stores the pathetic remains of Reginald in a shoebox.

At this low point in her life, Lori receives a letter from the law firm of Willis and Willis, informing her of the death of Aunt Dimity, and inviting her to discuss matters of interest. Dimity was not truly her aunt, but the best friend and correspondent of her mother. She had written little adventure tales in each of her letters, to enchant Lori as a child. Now Lori is promised ten thousand dollars, a welcome fortune, to organize Dimity's stories and to write an introduction to them. All this, plus a chance to visit Dimity's cottage in England. Of course, Lori accepts. Willis Jr., the son, accompanies her to smooth the way.

Strange things begin to happen. There are lilacs in early bloom, and odd happenings in Aunt Dimity's cottage including Reginald's mysterious resurrection, pink, clean, and unmarred. Lori investigates a tragic mystery in Aunt Dimity's life, that may explain her inability to move on. For Aunt Dimity's spirit is still here. She is communicating with Lori via her blue journal, and she is responsible for Reginald's resurrection. Anxious to help Dimity, Lori goes through four decades of letters, dating back to World War II. She learns about her mother and also uncovers the tragedy in Dimity's past.

Aunt Dimity's Death is a charming and poignant story that delves into relationships, love, and loyalty. Although Lori solves more than one puzzle, this is far from your garden-variety mystery, also incorporating elements of the supernatural and romance. All in all, it's a very pleasant read.

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