Death at the Manor – Book Review

A Lily Adler Mystery #3 by: Katherine Schnellman
Published on: August 9th, 2022

“Apparently, it wanders the halls of Belleford at night. Half their servants have quit in fear…” – Matthew Spencer.

Ghosts and murder. The latest book in the Lily Adler series turns slightly gothic when visiting her aunt in Hampshire. While there she learns that Belleford manor is haunted. Members of the family and staff having seen the vision of a “Grey Lady”. Rather than the family attempting to distance themselves from these rumors, they instead are promoting it and enjoying the notoriety. Mr. Thomas Wright, the son of the house, talks of giving tours. Thinking a tour might be a bit of fun, Lily and her friend Ofelia decide to visit Belleford and figure out the mystery. But while there the unexpected and unexplained death of Mrs. Wright, Thomas’s mother, occurs. Everyone, but Lily, believes it is the Grey Lady who has killed her.

What I liked about the book is how it felt like a traditional mystery to solve. The murder or death appears to be within a locked room with an old, rundown manor with limited servants. So while Lily and her gang attempt to get to know all the circumstances of who and why someone might want to kill Mrs. Wright, there is also the struggle of how it occurred at all.

I also appreciated how the story used multiple individuals to dig into the circumstances and find clues. Even though it is a Lily Adler mystery, it really a group effort and it helps give the story a more well-rounded feel. No one person can do it all, and although Lily is capable, the narrative uses everyone’s strengths to help find answers.

Death at the Manor clearly glides into a gothic direction with a potential haunting of Belleford. But while the story goes in that direction, it never feels truly gothic. Gothic stories generally have a ghostly or haunting type of presence, but they also build an atmosphere within the storytelling that leads credibility to the presence. Even though Belleford has a reported ghost, the atmosphere of the book continues to feel more traditional/cozy-mystery instead of gothic mystery. Still, a potential ghost is always a win for me and I appreciated the addition because of how it added to the overall mystery.

Rating: 3.75 stars