Monday, November 30, 2015

Empty Nest by Marty Wingate - #Review #Giveaway

In Empty Nest, Julia Lanchester’s life is interrupted by a murder most foul—and a killer who’s watching her like a hawk.
Manager of a tourist center in a quaint British village, Julia Lanchester finds herself with more ideas than time. Her boss is the Earl Fotheringill himself, but apart from him, she doesn’t mix well with the aristocracy. Unfortunately, toxic mold forces her from her cottage and into one of the earl’s countless spare rooms at the Hall. She tries to get a handle on her overload of work, while she finds herself arguing with dinner guests, chaffing at the sudden interest the earl’s son has in running the estate, and missing her new beau, Michael Sedgwick.

Her life goes from bad to sinister when Julia discovers poisoned sparrowhawks on the expansive estate grounds. And soon after, she finds one of the Hall’s visitors murdered—felled by the same poison. While simultaneously both spooked and angry, she still can’t keep herself from snooping, and dragging Michael along into her investigation. But will she find the culprit before her own wings are clipped?



I first came across Marty Wingate's work with the first installment in the "Potting Shed Mysteries", The Garden Plot.  I was hooked!  I've been fortunate to read five of her titles now, including Empty Nest, the latest in the "Birds of a Feather Mysteries" series.

Julia Lanchester is a great character.  I can see myself being pen pals with her.  She struck out on her own, after working with her father, a man of some renown, to become the manager of a tourist center.  I've learned a lot about the British way of life from Wingate's books, insofar as it differs from life here in the States...and it varies a lot!  Automotive references are just the start of differences:  'petrol' vs. 'gas', 'boot' vs. 'trunk'.  And they meet for tea the way we  'go out for coffee'.

But some things are similar.  Julia lives in Smeaton-under-Lyme, which to me is a rather unusual name for a town.  But what do I know.  I live in between Crab Orchard and Dog Walk in Kentucky!

Apparently the Earl of Fotheringill, who controls the land around Smeaton-under-Lyme and Hoggin Hall, has taken a shine to our Miss Lanchester, although whether that happened before her cottage was found to have mold and she needed to move into the Hall or she was invited to move in with the Earl (so to speak) because of the Earl's interest, it's hard to say.  Julia has a dilemma.  She doesn't want to (nor can she afford to, really) upset the Earl, but she already has a gentleman friend, Michael Sedgwick.

The Earl is a true 'English gentleman, in that his intentions toward Julia are entirely honorable, unlike some of the billionaires you may read about in romance books this side of the Pond.  But the Earl is not a billionaire and has been looking for ways to monetize the estate, and Julia has been doing a bang-up job of just that.

Cue the estranged son of the Earl, who suddenly comes home, and appears to take interest in the running of the estate.  (Does he fear that Julia might be pushing in on his territory?)  Well, there's more to the son's story than can be revealed in a review, but suffice it to say that Julia handles that situation with diplomacy and tact.

Thinking about the Brit-coms I adore, this kind of reminds me of "To the Manor Born" (with Penelope Keith).  I could totally see the "Birds of a Feather Mysteries" becoming a mini-series on the BBC.  That being said, I'm definitely (hoping and) looking forward to the next installment!



Marty Wingate is the author of two previous Potting Shed mysteries, The Garden Plot and The Red Book of Primrose House. Her new Birds of a Feather Mystery series debuted with The Rhyme of the Magpie. Wingate is a regular contributor to Country Gardens and other magazines. She also leads gardening tours throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and North America. More Potting Shed and Birds of a Feather mysteries are planned.



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Click the logo just above to go to the tour page where you will find more reviews, as well as interviews with the author, and guest posts!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)


  1. Another new=to-me author to try. Sounds like a great series.

  2. It's funny hearing you talk about the different terminology that the British use because that's the way I speak and find it strange that you do things the other way around! Also, I really like the last name Sedgwick!

    1. I get a chuckle too, Olivia-Savannah, when I realize sometimes we have to translate English into...English! *lol*