Grace to the Finish
Manor House Mystery, Book #8
By Julie Hyzy
Author’s website: www.Juliehyzy.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Now that Grace Wheaton has officially been named heir to Bennett Marshfield’s fortune, her usually busy schedule has become a juggling act. In addition to her duties at Marshfield Manor, she’s bankrolling her roommates’ refurbished wine shop, Amethyst Cellars. Grace is excited to check out the rustic space with Bruce and Scott. But that excitement turns to dismay when they stumble upon the body of the banker involved with the sale.
Grace wants to get to the bottom of this mystery quickly so that her friends’ new venture isn’t overshadowed by an unsolved murder, but she’s got even more to balance when her troubled sister, Liza, is released from prison early. Liza’s first stop is Marshfield Manor and her first priority is grabbing a bite of Bennett’s fortune for herself. Grace has to keep her greedy sister at bay and catch a killer before her new life comes crashing down around her.
Since Julie Hyzy is one of my favorite authors, I expect a lot from her books. Grace to the Finish, the eighth book in the sophisticated Manor House Mystery series, does not disappoint. A well executed mystery, well drawn characters, and enough suspense to be compelling make a very satisfying read indeed.
Grace wants nothing to change now that she is officially Bennett’s heir, but people all around her are interested in the Marshfield fortune, including her sister Liza who is soon to be released from prison. Her Aunt Belinda has arrived at Grace’s request to help with Liza’s transition to civilian life, but Grace wonders if it is such a good idea to involve her after all. She is disappointed to learn that the pair already knows about her good fortune and is keen to claim a rather large slice of the monetary pie. Even though Grace is distracted by her sister, she is excited about her collaboration with her roommates and friends, Bruce and Scott, as they prepare to open their new location of Amethyst Cellars and an in-house restaurant. Their anticipation comes to an abrupt end when they find the bank vice president dead in their newly acquired building. At first it looks like Virginia Frisbie had an unfortunate fall, but coroner Joe Bradley soon determines that foul play is involved. What could the well respected Virginia have gotten herself into just weeks before her retirement? Grace and crew uncover Virginia’s secrets and find themselves in some danger along their way.
I really like this series. The recurring characters are complex and realistic. Grace is obviously intelligent and uses her logical mind to solve murders. Her moral compass is strong, and I find her quite relatable. I would enjoy being Grace’s friend. Her strong character makes her sister and aunt seem all the more deplorable. Liza is one of the most unpleasant, manipulative characters in the cozy genre, and I hope this is the last we see of her. The subplot involving Liza and Aunt Belinda is interesting and adds a nice layer of intrigue to Grace’s personal life. Her budding relationship with Joe and the revelations about his past give depth to story, although I do find his back-story a bit over the top. I do hope they continue on as a couple. The whole cast of recurring characters is wonderful, too. Bennett is as charming as ever, and Frances continues to attempt to hide her heart of gold with a brusque nature. Squatter Oscar is also worth mentioning. I am anxious to see what role he plays in future adventures.
The “why” of Virginia’s death is fairly easy to figure out. However, her partner in crime’s real identity caught me by surprise. As usual, the peril Grace faces in the climactic scene of the book feels authentic and plausible.
I highly recommend Grace to the Finish, and the entire Manor House Mystery series, to any cozy reader who likes a little edge to the action and smart characters. Fingers crossed that there will be many more adventures with Grace.