Aunt Dimity and the Buried Treasure
By Nancy Atherton
May 24, 2016
21st installment of the cozy mystery series
In the small village of Finch, in a rural region of England’s West Midlands, the villagers’ curiosity over their new neighbors is getting out of hand. Boxes labeled “museum” are carried out of the Hobson’s moving van and spell all manner of trouble for this close-knit community. They immediately assume that the Hobsons wish to establish a museum, even though nothing has actually been stated. Being that there is a delicate balance of what is approved and what is not, this can be a problem for those that like having control of the business aspects of the village.
Rather than wait it out, they persuade Lori Shepherd and her adorable baby girl, Bess, to approach their new neighbors on their moving day. They cannot possibly handle the three-day good neighbor waiting period. They have to know now.
So good natured Lori knocks on the door and meets the retired school teachers. She is greeted by James and Felicity Hobson who have moved from their cottage on a cliff to the Ivy Cottage. Both are very friendly, intelligent, well-mannered even during their transition. What’s interesting about James is his love of metal detecting. It appears to be just what the villagers need to take their intuitive snoopy nature down a new path. After an introduction to the procedure, they take their turns searching for small treasures from the past. Each is tied to a memory which reveals sadness or happiness or a little white lie, but for a good reason.
Of greater importance is stepping in to attend to unfinished business. Those who have read the Aunt Dimity series are familiar with Lori’s special connection with her mother’s long departed friend. Having found what she believes to be a bracelet in the attic, Lori learns that it was a gift from a young man Dimity knew in London. Dimity would be extremely grateful if Lori could do her a little favor. She would like for her to see if her old friend is still alive and for her to tell him why she wasn’t able to fall in love with him. Her heart has no doubt been weighed down with guilt for not telling him the truth. Lori agrees to assist Dimity. With the help of a young college student, she begins her investigation. All she really has is the man’s nickname and the location of a café where they met during the war.
Nancy Atherton has a natural way of lifting you up and placing you in the English countryside. The book is character driven and I couldn’t see it any other way. She weaves her words carefully like a songwriter does with her lyrical arrangements. The meaning is not something you have to dig for, it’s obvious: about doing what is right for those you love. The book is filled with memories of the past that surface: twisted truths, or unspoken truths, or judgement that is harsh. Something simple and precious. The story is relaxed in how it moves from scene to scene. The reader is eager to learn if Lori can locate Dimity’s friend and actually hopes she does. As with every Atherton novel, I simply want to read the book and enjoy a hot cup of cherry tea and a poppy seed scone. Not a lot of adventure here, but a sweet tale. Worth reading and adding to your Aunt Dimity collection.
Four metal detectors out of five (the fifth was taken but no one will admit they have it)
June 18, 2016
Nancy Atherton is the bestselling author of eighteen other Aunt Dimity mysteries. The first book in the series, Aunt Dimity’s Death, was voted “One of the Century’s 100 Favorite Mysteries” by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
(Photo by Greg Taylor)