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Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree Hardcover – February 17, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
Book 16 of 20 in the Aunt Dimity Mystery Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After touring New Zealand in 2010's Aunt Dimity Down Under, amateur sleuth Lori Shepard returns to Finch, her Cotswolds village, in Atherton's entertaining 16th paranormal mystery. Lori's Boston Brahmin father-in-law, T. William Arthur Willis Sr., who's retired as head of the family law firm, has relocated to Fairworth House, an old estate, to be near his grandchildren and son and daughter-in-law. After much renovation, Lori helps her father-in-law to hire a live-in couple to cook and look after the grounds and to host a welcome party for the locals. When odd things begin to happen at Fairworth, including moving furniture and strange sounds, Lori turns to ghostly Aunt Dimity for assistance. Some readers may find the lack of murder and mayhem disappointing, but series fans will delight in the antics of familiar characters, in particular Finch's single ladies, and the charming portrayal of English village life. 5-city author tour. (Feb.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Nancy Atherton is the author of six Aunt Dimity novels: Aunt Dimity’s Death, Aunt Dimity and the Duke, Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed, Aunt Dimity Digs In, Aunt Dimity’s Christmas, and Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil (all available from Penguin). She lives next to a cornfield in central Illinois.

Product Details

  • Series: Aunt Dimity
  • Hardcover: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; First Edition edition (February 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670022438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670022434
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The two product descriptions, above, under Editorial Reviews do a very good job of describing the novel. I can't think of much else to add that wouldn't spoil the storyline.

I would like to point out that this novel is set in Finch, which means we see all of the local characters. Surprisingly, I found Peggy to be... less taxing than I expected. Which actually points to the comment I wanted to make about the series, particularly evident in this book -- the characters do grow and change. Lori is much less likely to just make wild assumptions about people and really works at keeping her accusations quiet until she has proof. Unfortunately, she still goes overboard with her imagination. And, as one who has read the entire series from the beginning, it gets a bit tiresome towards the end when you just *know* she's wrong. I'm aware that one of the selling points of a series like this is that you have some idea of what's going to happen (something usually mundane occurs, Lori gets all excited and convinced that there's some wild scheme afoot, Dimity and Bill try to rein her in, she discovers that the scheme is easily explained and she feels like a fool.) This novel follows the path set out by previous books and I admit I took a star off because of it. I wish it could be half a star -- I did enjoy the book quite a bit -- but I didn't "love" it.

If you are looking for an entertaining read and don't need a murder or explicit sex to be the major focus for the character interactions, I do recommend this series. Realistically, though, to get the most enjoyment out of this novel, do yourself a favor and start with the first book in the series. While you should certainly enjoy this one on its own, a sense of history in regards to the "peripheral" characters will only enhance the story.
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Format: Hardcover
Following some time in New Zealand (see Aunt Dimitry Down Under), Lori Shepard returns to her home village Finch in the Cotswolds. Meanwhile her affluent father-in-law William Arthur Willis Sr. has retired from the Boston based family law firm he ran for years and has moved nearby to spend time with his seven years old twin grandchildren, son and daughter-in-law.

Lori helps William hire a live-in couple Deirdre and Declan Donovan as cook and groundskeeper. She also assists her in-law with a meet the neighbors' party. However, strange things occur after Willis moved into Fairworth; the furniture moves and unexplained noises happen. Lori asks her amateur sleuth partner Aunt Dimity the ghost to help investigate what appears to be the paranormal. At the same time baker Sally Pyne returns from Mexico begging the American for help. In North America, she met Henrique Cocinero, who is coming to see her, but lied by telling him she is Lady Sarah of Fairworth House.

The latest Aunt Dimitry tale is more a comedy of errors looking at a Boston Brahmin invading an English village rather than a murder mystery. The story line is brisk and jocular as William the red Sox fan tries to help Lady Sarah pull off her ruse while his grandchildren know cricket not baseball. Fans will enjoy this lighthearted amusing paranormal cozy, but the bumps in the night (and day) are minor league compared to what Aunt Dimitry has dealt with in previous whodunits.

Harriet Klausner
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By Gail on February 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Though I have enjoyed all the Aunt Dimity stories, there is something about them taking place within the intimacy of the village of Finch. Loved that we saw more of favorite characters from past books, plus the addition of some interesting new ones. I found this book thoroughly delightful! I made myself put it down so it would last more than one day, but I eagerly finished it the very next day.
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Format: Hardcover
I love this series; it is like comfort food for me.

No matter how much Lori Shepherd says her instincts tell her something I have to giggle since her "instincts" have gotten her turned so far around, she never comes to the correct conclusion without the helpfulness of her friends and family, not to mention her dearest companion Aunt Dimity herself.

Since this is book number sixteen in the series, I recommend that you start at the beginning to find out who exactly Dimity is and how their lives are so intertwined, but I can assure you that each book is a delight and each builds on the next explaining their lives and the busybodies in the village of Finch.

Village living is never dull and Finch lives up to that saying when Willis, Sr. buys and refurbishes Fairworth House and Sally Pyne returns from her Mexican adventure with a reputation to live up to.

"There is nothing wrong with pretending to be someone else for a little while, is there?"

And off they go, the current inhabitants of Fairworthy, all trying to be someone or something that they are not. Each person has a secret and poor Willis, Sr, trying desperately to keep his wits about him and help the best doughnut maker in the area from having to leave the village out of sheer embarrassment and mortification.

Since patience is not one of Lori's virtues, everything comes to a head one night when she decides to stake out Fairworthy in hopes of learning what is really going on with the new help that Willis, Sr has hired. In so doing, all the secrets will become known and a new pact of friendship and respect can be forged. That is until the next round of gossip and backbiting can begin.
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