Friday, August 06, 2010

Book Review: Grace Under Pressure

 Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy is the first in a series called A Manor House Mysteries. It’s what’s called a Cozy mystery. You can tell by the cover which shows what looks like an elegant tea room disrupted by a bullet hole in the window overlooking a lush green lawn. If not for the bullet hole, you’d think this a wonderful place to sip tea or coffee with friends. And it would be except…well…it’s a mystery and someone gets killed.

Grace Wheaton, second in command to the curator of Marshfield Manor, is new to the job, but quite capable of stepping up when needed, taking charge, and even solving the murder. Not that that’s an easy job, mind you. Not only is there a murder, there are unsigned letters demanding money, a stalker, and secrets about the Manor that Grace isn’t privy to. Grace is indeed under pressure to uncover the murderer before she loses her job or gets killed or both.

In a way, Grace Under Pressure had the feel of a book set in a time of quiet elegance where people did indeed sip afternoon tea and women wore long dresses and gloves. But although Marshfield Manor is quiet (normally) and elegant, this is modern day and Grace not only has to solve the murder, she has to try to get the staff to move into the computer era, while she’s still dealing with the Manor’s secrets and secrets from her own past.

This was what I would call an easy read. The characters are likeable and multi-dimensional. The story flowed well. Nowhere did I get lost in the plot. There were enough twists and surprises to keep me reading. And although the mystery is resolved in the end, there are things unfinished that would make me want to read the second in the series.

I give Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy a:
(my rating for a new series or author that I’m glad I read and am looking forward to reading more)
FTC Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by Kaye Publicity, but that’s not why I’m recommending it, nor did it influence my review. I reviewed it because I liked the cover, I liked the characters and the plot was interesting. Okay, I also read and reviewed Grace Under Pressure because I’ve never been any place like Marshfield Manor. It would be cool to stay in a grand mansion and have the staff cater to your whims, sit in an elegant tea room and sip from pretty tea cups and eat finger sandwiches. I don’t mean sandwiches made of fingers. Maybe sandwiches made by fingers, but not with fingers between the crustless bread, instead of cucumbers and homemade mayo, or whatever they serve in elegant manors. They probably don’t serve mayonnaise. That sounds a bit “mundane” for such a place. Oh, dangit, now I’m hungry for white bread slathered with mayo. Excuse me…
TweetIt from HubSpot


  1. Fantastic cover, and the story sounds delightful. Also sounds like the protag has a job on her hands with the computer challenge. Thanks for letting us know about it Helen! I'll let others know about it as wel!.

    href="">Sylvia Dickey Smith

  2. Again I am not sure if I enjoyed the disclaimer or the review more. You obviously have such fun with your disclaimers. I, too, do not frequent places such as Marshfied Manor, but I did once take my mother to lunch at the Grand Hotel in Michigan. She was quite impressed that she had her very own waiter.

  3. Helen, your disclaimers are a hoot! This book looks like a good book and I love a reviewer who tells me they chose it for the cover. Why the heck not? Jan Morrison

  4. Maryann, that would impress me, as well!

    Jan, I have to admit, covers do influence me.

  5. Julie is a friend of mine on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog...great writer and a nice person, to boot! She also writes the award-winning White House Chef series. :)

  6. Sandwiches made with it!

    The book sounds like a good read. Thanks!

  7. I bow to the FTC disclaimer master!

  8. Great review. And I always love your disclaimers!

  9. Great review for a wonderful cozy murder mystery. The book cover is definitely eye catching. Your disclaimer, as always, was enjoyable too.

    Thoughts in Progress

  10. Thank you Elizabeth. I forgot to say she was the author of the White House Chef mysteries. She clearly is an accomplished writer because this was a smooth read.

  11. I would have commented earlier, but I had to go fix lunch first – being very careful to be sure there were no fingers in my sandwich.

    I enjoy reading your reviews for the disclaimer and the rating system as much as for the actual review.

    I like the book cover, too. This book sounds like a fun read.

  12. Sounds like an fun read -thanks for the review, I will be on the lookout for it!

    Nancy from Realms of Thought

  13. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

  14. I haven't read a mystery in a long time. I went through a big Agatha Christie phase. Thanks for the review.

  15. Well, that was a different sort of disclaimer. As far as the book goes, I like easy reads.

    Tossing It Out

  16. I like easy reads, too, Arlee. I also like reads that make my heart race. And reads that challenge me...and...all kinds of reads. Yay for books!

  17. Ah, now I have to go clean my computer monitor. I should not drink coffee while reading your posts ;-) You have a way with disclaimers, Helen.

    HearWriteNow & Blood-Red Pencil

  18. Sounds like a fun read...and in that house, they probably call may "aoli."

  19. Sorry about the monitor, Elle.

    What does "aoli" mean, Liza?

  20. Nice review, Helen.

    You know, you are going to have to gather up all your FTC Disclaimers and publish them in book form. They are always a riot.

  21. I ordered the book online after reading your review, got the book Monday, and read it yesterday. Your review is bang on- I got exactly what I expected from the book.

    And reading a book for the cover is not a bad thing, is it?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...