Despite a planned move, the mysterious death of photographer Bryn Wallace keeps American writer Nora Tierney glued to Oxford in order to clear her close friend, artist Val Rogan, who has been wrongfully accused of Bryn's murder. Or has she?
Nora quickly becomes embroiled in the murder investigation, much to the dismay of two men: Detective Inspector Declan Barnes, the senior on the case; and Simon Ramsey, the illustrator of Nora's children's book. Simon's efforts to save Nora from herself become increasingly frantic as Nora is forced to push her way into Declan's case, using her wits and her wiles to prove Val's innocence.
The first in a series of Nora Tierney mysteries based in the UK, The Blue Virgin is a compelling story of love and intrigue. Nothing, Nora learns, is what it seems, and even the most innocent of choices can lead to murder and revenge. Set in the ancient city of golden spires, the setting lends itself to mystery, as any Inspector Morse fan will agree. The novel is written in classic English style, complete with a cast of characters and chapter epigraphs that add to its literary feel.
©2010 Marnette K. Graff (P)2015 Marnette K. Graff
"The Blue Virgin flows like a river, smooth but powerful, with small streams feeding into the story, adding to the depth and richness.... The mystery is solid, and Ms. Graff's knowledge of Oxford comes through in the details without ever slowing the pace." (Author Ellis Vidler)
So book 1 sees Nora Tierney trying to help her friend Val Rogan after Val is accused of murdering her lover. Nora is an American writer living in Britain after her fiance dies in a plane crash. She is in the process of writing a childrens book about faeries which her friend Simon will illustrate. Nora is intent on proving Vals innocence, much to the consternation of Detective Barnes who is lead on the investigation. What can Nora do when all the evidence points to Val.
Having never heard of these before, I went in with no expectations and ended up really enjoying this. I'm a fan of a good murder mystery and am glad to say that this is one.
Nora is a great character. She is resourceful, willing to take risks and unafraid of diving right in. Her loyalty to her friends is what I admired most and her willingness to help anyone. I also liked Simon. He is a good guy and loves Nora, though while he knows she isn't ready for a relationship yet because of her fiance dying and her being pregnant, he is hoping she will come around to seeing him as more than just a friend. Then we have the enigmatic detective Declan Barnes. He is frustrated with Nora's interference but is also drawn to her. I'm so looking forward to seeing if they develop a relationship!!
In all, this is an entertaining and well written mystery. With plenty of suspects, an interesting story line and entertaining characters, this is a must read for fans of the cozy mysteries. I can't wait to dive into the next one.
The audio of this is read by Nano Nagle and while she has a good voice for Nora and plenty of tones for other characters, her biggest downfall is that she seems to take a breath at the wrong time in a sentence and emphases words more than she should. I found myself frustrated while listening and it took away from the story overall. Plus the editing wasn't great on the audio as the narrator repeated parts of sentences twice and stumbled over some words.
I really enjoyed this book so much! Nora is just such a delightful, perfectly mischievous, and likable protagonist. The story was well told, with just the right amount of clues- and I was guessing for most of the story (although I will confess, I did figure it out shortly before Nora did.) I look forward to more in this series!
Independent Scentsy Consultant
I really enjoyed this mystery, the narrator made the characters very lifelike and the author kept me guessing who the guilty party was up to the end of the book. I tend to solve mysteries a few chapters before the end but this one kept me guessing right up to our detecting heroine solves the case. A perfect splash of sorrow, romance and comedy made this an ideal listen.
Very well done.
The kept at a good pace.
She brought authentic realism to the story
Love the story. The author captured my attention from the beginning.
"loved everything about this story"
well written and smoothly performed
couldn't stop listening. great narrator sensitive to the story
can't wait for more
"Not a bad story"
Good detective book but the narration let it down badly. Good story line but the characters would never talk like that particularly the main detective.
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