Murder at Wedgefield Manor (Jane Wunderly #2) by Erica Ruth Neubauer

In the wake of World War I, Jane Wunderly—a thoroughly modern young American widow—is traveling abroad, enjoying the hospitality of an English lord and a perfectly proper manor house, until murder makes an unwelcome appearance . . .

England, 1926: Wedgefield Manor, deep in the tranquil Essex countryside, provides a welcome rest stop for Jane and her matchmaking Aunt Millie before their return to America. While Millie spends time with her long-lost daughter, Lillian, and their host, Lord Hughes, Jane fills the hours devouring mystery novels and taking flying lessons—much to Millie’s disapproval. But any danger in the air is eclipsed by tragedy on the ground when one of the estate’s mechanics, Air Force veteran Simon Marshall, is killed in a motorcar collision.

The sliced brake cables prove this was no accident, yet was the intended victim someone other than Simon? The house is full of suspects—visiting relations, secretive servants, strangers prowling the grounds at night—and also full of targets. The enigmatic Mr. Redvers, who helped Jane solve a murder in Egypt, arrives on the scene to once more offer his assistance. It seems that everyone at Wedgefield wants Jane to help protect the Hughes family. But while she searches for answers, is she overlooking a killer hiding in plain sight?

Murder at Wedgefield Manor (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible) (AbeBooks)

I’ve read the latest Jane Wunderly mystery, Intrigue in Istanbul (Jane Wunderly #4) and decided to go back to the beginning and see how the series started. A few weeks ago I reviewed Murder at the Mena House (Jane Wunderly #1) and now I’ve finished the second book in the series. What did I think?

There were parts of Jane that were annoying in the first book that I found faded away in this book, and I enjoyed her unusual manner. She’s taking flying lessons while staying at Wedgefield Manor, where she and Aunt Millie are staying so Millie can spend time with her long-lost daughter. It doesn’t hurt that Millie enjoys Lord Hughes and his company, either.

Shortly after their arrival, a man who works for Lord Hughes is killed when his car crashes into a tree on the estate. Naturally, the dashing and secretive Mr. Redvers arrives to let everyone know of the death and that someone had cut the brake lines in the car. So once again, Jane and Redvers have a mystery to solve together, but they’ve got their work cut out for them. The house is filled with servants and guests coming and going. It also doesn’t help that they’re not quite sure if the man killed was the intended victim.

I liked Jane a lot better in this volume than the original mystery. She’s more likeable, more helpful, and thinks more like a detective, which helps when you’re trying to solve a mystery. I liked that she was sort of a daredevil in taking flying lessons, as it wasn’t common for many to do that during that time frame, much less a woman. I liked how the relationship with Redvers continues to grow in a natural way. I liked the fact that they worked with the police and weren’t antagonistic towards them, or that the police were made to seem like bumbling idiots. That always bugs me in a mystery.

There are great descriptions of the settings so you really get a feel for Lord Hughes’ estate, including various room and the gardens and estates as a whole. The descriptions are one of the reasons I enjoyed the first volume so much. It really brings 1926 England to life, just like the last book brought 1920’s Egypt in better view.

This was another solid entry in a series I’ve grown to admire. Now it’s on to volume 3 so I’m all caught up.

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