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28 November 2016

Rambling About.. Aunt Bessie Assumes by Diana Xarissa

Title: Aunt Bessie Assumes
Author: Diana Xarissa
Publication: 21 May 2014 -- Amazon Digital
Amazon Description:
Aunt Bessie assumes that she'll have the beach all to herself on a cold, wet, and windy March morning just after sunrise, then she stumbles (almost literally) over a dead body.
Elizabeth (Bessie) Cubbon, aged somewhere between free bus pass (60) and telegram from the Queen (100), has lived her entire adult life in a small cottage on Laxey beach. For most of those years, she's been in the habit of taking a brisk morning walk along the beach. Dead men have never been part of the scenery before.
Aunt Bessie assumes that the dead man died of natural causes, then the police find the knife in his chest.
Try as she might, Bessie just can't find anything to like about the young widow that she provides tea and sympathy to in the immediate aftermath of finding the body. There isn't much to like about the rest of the victim's family either.
Aunt Bessie assumes that the police will have the case wrapped up in no time at all, then she finds a second body.Can Bessie and her friends find the killer before she ends up as the next victim?
First Lines: Elizabeth Cubbon, known as Bessie to her friends, rubbed her eyes and checked the clock by her bed. It was 6:06, which meant her internal alarm was a few minutes off today.

Favorites on 4s:
4%: Bessie drew herself up to her full height of five feet, three inches and glared back at the man. "I'll thank you to keep you sexist and ageist remarks to yourself, young man," she told the policeman.

34%: 'Obviously, a murder investigation is no place for a random civilian, but you're something of an institution in Laxey. If anyone is going to hear that little bit of information that we need, it's you."

64%: After ten rings she decided she had better answer the call. Anyone that was willing to hang on that long deserved an answer.

74%: "Someone was trying to get rid of you and I want to make sure that whoever it was doesn't get a second chance."  Bessie nodded sleepily. She tried to thank the inspector, but actually making words felt like a huge effort.

I'm so horribly glad that I stumbled upon Diana Xarissa's Aunt Bessie series while in a mad search for an author whose last name begins with X ... and who isn't writing erotica or Chinese. (Not that I have anything against the Chinese ... I just wasn't in the mood.)
Set in the village of Laxey on the Isle of Man, Aunt Bessie Assumes is the first in a series starring elderly spitfire Elizabeth Cubbon. She never married or had children of her own but over the years has become the honorary aunt to pretty much anyone and everyone. She's fiercely independent and set in her ways and absolutely adores reading mystery novels.
There's so much to love about this story beyond Bessie herself.
- The setting is an unusual one -- and not one that I can ever recall having read about in the past. This, of course, led me to hours of oohing and aahing and "oh I want to go there now"-ing on the web -- including finding a list of other books set there.
 - Bessie's friends and neighbors are an absolute delight. The young policeman, Hugh, who used to stay at Bessie's as youngster and is temporarily back under her roof is a particular favorite of man.  I've been marathon-watching past seasons of Gilmore Girls and there's just something very "Kirk"-ish about him.
- The mystery itself was nice and fits the "cozy" niche well. There's nothing too strenuous here and plenty of red herrings to make you scratch your head. The who, why and how all tied up nicely and made sense -- which isn't always the case. (I hate it when the bad guy is revealed and you end up going "but ... how the heck?!?")
All in all, more people should be reading Xarissa! She's got oodles of books listed on Goodreads and I'll definitely be working my way through at least all of the ones with Aunt Bessie!

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