Dear Ms. Belmond,
Reading “A Rather Lovely Inheritance” was kind of like stepping back in time and enjoying something by Mary Stewart. You know, one of her 50s and 60s mystery stories when the heroine gets swept up in something she never expected that’s kind of glamorous and a teensy bit dangerous and at the end, she finds romance when she didn’t expect it. I haven’t read anything like it in quite a while and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Penelope Nichols (who’s always eventually called Penny Nichols by everyone she knows just because they can’t resist the name) is surprised to learn that she’s been included in her great aunt Penelope’s will. Penny only vaguely recalled the older woman and hadn’t seen her in years but when the wills (English and French) were read, Penny ends up being something of an heiress. In addition to a Belgravia apartment, she’s inherited the garage and all its contents of her great aunt’s Riviera villa. The rest of the loot has been divvied up between two other cousins but even before the reading is over, everyone knows there’s going to be trouble. It doesn’t take long for one cousin to unearth the dirt about the other and soon everyone is zipping all over France and Italy untangling decades old relationships, secrets and mysteries. And when the dust finally settles, more might be at stake than just money.
Penny is a delightful heroine. She’s an American who has always been a little overawed by her English relatives and when she inherits this beautiful old English flat and a fabulous vintage 30s car, she’s a little overwhelmed but determined to have some fun. Who wouldn’t enjoy the unexpected chance to rattle around London then fly off to the sunny Cote d’Azur? And when one cousin decides not to play fair, she gets to sleuth and plot a heist of her own. All the while dragging along a handsome guy she has the hots for. I was a bit disappointed in the tacked on separation bit at the end but overall, I’d give this one a strong B grade.