3 Star rating
Grace Against the Clock
A Manor House Mystery, Book #5
By Julie Hyzy
ISBN: 9780425259672
Author’s Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele


When Marshfield Manor hosts a charity event, Grace Wheaton, the mansion’s curator and manager, is happy to lend a helping hand—until a killer makes an unwanted donation…

With the town clock in desperate need of repair, local lawyer Joyce Swedburg and her ex-husband, Dr. Leland Keay, are trying to put their differences aside to organize a benefit at Marshfield Manor to raise money to restore the beautiful timepiece. While Grace appreciates the opportunity to support such a good cause, the tension between the unhappy exes is giving her the urge to put both of the organizers in time out.

But after Leland collapses on stage during the festivities, poisoned, Grace suspects there was more going on behind the scenes. Now, she’s in a race to catch a ticked off murderer, and, if she’s going to prevent anyone else from getting hurt, every second will count….(Amazon)


This fifth installment in the entertaining Manor House Mysteries takes place mostly outside of the Marshfield Manor even though the actual murder occurs there.  Dr. Keay, a renowned cardiologist, drops dead from what at first looks to be natural causes during a fundraiser.  However, it soon comes to light that he was murdered by an injection of moonshine.  How could this have happened since there was only one entrance to the area where he died besides the emergency exit, and that exit would have sounded a noticeably loud alarm had the door been opened?  Thus begins the “locked room” style mystery.  This whodunit focuses almost as much on the “how” and “why” the murder was committed as the “who” committed the crime.  We are introduced to several possible suspects: his ex wife, a local photographer, the historian of residence at the historical society, and Grace’s neighbor (whose wife was caught having an affair with the esteemed doctor several years before).  There is also a subplot concerning a tunnel that is unearthed in Grace’s basement, but this is left unresolved.  Was it used during Prohibition or as part of the underground railroad?  I assume it will be addressed in a future installment.

As always, Ms. Hyzy provides the reader with a smart protagonist and interesting mystery with plenty of clues.  This is a solid entry in the series.  I appreciate that Grace’s relationships with Hillary and Frances are evolving and there is less friction and drama among them.  I also think it is wise, and overdue, that Grace resolves her feelings for Jack, sees him for what he is, and moves on.  We shall see if her resolve lasts.  Bennett, Bruce, Scott, Tooney, and Flynn continue to round out the cast of characters, and I enjoy them all and would like to see them featured more in the future.  Missing this time is Detective Rodriguez, but his absence is explained well enough.  Also missing are some of the interesting historical tidbits and ambiance that are inherent to the Manor locale.  I recommend this to fans of Ms. Hyzy (this series is different from her White House Chef series, but almost equally as good) and those who enjoy a relatively gentle cozy mystery.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title as part of their ongoing blog tour*