Aunt Dimity's Death (Aunt Dimity Series #1)

Aunt Dimity's Death (Aunt Dimity Series #1)

4.3 28
by Nancy Atherton

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Lori Shepherd thought Aunt Dimity was just a character in a bedtime story...

...Until the Dickensian law firm of Willis & Willis summons her to a reading of the woman's will. Down-on-her-luck Lori learns she's about to inherit a siazable estate--if she can discover the secret hidden in a treasure trove of letters in Dimity's English country cottage. What begins


Lori Shepherd thought Aunt Dimity was just a character in a bedtime story...

...Until the Dickensian law firm of Willis & Willis summons her to a reading of the woman's will. Down-on-her-luck Lori learns she's about to inherit a siazable estate--if she can discover the secret hidden in a treasure trove of letters in Dimity's English country cottage. What begins as a fairy tale becomes a mystery--and a ghost story--in an improbably cozy setting, as Aunt Dimity's indominable spirit leads Lori on an otherworldly quest to discover how, in this life, true love can conquer all.

Watch out for Nancy Atherton's latest, Aunt Dimity and the Widow's Curse, coming in May 2017 from Viking!

From the Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite its buoyant tone, this blend of fairy tale, ghost story, romance and mystery proves a disappointment. First novelist Atherton creates a potentially appealing heroine in bewitched and bewildered Lori Shepherd, but never places her in danger, thus sacrificing suspense. Recently divorced and newly bereaved by her beloved mother's death, Lori is scraping by as an office temp in Boston when she receives a letter from a Boston law firm informing her of the death in England of Miss Dimity Westwood. Lori is shocked because she had thought adventurous Dimity was her mother's fictional creation, the star of made-up bedtime stories. Courtly lawyer William Willis and his attentive son Bill inform Lori that Dimity left instructions that she and Bill go to her Cotswolds cottage to prepare a collection of ``Aunt Dimity'' stories for publication. They find the cottage haunted by the ghost of Dimity, who blocks their efforts to trace the secret of her WW II romance with a gallant flier. That all ends happily comes as a surprise to none but Lori. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Atherton's first mystery combines a strong sense of traditional English fare with an insistent gothic spirit. Suffering from her recent divorce, her mother's death, and an erratic income, Lori Shepherd receives notice from a prestigious Boston law firm that she must travel to England in order to meet the requirements of a will. While visiting her benefactor's ``haunted'' cottage with lawyer friend Bill, she uncovers important clues relating to a World War II mystery. Lightweight, nicely written material complete with a few heart palpitations.
Ilene Cooper
Lori Shepherd has been having a hard time. She's divorced, she's working as a temp, and, perhaps the worst blow of all, her mother has just died. As a girl, Lori used to adore the stories her mother told her about Aunt Dimity, who lived in England, but Lori always assumed Dimity was just a product of her mother's imagination. Wrong. To her amazement, Lori learns from representatives of an upper-crust law firm that there really was a Dimity and that, before her recent death, she assembled Lori's mother's stories about her into a book, for which she has asked in her will that Lori write an introduction. So it's off to Dimity's cottage in the English countryside, where Lori discovers 40 years of Dimity's and her mother's correspondence--in which it is revealed that they led very different lives than Lori would have dreamed. The tale doesn't even pretend to be probable, veering from a mystery to a ghost story in rather haphazard fashion. One wants to be stern, to point out the book's many improbabilities, e.g., the way the young scion of the law firm manages to drop everything and accompany Lori to England for a month, or the fact that Dimity's cottage is both the most charming in all of Great Britain and fully equipped with central air and a modern kitchen. In the end, though, none of this matters because the novel is more than a mystery or a ghost story; it's an utterly sweet and tender love story, and the plot improbabilities only heighten the emotional impact of the romance. As Lori says as she ties up several strands of love stories, Dimity's and her own, "I wrote of how vital it was to believe in the love offered by an honest heart, no matter how impractical or absurd or fearful the circumstances. Because all times were uncertain and the chance might never come again."

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Aunt Dimity Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet 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.

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Aunt Dimity's Death (Aunt Dimity Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Janelle1940 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in a fantasy mystery series. Chronologically the 2nd book "Aunt Dimity and the Duke" is first and I reread it also. There are many, many in the series now; some better than others but all enjoyable.
Whamula More than 1 year ago
I first found "Aunt Dimity Goes West" on a remainder table at B&N, and it was cheaper than I could buy it on my Kindle, so I tried it. I then bought the other that were available on Kindle, and then had to order the three that weren't, and this is the first. The book is charming, a little off the beaten track. It has a American living in a small English village, with all of quirks, foibles and sterling qualities associated with same. Lori falls in love with her attorney, and is guided by Aunt Dimity's conversations in copperplate writing in a journal, as well as the twinkle in the eye of her pink stuffed bunny Reginald.Very amusing book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's not your traditional mystery novel where there's some big conspiracy that the main character is trying to solve. And it's not your traditional paranormal story where there are hauntings of ghots or vampires or werewolves. It's a light-hearted story that's really touching and simple to read, but it's not at all dreary or boring or long-winded. It has depth, and the story is very realistic and common. It's an every day kind of story, a slice of life. However it's very charming and endearing. Every character, every scene, every chapter plays a crucial role to the story. The pacing of the story is neither too fast or too slow.  Once you finish it, the meaning or lesson behind the story is very touching! Although, the story maybe simple and it's not a grand adventure like some other books, you feel a sense of completeness, for lack of a better term. It's comforting, and it's a story that you can read over and over again. It has romance, humor, adventure, mystery, and the paranormal. Although the latter two aren't as prominent, the story itself does not lack in any aspect! I highly highly recommend it! Even if you don't like reading that much or you can't stand to read long novels, this is so captivating and endearing that you'll come to really like it-- at least that's what I hope.    
BeachdreamsDK More than 1 year ago
I do love these books. Warm, funny, romantic a bit, cherishing the everyday joys of life. Comforting kick-back with English mystery from an American perspective. Just pure fun.
MEB51 More than 1 year ago
Written in 1993, the time frame is a little dated. Young adults no longer have parents who were involved in World War II, but it can be thought of as an historical mystery. The importance of reading this book is that it is the first in a series of magical mysteries filled with quirky characters. These include a stuffed rabbit named Reginald and the ghost of Dimity who communicates through a blank journal. Fans of the Toy Story movies and the Harry Potter series will enjoy the Aunt Dimity series. Who of us does not need to escape occasionally into a world where everything turns out for the best in the end.
Anne81 More than 1 year ago
Nancy Atherton creates a wonderful mystery story with romatic touches and does so without the gore, sex, language, or violence so common in today's books, movies, and tv shows. I was enchanted by her characters and immediately bought the entire series. It is delightful to see a contemporary series with old-fashioned values. Not to say I don't read my share of stories about vampires and sex and murder...aka Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series...just that this book was like a mental cleansing after all that darkness. I have passed this book on to my mother and all my friends and they are equally as entranced! Enjoy!
KristaDay More than 1 year ago
This is a decent book, I enjoyed Aunt Dimity Vampire Hunter better. But the characters have to start somewhere. Obviously a little out there, but the main character is fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
...Until the dickensian law firm of willis and willis summons her to a reading of the woman's will. Down-on-her-luck Lori learns she's about to inherit a sizable estate-if she can discover the secret hidden in a treasure trove of letters in dimity's English couontry cottage. What begins as a fariy tale becomes a mystery-and a ghost story-in an improbably cozy setting,as Aunt Dimity's indoitable spirit leads Lori on an otherworldly quest to discover how, in this life, true love CAN conquer ALL.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Forget the naysayers... This is a very reader friendly, good friends that you will read over and over type of book (and the more in the series you read, the more this is true.) It's not hard core mystery, no, but like Christie and Sayers and others of the genre, it's a book that will draw you into the community and make you a part of their life. This is one for the bookshelf, the night stand and the cold winter evening by the fire!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Aunt Dimity is the friendliest ghost I've come across in years. Nancy Atherton's books give reader a warm, fuzzy feeling with their humor, charm, and gentle romance. This is a book you'll enjoy curling up with on a cold autumn night.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sar52 More than 1 year ago
Loved the characters, but I'm a want a happy ending person, but this kept my interest. I enjoy the english settings and people how they interact with each other - it does seem a little more realistic. Light reading and have ordered 4 more in the series.
rkymtngal More than 1 year ago
This is a light-hearted yet sentimental book for our book club compared to some of the extremely heavy reads we've had the last few months. It is a mystery with a touch of romance, & history. The author is local (Colorado Springs) and will be at our next book club meeting! I can't wait! I will be reading more of the Lori character books in her series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this very much. It is well written, with fine descriptions of people, places, and things. The single best descriptive word is charm. Those who enjoy blood and guts mysteries or tense and scary thrillers may find Aunt Dimity somewhat tame. But I really enjoyed *relaxing* with a *good book.* I intend to read the complete series, and I hope Nancy Atherton goes on writing them for a long time.
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scovel More than 1 year ago
After finishing this book I'm not even sure how to title it. It is flat out wonderful. Not what I expected but so incredible that I will probably re-read it. Aunt Dimity's Death was found in the mystery section. I wouldn't call it a murder mystery and not even really a mystery. Lori, our main character, is a down and out young lady whose father died after she was born and her mother just passed away. Nothing has ever gone her way. She finds out that the night time stories her mother told her were stories from letters, and that Aunt Dimity wasn't just a character, but a real person - and she has happened to pass away. Lori is tasked with writing an intro to a book of Aunt Dimity's stories. This takes her to England and a world outside of her regular one. Magic, mystery, romance and heart breaking love! I cried the final 10 pages. It was romantic and tragic and tear jerking. This is a glorious story of match making beyond the grave and over coming the earth shattering life-changing events that the death of a loved one can cause. I can't wait to bite into the second book in the series!
ysing More than 1 year ago
Even though Publishers Weekly didn't review it well, I have enjoyed all the books in this series. They make great "just before bed" reading. Recommend them highly.
MSnewyorker More than 1 year ago
I simply just fell in love with this series. It all began when I happened to see one of the books from this series on sale at my Barnes and Noble store in N.Y..I bought it and when I started reading it, I could not put it down.So now, I had to buy the first in the series to see where it all began.If you love mysteries,then get hooked on this great series!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I think I would've been less disappointed in this book if its publisher had not called it a mystery. I'm a dedicated fan of murder mysteries, and this book isn't one. It's got a cute little romance, a problem to be worked out, and a story line I just didn't buy into (she's nearly homeless, depressed and alone and these lawyers track her down and give her new clothes and have her sleep over in the lawfirm -- excuse me?). Aunt Dimity, the ghost of the title, never really gets into the book, so if you're intrigued by the idea of a ghostly Watson, forget it. A nice little book in some ways, but not what I wanted.