Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Mystery of Montague House, the brand new mystery novel from Emma Davies. I loved the look of this book when I first saw the cover and was delighted when I was invited to review. My thanks to the author for the #gifted copy of the book. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
When Summer meets Wynter…
With enough rooms to fill a Cluedo board several times over, Montague House has often been the subject of rumour and gossip. Tales of strange goings on, an owner who disappeared one day and was never seen again, not to mention the treasure that rumour has it lies at its heart… But now the present owner has died and the house is to be sold. It looks as if the opportunity has come to finally settle the stories once and for all.
Clodagh Wynter doesn’t believe in ghostly goings on and tall tales of secrets. She has her feet very firmly on the ground and, tasked with the job of valuing and cataloguing the house and all its contents, she’s simply looking forward to working in such a glorious setting. And if she happens across a priceless painting, well, that’s just icing on the cake.
Andie Summer is a Finder of Things and desperately needs this job; she’s down to her last few tins of baked beans. So looking for hidden treasure sounds right up her street, even if there was something very fishy about the mysterious Mr Mayfair who hired her. Because it’s just like she said to her faithful Basset Hound, Hamish; I saw something out of the corner of my eye as I was leaving, and you know what that means. It’s never good news when I see something out of the corner of my eye…
As the unlikely pair are thrown together, it soon becomes very clear however that they are not the only ones searching for the treasure. And they’re going to need all their ingenuity, resourcefulness, not to mention chocolate biscuits, if they’re ever going to untangle the web of secrets that surrounds Montague House. One that reaches even further than they ever thought possible…
If you are looking for a cosy crime book that is full of mystery and a whole lot of fun then look no further – The Mystery of Montague House could well be that book. Introducing Andie Summer and Clodagh Wynter, the book kept me thoroughly entertained from start to finish with a story that is part ghost story, part treasure hunt with a bonus Basset Hound to boot.
We join the story just as Andie is being hired for her somewhat unusual services in order to try and ascertain whether a property which has been left intestate really is home to a mysterious treasure. Rumours of its existence are rife in the local village, and with a previous owner having disappeared in mysterious circumstances, it is no wonder. Andie has certain unique skills which make her the perfect person to determine if there is any truth to the legend and she could certainly use the paycheck. It is on her first day on the job that she meets Clodagh Wynter whose Auctioneer house has been engaged to value and sell the contents of the house. Both women are determined to uncover the treasure, but it appears they are not the only ones and so, with safety in numbers, they join forces to uncover the secrets of Montague House.
I really liked the character of Andie, warming to her right away. She is down to earth, uncomplicated – which is strange to say given her chosen calling – and as far from the uptight Clodagh as you could imagine. Andie is the kind to recycle her cleanest clothes between washes, Coldagh the kind who you could easily imagine being on the verge of a coronary if even a single hair on her head was out of place. Andie is free spirited, Coldagh reserved, but they both bring out the best in each other. It took a little longer to warm to Clodagh, but you can tell from the off there is more within her if she would just let go. And boy do they both have to let go to solve this particular riddle.
Now the story is packed with the kinds of chills that you would expect from a house the size of and with the history of Montague House. Rumoured secret treasures, missing people, creaking staircases and the kind of mystique and grandeur that put me really in mind of many a National Trust property. Emma Davies really has done a good job of setting this scene for this story, creating a vivid image of the house and it’s grounds in my minds eye. And the atmosphere she creates is just right, creating that prickling sensation in the skin and sense of intrigue from the off. It’s not just the question of what happened to the former owner, but who, or what, could be trying to scare the two women in the here and now.
Nothing in this book is going to scare the bones out of you, although you may find that you want to double check your bed sheets before hopping in once you’ve read it as there is one scene that is bound to make you shudder. But Andie’s gift for finding things and people takes away some of the darker side of what happens as her empathetic nature allows readers to see things from a very different angle. I will say that I kind of half guessed the why and wherefores from the carefully created trail of clues that the author laid out, but not the full picture until somewhere near the end when one final piece of the puzzle was offered up. But by this stage I was enjoying the story so much I had to see if Clodagh and Andie could come good and just what the final mystery was that Montague House had left to offer up.
If you are looking for a fun, feel good, cosy crime with great characters, a plot full of mystery and brilliant scene setting the do give this a try. I’m looking forward to seeing where the author might take this series as it could definitely be a lot of fun.
About the Author
After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty-something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a fifty-something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.
After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband and three children in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life.