Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. Murder at the Bellamy Mansion. Greensboro, NC: Magnolia Mysteries, 2009.

What woman wants her honeymoon cut short?!?  The Wilkes sister–Ashley and Melanie–both experience this unhappy turn of events.  Melanie’s husband, Cam, is called away from his seaboard honeymoon by the theatrics of his elderly mother, whose heart conveniently acts up just as he and Melanie are enjoying some marital bliss.  For Ashley and Jon the event that calls them back to Wilmington is far more serious.  Their company has been hired to restore the belvedere on the Bellamy Mansion.  When their general contractor is at the mansion assessing the condition of the windows on New Year’s Day, he is shot by a sniper.  He survives, but his shooting is just one of the crimes or controversies focused at the mansion.  Although Ashley has the contract to work on the mansion, Melanie becomes involved when a wealthy (and thoroughly unlikable) foreign client wants to purchase the mansion. Wait, the mansion is not for sale. Well, maybe it is.  It seems that liens relating to the mansion’s construction in the 1860s have just surfaced, and a local lawyer (who happens to be the estranged nephew of the assaulted contractor) is hellbent on collecting on that old debt.

As in the previous novels in this series, the friends and relatives of the sisters have their parts in the action.  Ashley’s ex-husband, homicide detective Nick Yost, and his partner are investigating the shooting (the fraught conversations between Ashley and Nick are possibly the best scenes in the book), and Aunt Ruby is roped into arranging the wedding of the sister’s newly-discovered half-sister, Scarlett.  Wilmington itself is a character, and a nice mix of Wilmington history and more recent economic and social issues figure in the plot.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coast, Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

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