What a delight to dive into the Nora Tierney English Mystery series by Marni K. Graff. The Golden Hour is book four in the series. Take a look below at the first three. For The Golden Hour, do not expect a fast-paced novel with lots of twists and turns. This is a lovely stroll through characters and setting, ambience and Englishness, and a high-stakes plot that takes it sweet time to ease you into the events until you are comfy and settled. Then it rears its dastardly head and will not let you put the book down until the last page. Yes it’s a slower-paced novel than your familiar and expected mystery. Whether it’s the intentional sentence length and structure or attention to innocuous and mundane activities (which I love and gives me a rich sense of place), the author presents a carefully written and solid plot with a good payoff at the end. I recommend starting at book one so you can get the full background of Nora and then prepare for the surprises that this book four has to offer. Graff always brings me a delightful time in England. Enjoy your visit!
Amazon’s blurb: Nora Tierney can’t shake the feeling she has a stalker. While she’s house hunting in Oxford, her partner, DI Declan Barnes, untangles the murder of an art conservator. When these situations collide, Nora find herself fighting to save her child and the family she’s trying to create.
Print Length: 297 pages
Publisher: Bridle Path Press; 1 edition (July 30, 2017)
Publication Date: July 30, 2017
Author info (from her website)
Graff is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press, an author’s cooperative based out of Baltimore, MD, and writes this crime review blog, Auntie M Writes. Also known as Auntie M, MK and Marnette, Marni grew up in Floral Park, NY. She currently resides in rural North Carolina, and lives on the Pungo River, part of the coast’s Intracoastal Waterway. Graff is the author of screenplays, stories, essays and poetry, in addition to the two mystery series. Her creative nonfiction was most recently seen in Southern Women’s Review, Fine Line Anthology and, and Shelf Pleasures. Her poem about Amelia Earhart in an anthology of poems dedicated to the pilot that is on display in Earhart’s hometown museum.
This Nora Tierney series was intriguing from the very first page. The protagonist, Nora Tierney, is strong yet vulnerable, determined yet sometimes unsure, and so very likable. Graff’s clean, uncluttered style is smooth and polished, and there are no irrelevant details or conversations. The omniscient point of view leads us into the minds and hearts of all the characters, even minor characters such as Robbie and Agnes. As character details, traits, and motivations flow off the page, one is unaware of the moment they cease being characters and become people. The author’s sly technique of getting to know the victims at the beginning will tumble you into emotions when the story takes that turn and the murdered has been taken from you. The dialogue is excellent, and the crackly undercurrents of what is not being said are just as important. Each moment, such as when Simon and Nora are in the kitchen after a police visit discussing baby names, enhances the character, story arc, and relationship path. The exposition is artfully done — added here and there with enough spacing to enjoy the architecture of Oxford. The regional scenic descriptions are a sensory delight, and the smaller scenes are accessorized with sounds and smells to bring you fully into the room. I loved the attention given to Robbie, his mum, and the other side characters. Even smaller elements, such as leading me along with the baby naming, ended in delight and charm. The setting, ambiance, careful planning and foreshadowing, are so absorbing that when a shocking moment happens (and there are quite a few) you’ll hear yourself gasp into the quiet of your room. This is a series to start at the beginning and enjoy all the way to the end of Book Three. I loved every page of all three books. Hopefully there will be a Book Four. Ms. Graff has a new book out, Death Unscripted. While this one does not take place in England or Scotland (gasp), I will read it because I already know I will enjoy it. Give yourself a gift of a good read. You deserve it!
The mysterious death of Bryn Wallace draws American author Nora Tierney to Oxford to clear her close friend 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 Detective Inspector Declan Barnes and the illustrator of Nora’s children’s book, Simon Ramsey. Simon’s efforts to save Nora from herself become increasingly frantic as Nora is forced to use her wits and wiles to prove Val’s innocence.
American writer Nora Tierney is living at Ramsey Lodge in England’s glorious Lake District, anticipating two life-changing events: the publication of her first children’s book and the birth of her first child. Choosing a name for her son and checking proof pages with his illustrator, Simon Ramsey, fill her days–until a morning stroll along Lake Windermere leads her to discover the corpse of the heir to Clarendon Hall. When Simon is implicated in the death, Nora dives headfirst into the murder investigation to discover the real killer. As the body count rises, Nora and her unborn child will face risks and perils she could never anticipated in this second in a series of Nora Tierney mysteries.
In this, the third Nora Tierney mystery, American writer Nora is excited about the arrival of Grayson Lange’s Traveling Theatre Troupe who will put on Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at Ramsey Lodge. Her son now six months old, Nora must juggle parenting with helping her friend Simon Ramsey run the lodge. She’s also hoping to further her relationship with the only lodge guest not in the cast: Detective Inspector Declan Barnes, ostensibly there for a hiking trip. When a series of pranks and accidents escalate to murder, Nora realizes her child is in jeapardy, and is determined to help Declan unmask a killer.
Trudy Genova has the best job any nurse could want, working on set as a medical consultant for a movie studio. No more uniforms, bedpans or emergencies, until the actor whose overtures she’s refused dies suddenly while taping a hospital scene–but not before pointing his finger accusingly at Trudy. When detectives view Trudy as a suspect, she sets out on an investigation to clear her name. Then a second death occurs, and Trudy realizes she’s put herself in jeapordy.