Containing all the elements of a first-rate cozy mystery—animals, food, murder, mystery, quirky characters–The Silver Rose Dating Agency uses current events and daily life to spin a dark, but fun story.
Fun in the way that despite the obstacles and pitfalls the cast of characters navigate, the story doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Sixty-year-old Kitty Merriweather and Eighty-year old Edna Reid couldn’t be more different if they tried, but they do have one thing in common… they both lost their husbands within the last year. That alone pulled me right in, being a recent widow myself. The author did a wonderful job of keying into their fears, pain, and regret. It felt realistic and not overblown and schmaltzy.
But where Edna was pragmatic, Kitty was flighty. Determined to keep active after losing her beloved Ted and retiring from the café that had been her life’s work, Edna volunteered in the Hope Valley community, won awards for completing crossword puzzles, and on a lark joins the church choir. The wealthy Kitty had never worked and left her home in the city to take up residence in the estate in Hope Valley they’d planned to retire to because “that’s what Bob would have wanted.”
Edna becomes concerned with Kitty gets involved with a man through an online dating service. The octogenarian is not well-versed in computers or the Internet, but feels something is off with Kitty’s “relationship.”
Sleuthing around by asking questions, using online search engines, and her gut instincts, Edna believes Kitty’s long-distance paramour may be much closer to home than she realizes it. However, Kitty will not have any of it and continues with her online relationship, even going so far as to send “Harvey” money.
Edna is determined to identify the scammer but has too many suspects to chose from. The alcoholic choir director with a gambling problem; the village hustler in charge of the gambling, or the young man who works as Kitty’s gardener? Or someone else?
A tiny thread involving Kitty’s late husband could be key to solving the mystery… but not before someone commits murder.
Well-developed characters help this read hum right along. I loved Edna. Bold, witty, and sarcastic, she seldom held her tongue but was never rude or overbearing. I believe the more time the delicate, refined Kitty spent with Edna; she became more like her.
Although the main characters in the story are in their sixties, seventies, and eighties, dropping the ages by forty years wouldn’t change the story. While aging does bring its obstacles, life is still faced in much the same way, except, hopefully with much more wisdom. Just ask Edna.
When lonely widow Kitty Merriweather moves to Derbyshire’s Hope Valley, she joins the Silver Rose online dating site because it offers a safe place for the over sixties to find romance.
There, she meets the enigmatic Harvey, a scientist working on a conservation project in Bali who promises her “hot days and stormy nights.”
Love blooms quickly but Kitty breaks all the rules laid down by the agency, putting herself at risk. When little things don’t add up she dismisses them as being unimportant. Nothing matters more than her plans for them to live happily ever after.
When she confides in her new friend, Edna Reid, octogenarian and former café owner, Kitty gets angry at Edna’s implication she is likely the victim of a scam. The more Edna hears about Harvey, the more she is convinced he’s only interested in Kitty for her money.
Using her knowledge of computers Edna finally uncovers the truth, but where does black magic and murder fit into this intriguing cosy mystery?