Title: Murder at the Brightwell (Amory Ames #1)
Author: Ashley Weaver
Published on: 14th October 2014
Genre: Crime and Mystery
Amory Ames is a wealthy young woman who regrets her marriage to a playboy, Milo Ames. When Gil Trent, Amory’s ex-fiance` asks her to accompany him to the Brightwell Hotel to break his sister Emmeline’s engagement with a playboy Rupert Howe, Amory says yes.
As the duo reach Brightwell Hotel, people give them a look that says, “We know of Milo’s adventures and now you too, Amory?” A day later, Rupert is found dead. The police believe that he was murdered. Gil is arrested for the murder based on an eyewitness’ account. Milo arrives at the hotel unexpectedly. Amory is now torn between saving her ex-fiance and rekindling her marriage with Milo.
Murder at the Brightwell is the first book in the Amory Ames mystery series. The story starts with Milo’s unexpected return to the Ames house. Amory is unhappy with her husband. He’s well known in the gossip columns for his trysts and gambling. Although it was a whirlwind romance leading to marriage, the spark of love was soon extinguished. The butler announces that there is a man waiting in the hall to meet Amory. The man is none other than Amory’s ex-fiance, Gil Trent.
As the duo reach Brightwell Hotel, tongues wag. Amory and Gil are assumed to be lovers. When Rupert is murdered and Gil is arrested for it, Amory decides to snoop around and prove his innocence. With Milo’s unexpected entry, and he trying to rekindle their almost failed marriage, Amory is now confused. Is this one of Milo’s tactics? Or, has he really changed for good?
There are many characters in this story and each of them play a very interesting role – Hamiltons, Rodgers, Olive, Rupert Howe and Emmeline to name a few. The mystery behind the crime was interesting. Though Rupert was known for his playboy tactics, who would have wanted him dead? Amory is a sweet, kind and intelligent. The poor thing is really confused about her feelings. Cannot blame her for it, as she realized it a tad late that her husband was more of a ladies’ man. With her ex back in the picture, what would she do?
Milo’s role was interesting too. As a husband, he cared for Amory. At the same time, there was something secretive and mysterious about him. As Amory and Milo join hands to solve the crime, the readers are reminded of Tommy and Tuppence. Since I read book #5 – An Act of Villainy – a couple of months ago, I knew how the Ames’ relationship would turn out to be. This being the first book, I was really looking forward to know what caused the rift in their relationship and how they managed to make amends.
The one thing I have observed in the stories set during the 1930’s is the character’s love for smoking. In this book, there is a scene where Amory cannot sleep so she wakes up at 2 in the morning and notes down some points pertaining to the case. Milo is up too, and the first thing he does as soon as he gets off the bed is smoke. At 2 in the morning! Throughout the story, there are instances where one or the other character asks for a lighter or starts to smoke during a conversation. I find it this tad amusing – Coffee (sleep destroyer!) and smoke after dinner, followed by a nightcap. Maybe this was the routine that was followed during those times.
Overall, as a series debut, this book has done its job charming the readers. The identity of the killer was totally unexpected. The story is well-paced and keeps one hooked onto it until the end. The Amory Ames mysteries is now at book #6 so this tells a lot about the charm and the mystery factor, doesn’t it?
Thank you, NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased review.