Grace Under Pressure by Julie Hyzy
Published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin
The first book in the Manor of Murder Mystery series
All Grace’s life, she has dreamed of working at Marshfield Manor. She is finally the assistant curator and at this point, it is really the only thing she has going for her, after losing her mother to cancer and her fiance to someone else in quick succession. She loves her job and her roommates, even if money is still a bit tight and the roof needs replacing. All things considered, things are going well over all. Until, that is, the head curator of Marshfield Manor is killed in the private quarters during a disturbance downstairs. Now Grace must step into two new roles: running the manor as head curator, and trying to solve a murder, before anyone else is targeted.
Grace is a fabulous character, tough, yet vulnerable. Great at her job, but a little bit hopeless in her personal life. She is so engaging that I fell immediately under her spell, completely identifying her and rapt by the things that were challenging her. The mystery itself was well-constructed, with sufficient clues that I did not feel the answer came out of nowhere, but enough intrigue and suspense that I did not guess the perpetrator before Grace did.
I very much enjoyed the first two books I read in Hyzy’s White House Chef series, but good as they were, I think that Grace Under Pressure is that much better. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Grace Interrupted which is out in June of 2011.
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