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by Julie Hyzy
Berkley, May 2010
320 pages
ISBN: 0425235211

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Grace Wheaton has always loved Marshfield Manor; it's been a place of pleasure and sanctuary for her since she was a child. It's her dream to work there, and she's living the dream. She's just been hired, still on probation, to be the assistant curator for this lovely manor house and grounds. There is resistance to her, and some of the other new blood, but if Marshfield is to survive then changes must be made.

Grace wants to keep the best of the old while still bringing Marshfield into this century. Not an easy task.

Her skills are almost immediately challenged when the curator, Abe, is murdered. There have been threatening letters. Just before Abe's body was found, a man made an enormous commotion in The Birdcage Tearoom. What is connected to the murder and what is not?

Meanwhile, Grace's roommates have a chance at getting their wine shop written up in a national magazine. How excited are they? Very.

Grace is juggling a lot. Her boss is mourning the loss of his best friend. Her secretary seems bent on sabotaging her every move. The hunky groundskeeper Jack Embers won't stay in any pigeonhole she tries to fit him into. In addition, there are family secrets that just won't stay hidden.

Hyzy is no novice. Her "White House Chef" series has been well received, by both critics and readers, as has her "Deadly" series. This experience serves her well in GRACE. Her sub-plots work well with the major focus. Her secondary characters are interesting and real, certainly capable of growing in future books. I am not totally sure that Hyzy has played altogether fair with the readers. The clues, in retrospect, seemed very teensy. Perspicacious readers of the genre may be able to come to the correct conclusion, but I think it would be a stretch, even for the canniest. I'm the first to admit that I've been wrong before. I found GRACE UNDER PRESSURE to be an enjoyable read, and I will look forward to more in the series. Grace Wheaton is a character I'd like to follow for a long time.

P.J. Coldren lives in northern lower Michigan where she reads and reviews widely across the mystery genre when she isn't working in her local hospital pharmacy.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, June 2010

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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