Recently widowed military wife Dotty Sayers is happy with her new job at the auction house in the picturesque Cotswolds. She reluctantly agrees to take part in the Remembrance parade, an event to commemorate her late husband and other fallen heroes. But the parade ends on a bad note when an unknown soldier is found dead. Or rather, murdered.
Turns out, the victim was not a soldier. As Dotty helps the local police in appraising the objects found in the victim’s house, she learns of his various disguises. And the objects she’s asked to appraise turn out to be stolen goods. One man, many names and many disguises, what was the real identity of the dead man? Who wanted to kill him? Can Dotty unmask the killer without putting her life on the line?
Fake Death is the first book in Victoria Tait’s brand new cozy series – Dotty Sayers Antique Mysteries. Set in the picturesque Cotswolds, the series features Dotty Sayers, a young military widow who is trying to find her way in the world. Things are not easy for Dotty – she’s lived in a closed and controlled environment so far. First, her controlling father and after marriage, her late husband Al – both men have had a negative influence on Dotty and now that she’s a widow and ‘finally free’, she’s trying to get out of her comfort zone and experience life as it should be.
Dotty and her new-found friend/auction house co-owner Gilly Wimsey visit Gilly’s Aunt Beanie. Aunt Beanie tells them about a weird situation she encountered a few days ago. A man named Reverend Simms started visiting them and spent time with Aunt Beanie’s incapacitated husband Cliff. He promised to take Aunt Beanie’s homemade goodies to the harvest festival. A few days later, the vicar asks Aunt Beanie why she missed the local harvest festival and that is when Aunt Beanie realized Reverend Simms was an imposter.
Sarah Roberts is recently widowed and her late husband’s friend, Philip has come over to help out. Sarah has a huge collection of articles that can be auctioned off. And it is during the appraisal that Dotty and Sarah meet each other. Meanwhile, Dotty learns her late husband’s regiment will be merged with another and moved to Scotland. Before moving, the auction house where Dotty works is asked to appraise the regiment’s artifacts. The initial appraisal was done by Captain Ward – whom Dotty met when Colonel Sutherland invited her to his office to discuss about the regiment’s decision (of merging and moving.)
A local Duke is dead and the artifacts of his mansion are to be auctioned off. When Dotty and David visit the place, the caretaker says the Duke’s Victoria Cross has gone missing. The late Duke spent most of his final days with a doctor named Hugh Rash.
When an unknown soldier is found dead at the end of Remembrance parade day, his identity remains a mystery until the local police visit his house. Dotty is asked to appraise the objects found in his home and that is when she discovers the dead man had multiple personas!
Fake Death was an absolutely delightful, engrossing and completely enjoyable read. I was hooked on to the story and could not put it down until the end. What a terrific mystery! We have scandals, multiple personas, thefts and one thing connecting them all – an imposter!
I have followed Victoria Tait’s writing from the start i.e.; from the time she was a debut author, and I must say I am in awe! Honestly, I feel Fake Death is Victoria’s best work so far. More like, best of the best! Be it the character portrayal or the suspense or the setting, simply mind-blowing.
If you are a cozy mystery lover and are looking for a unique and absolutely engrossing mystery, you might want to give Fake Death by Victoria Tait a read. Believe me, you will not be disappointed. Oh, by the way, the story features a British Blue furry cat named Earl Grey. No cozy mystery is complete without a pet, what say?