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The Hunt for Sonya Dufrette [Kindle Edition]

R.T. Raichev
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

At a house party on the day of the royal wedding in 1981, a little girl named Sonya Dufrette wanders off and is never seen again. Twenty years on, divorcee and librarian Antonia Darcy sets out to solve the mystery.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This auspicious first in a new mystery series from Raichev, a Bulgarian long resident in London, introduces a sympathetic sleuth, Antonia Darcy, an assistant librarian at London's Military and Naval Club, a divorced grandmother and aspiring writer. Twenty years after the Royal Wedding, Antonia sadly remembers the little girl of the novel's title, who disappeared the same day Charles and Diana were married in July 1981. Along with Sonya's parents, Antonia was on holiday at a country house on the Thames at the time the young girl went missing and was presumed drowned, her body never recovered. When Antonia discovers a detailed account of Sonya's disappearance that she wrote shortly after the tragedy, Antonia has a strong sense that something isn't right with her story and sets out to satisfy her nagging doubts—with the help of her admirer and willing assistant, widower Maj. Hugh Payne. Agatha Christie fans will find much to like in this traditional whodunit. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Antonia Darcy is both a mystery writer and a librarian. Working at London's tony Military and Naval Club offers her the opportunity to meet a widower, Major Payne, who is as sharp as he is attractive. Antonia will need his help as she sets about solving a 25-year-old mystery. It was the day of the royal wedding in 1981 when Antonia attended a house party in the English countryside. An autistic child went missing and was presumed dead when her doll turned up floating in a lake. But as Antonia searches her memory, she begins to put together pieces of a puzzle that don't quite fit. Raichev, Bulgarian by birth, writes the kind of old-school English mysteries that fans of Christie and Sayers love: plenty of Albion ambience, a cast of eccentric characters, and a dogged search for clues. But this will be pleasing to more than traditionalists, because it adds a P. D. Jamesian subtlety to the comfortable Christie formula. Antonia Darcy is a terrific sleuth, and Raichev is a very clever writer, indeed. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 327 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0786717343
  • Publisher: Soho Constable (June 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #901,585 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars R. T. Raichev delivers! January 22, 2007
English mysteries abound, so contributing an original, distinctive addition to the genre represents quite a feat. "The Hunt for Sonya Dufrette" meets the challenge thanks to the peppy, agile writing of author Raichev and his creative approach to formulating and solving a perplexing mystery about a young girl with developmental problems who, on the day Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer were married in 1981, was presumed drowned on a country estate and whose body was never found. Librarian Antonia Darcy -- one of the guests at the estate when the child disappeared all those years ago -- and her gentleman friend, witty Major Payne, investigate a multiplicity of leads to what might have really happened. Their sleuthing puts them in uneasy contact with the odd ducks (some of whom are Russian and Greek rather than English), who were also present on the estate that fateful day. The intricately plotted book peels off many secrets as it stretches for the finish line, culminating in a wily resolution. Raichev not only pays careful attention to constructing his mystery and his character portraits but also injects numerous literary references into the book's quick-witted conversations and sets scenes and ambience with precise word paintings. He handily manages to distinguish his mystery with a unique out-of-the-box presentation style; in other words, he wraps "The Hunt for Sonya Dufrette" in a beautiful bow of irresistibility. Well done.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flashbacks to the Royal Wedding August 14, 2006
Raiko Raichev's novel THE HUNT FOR SONYA DUFRETTE is the sort of book that you don't want to pick up unless you can read through the whole thing, so give yourself a bit of time. I didn't want to put it down and cancelled three other engagements to finish it. Antonia Darcy, formerly Rushton, is a sophisticated divorcee working on the staff of the Military Club in London, with a delightful son David and a cute little granddaughter. Something's missing from her life, however, something beyond her husband who left her a year or so ago for a girl the age of their daughter-in-law. One of the questions the novel asks is, how does one cope with complete and utter social humiliation? It's also about failed dreams, as in flashback Antonia remembers the day during which all around the world, millions watched the wedding of Charles and Diana on TV. Among the house parties was the one she attended at Twiston, during which a little retarded girl, Sonya Dufrette, disappeared.

A girl close in age to Antonia's own son. The grieving parents tear up the scenery, and the mother, a colorful Russian emigre, blames Antonia for the death. Now, twenty years later, and torn up by guilt, Antonia decides to re-read her own account of that trying weekend, and when she sits down with it (at her job, which I thought was a little lackadaisical) she comes up with some internal contradictions which call out for the deconstruction of detection! Luckily she has attracted a new admirer, Major Payne, a successful farmer and Military Club member and the two of them start investigating together.

I always love those books where people investigate crimes from way in the past (the locus classicus for me being FIVE LITTLE PIGS by Agatha Christie).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic with a twist March 30, 2009
What a pleasure to immerse oneself in this witty and refreshingly quirky classic crime novel. R. Raichev writes with verve and elegance, deftly leading us from one conundrum to another, creating an aura of intrigue and subtle excitement. The characters are strongly portrayed - ranging from the charming and reasonable to the wild, raddled and outlandish! Slick, stylish and enormous fun, this is a tale for the discerning and self-indulgent.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic mystery by a talented new author July 8, 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery by a first-time author. Drawn to the book by its dustwrapper depicting Ham House in England, I found the story line intriguing, the detective duo (Antonia and Major Payne, who become romantically involved as the mystery unfolds) sympathetic, and the dialogue witty. It was a pleasure to read, and I intend to get the future books in the series. Any fan of country house mysteries will like this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Found treasure for mystery lovers. June 12, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have absolutely no idea how this book came to my attention, but I'm sincerely glad it did. This is one of those rare treasure finds which end up being a favorite book. In fact, I'm now aware of the fact that there are others in this series and plan to read them also.

Probably best described as a classic mystery from my standpoint, it takes place in the present (2001) yet has the feel of the 1930's or 1940's. The author wove in all the modern technology and yet didn't take away the warm intimacy with the locations and characters. That's quite a feat, especially for the first novel in a series. The novel begins as Antonia Darcy realizes that it is the twentieth anniversary of two very important events; the royal wedding of the century and the disappearance of an eight year old girl from Twiston, the country house where Antonia was a guest. A vague uneasy feeling has always accompanied her memories of the disappearance of little Sonya Dufrette and now she thinks she might be going mad. Has she really begun seeing Sonya's father in London? Was that he who came into the library of the Military Club? Antonia wrote her experiences of that day soon after all the events took place and decides to read that account again to set these nagging doubts of what really happened to rest.

I would like to call this an old fashioned mystery except that all the events take place in very modern times. It did, however, appeal to me and satisfy me in the same ways as those classic works by authors such as Dorothy Sayers, Patricia Wentworth, Georgette Heyer and Agatha Christie. Antonia teams up with Major Hugh Payne in working out the details of what happened to Sonya. It certainly will be interesting to read in the next story how the mutual attraction between this divorcée and widower has progressed. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in a puzzle to be solved, but here done without bloody corpses scattered throughout the countryside.
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