A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Aunt Dimity & the Widow's Curse- by Nancy Atherton- Feature and Review


Nancy Atherton's twenty-second cozy mystery in the beloved, nationally bestselling Aunt Dimity series.
It's early April in the small English village of Finch. Lori Shepherd's husband and sons are spending Easter break camping, and Lori is perfectly happy to be left at home with Bess, spared a week of roughing it with a curious toddler. The two attend a village events committee meeting and Lori is astonished when the elderly, soft-spoken widow Mrs. Annabelle Craven stands to make an announcement: she's decided to hold a quilting bee in the old schoolhouse.
At the quilting bee, Lori ends up seated beside Mrs. Craven, delighted at the opportunity to learn more about her neighbor's life in the village of Old Cowerton. But dear, sweet Mrs. Craven's stories reveal a startling secret about her first husband's death.
With Aunt Dimity's advice, Lori sets out to learn the truth about what the residents of Old Cowerton refer to as the "widow's curse"--and the deeper she digs, the more horrifying the tale becomes, until she discovers the most astounding revelation of all.



Aunt Dimity and the Widow's Curse (Aunt Dimity Mystery)Aunt Dimity and the Widow's Curse by Nancy Atherton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aunt Dimity and the Widow’s Curse by Nancy Atherton is a 2017 Viking Books publication.

Another wonderful visit with Lori and the gang in the friendly, but gossipy, village of Finch!!

I know I’ve told this story before, but Aunt Dimity is a special series for me. It is the first ‘modern’ cozy series I ever read. I usually grabbed the darkest, most twisted mystery/suspense novels on the market, but I received an ‘Aunt Dimity’ book as a gift, and eventually, mostly out of pure, and quite skeptical, curiosity, I finally decided to give it a try.

I’ve been a cozy mystery fan ever since. This series still remains one of my favorites, and is always consistent, never losing its charm, even after twenty-two installments!

In this chapter, Lori’s elderly friend and champion quilter, Mrs. Craven, makes a startling confession to Lori, that has her very worried. Concerned, Lori and Bree, set off to Old Cowerton, looking for proof to back up Mrs. Craven’s claims, and will have you asking, ‘How well do I really know my neighbors?’

The author immediately puts me into a Cotswolds state of mind in the first chapter, reacquainting me with the village regulars, and reminding me of the quirky, but wonderful, homey, sense of community that Finch offers.

From there, we learn Bob and the boys are camping, which leaves Lori free to pursue her ‘case’ at Aunt Dimity’s urging.

For those of you, who follow this series, you know that these mysteries are not the traditional murder variety, and are usually more about the characters, but does indeed solve a mystery along the way. While, Lori’s amateur sleuthing skills are a bit unconventional, they eventually get the job done, with the help of 'Aunt Dimity'.

*It's not absolutely necessary to read the series from start to finish to enjoy the later installments. I've skipped around quite a bit myself, but I would check out a few older installments for background so you will understand the characters and setting more.

I especially enjoyed this installment, which calls attention selfless acts of kindness, which often pays off in ways we never thought possible. The characters Lori and Bree meet in Old Cowerton, were well drawn, and the plot is rich with deceptively benign details, that come together quite nicely.

There are some laugh out loud moments, some girl bonding, and a host of interesting characters to round out the puzzling mystery behind the seemingly angelic, Mrs. Craven. The story ends with a nice warm and fuzzy feeling, but, as always, I’m always sad to have to end my visit with these characters, all of whom feel like old family friends.

So, until next time…




Nancy Atherton is not a white-haired Englishwoman with a softly wrinkled face, a wry smile, and wise gray eyes, nor does she live in a thatched cottage behind a babbling brook in a tranquil, rural corner of the Cotswolds.

She has never taken tea with a vicar (although she drank an Orange Squash with one once) and she doesn't plan to continue writing after her allotted time on earth (though such plans are, as well all know, subject to change without notice).

If you prefer to envision her as an Englishwoman, she urges you to cling to your illusions at all costs -- she treasures carefully nurtured illusions. She also urges you to read no further.

Because the truth is that Nancy Atherton is a dark-haired American with a generally unwrinkled face, a beaming smile, and hazel eyes, who lives in a plain house in Colorado Springs. She comes from a large, gregarious family (five brothers and two sisters!) and enjoys socializing as much as she enjoys solitude.

So if you are looking for her at a convention, don't look for a stately grande dame in a flowery dress. Look for a woman in jeans and sneakers who's bounding around like a hyperactive gerbil.

That'll be her. And she'd love to meet you.

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