Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy was an impulse buy for me. I had not read any of her other books, but liked the cover and thought I would give this one a try. It was money well spent.
Grace Wheaton has always loved Marshfield Manor, the 150-room mansion in her hometown of Emberstowne. After returning home to take care of her ill mother, she takes a job at the assistant curator at the Manor. The story opens with a wild man rampaging through the tearoom in search of a hamburger. Grace handles this situation with, well quiet grace, but she is soon rattled by the shooting death of the curator. Was the crazed hamburger man, just a coincidence or a distraction to give the murderer his opportunity to kill? With the curator gone and everything in an uproar, Grace steps up to the plate to keep everything running smoothly and help the authorities solve the case.
Grace must deal with a staff that is not sure they can trust her, including an assistant who is not only convinced she can do better than Grace, but is also a top busybody. There’s a crazy private investigator who keeps sneaking in and out of the manor and a hotel guest who is not only out to stick the manor for an expensive hotel stay, but is intent on scamming Grace’s two roommates who own the local wine shop.
There is a great deal going on in this book. Grace not only has to figure the secrets of Marshfield Manor but must solve some family secrets as well. Some reviewers have complained that the pacing in this book was too slow. I believe it is just right. It’s not an on the edge of your seat thriller, but it is a very nice cozy read. Things move along at just the right pace to keep the reader interested without moving so quickly that details get lost.
I’m looking forward to learning more about Grace, Bennett Marshfield – owner of Marshfield Manor and the other residents of Emberstowne.