Three Point Five Stars
The Golden Hour is book #4 in the Nora Tierney English mysteries.
Surrounded by a large cast of characters, Nora and her boyfriend Detective Inspector Declan Barnes are entangled in a complex plot involving Russian art and a deadly virus, all set in some of England’s finest tourist landscapes.
A mother and a children’s author, Nora currently lives in the Lake District, but has plans to move to Oxfordshire. This book continues with Nora as an amateur sleuth alongside the English police force as they expose the criminals in a series of deadly crimes.
I would describe this as old fashioned style of crime writing, with a slower pace, for those who want a cosy fireside read. As I said earlier, there is a large cast of characters, but a handy list naming them can be found at the front of the book, along with a map showing the main locations in the story.
Although the writing style is relaxed, I did find the plot was further slowed by determinedly nostalgic motifs, eg: fish and chips, the traditional English pub and a stereotypical view of the landed gentry. I felt the author wanted the reader to see England through rose-tinted glasses, which is fair enough, but it was a bit too unrealistic and bore little resemblance to how England really is today. However, I do give a nod to the author for choosing this style; it could be seen as an homage to crime writers like Agatha Christie, and in some ways it was a welcome change from the violent dark crime currently flooding today’s bookshelves.
Recommended for those who enjoy a dose of nostalgia with their crime solving.
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Nora Tierney can’t shake the feeling she has a stalker. While she’s house hunting in Oxford, her partner, DI Declan Barnes, untangles the murder of an art conservator. When these situations collide, she finds herself fighting to save her child and their future.
About the author
Marni Graff is the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. Her first novel, THE BLUE VIRGIN, won First Place for British Cozy in the Mystery and Mayhem Awards from Chanticleer Media. Her newest, THE GOLDEN HOUR, takes Nora to Brighton, Cornwall and Bath, where a stalker turns deadly serious in Nora’s life just as her partner investigates the murder or an art conservator. These two threads are interwoven frame the new book, one author Ausma Khan calls “. . . a meditation on love, loss and motherhood, THE GOLDEN HOUR blends touchingly real domesticity with tongue-in-cheek humor, as the backdrop to a tale of art theft, germ warfare, and international conspiracy.”
Set in the UK, Graff’s English series follows an American children’s book writer as she manages to involve herself in police investigations. THE BLUE VIRGIN is set in Oxford, that hallowed mix of town and gown. THE GREEN REMAINS takes Nora to England’s glorious Lake District and also won Best British Cozy from Chanticleer Media. Book 3 in the series, THE SCARLET WENCH, debuted May 2014 is shortlisted for the same award. All three books are in Kindle editions and now on Audible listening books, too. Here’s what Editing Pen and Publishing had to say about the series: