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Slaying Is Such Sweet Sorrow: A Far Wychwood Mystery    by Patricia Harwin order for
Slaying Is Such Sweet Sorrow
by Patricia Harwin
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2005 (2005)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Catherine Penny flees to England to be near her daughter, son-in-law, and one-and-a-half year-old terror Archie after her husband of thirty years decides that the grass will be greener and younger with a woman who looks at him with adoration in her eyes.

Catherine, who possesses a volatile temper, is not pleased that the billing and cooing couple shows up for the ceremony in which her son-in-law Peter is to be awarded a high position at Oxford's Mercy College. But when Peter is accused of murder, Catherine sets out to right a wrong.

Catherine has difficulty keeping her temper when in the company of her ex and his bimbo. Trying valiantly to behave for her daughter's sake, she shoots barbs at him whenever possible. When he starts to be protective of her, she rebels.

I like Catherine. She's bull-headed, and a little forgetful, though not from age. Rather because she gets absorbed in her own thoughts and doings. She makes friends easily but can't abide fools. Her life in rural England sounds idyllic, one I'd like to try for a while. Her daughter isn't fleshed out, nor are many of the other players. But that's okay. Catherine can carry the story very well on her own broad shoulders. She seems larger than life. She's unusual in that she can take a good look at herself and recognize her own shortcomings.

There is some high flown conversation in Slaying Is Such Sweet Sorrow. We're dealing here with literary dons. They leave me in the dust with their quotations from famous and not so famous works. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book very much. It's a good read - that led to a little dreaming of merry ole' England - and a fine mystery with a different twist to boot.

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