[ARC Review] Death Comes to Dartmoor – Book Review

A Merriweather and Royston Mystery by Vivian Conroy
Published on:  August 13, 2019

Death Dartmoor

Death Comes to Dartmoor is the 2nd book in the Merriweather and Royston Mystery Series by Vivian Conroy. The story centers around the mysterious murder of a girl, whom the villagers immediately believe was killed by Merula’s and Raven’s current host, Oaks. Oaks is known for his house full of zoological specimens and its existence stirs fears, gossip, and rumors in the nearby village. Merula and Raven wish to help their host out and find the real culprit, so they use their knowledge, power and deduction to help find clues and whittle down the list of suspects.

For me, what always sets these type of mysteries apart from one another are two things: 1) are there other stories and plots occuring outside of the main mystery and 2) how is the mystery actually solved within the story – meaning is it just told to us or do we as readers get to look at the clues ourselves and make assumptions and guesses, even if the characters can’t hear our ideas.

In this story, there are additional stories or subplots that occur that help the readers take a mental break from the mystery at hand as well as help us get to know the characters better and what is important to them. In this book, this mainly includes a potential romance for Lamb and some clues to Merula’s parentage. I am always thankful when there are backstories and subplots in mysteries as it makes it more enjoyable for me and helps me to care more about the characters as well know who they in different situations.

As with any mystery story, writing a review can be difficult since you don’t want to spoil anything. So, what I will say is that I did enjoy the mystery as well as enjoyed seeing the world a little differently than how I see it in my 2019 eyes. We have so much knowledge and information now right at our fingertips, but at the time of this mystery there was still much learning occurring – in this case zoologically speaking – and no internet to help provide answers to questions that arise. As far as the mystery goes, the main issue that did call out to me as I read it was that toward the end of the story the main characters seemed to throw out random guesses at the potential culprit without any proof in the hopes to see what would stick. Although that kind detective work does occur, it seemed to happen too frequently within a short reading time span and the characters didn’t really have too much to go on when they did it. So, all in all I would have liked a little more ‘fact’ going into that section of the book.

This novel is a delightful read and one of the best things about this mystery is how easy it is to enjoy. This is what I call a Sunday afternoon read – it is pleasant, enjoyable, and entertaining. I hadn’t read the first in the series and there were at times I wished I had in order to help me understand the relationship between Merula and Raven better, but it never kept me from enjoying the book I do recommend this book and I myself will look forward to reading the next in the series.

Rating:  4.5

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