A Dream of Death

A Dream of Death

by Connie Berry


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On a remote Scottish island, American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton wrestles with her own past while sleuthing a brutal killing, staged to recreate a two-hundred-year-old unsolved murder.

Autumn has come and gone on Scotland’s Isle of Glenroth, and the islanders gather for the Tartan Ball, the annual end-of-tourist-season gala. Spirits are high. A recently published novel about island history has brought hordes of tourists to the small Hebridean resort community. On the guest list is American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton. Kate returns reluctantly to the island where her husband died, determined to repair her relationship with his sister, proprietor of the island’s luxe country house hotel, famous for its connection with Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Kate has hardly unpacked when the next morning a body is found, murdered in a reenactment of an infamous unsolved murder described in the novel—and the only clue to the killer’s identity lies in a curiously embellished antique casket. The Scottish police discount the historical connection, but when a much-loved local handyman is arrested, Kate teams up with a vacationing detective inspector from Suffolk, England, to unmask a killer determined to rewrite island history—and Kate’s future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683319870
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 233,295
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Connie Berry was born in Racine, Wisconsin, to second-generation immigrants from Scandinavia and the British Isles. Like her main character, Connie was raised by charmingly eccentric antique collectors who opened a shop, not because they wanted to sell antiques but because they needed an excuse to keep buying them. Connie adores cute animals, foreign travel, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable dog Millie.

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A Dream of Death 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
ethel55 2 days ago
This was such a good, classic mystery and introduction to what I hope will be a long series with Kate Hamilton. Kate's late husband Bill had implored Kate to always help his sister, so when Elenor calls, Kate leaves her home in Ohio to return to the small Isle of Glenroth in Scotland.She arrives near the end of the regular tourist season, just in time for the Tartan Ball. With missing luggage and a helpful housekeeper, Kate is well dressed and ready to see Elenor and others she hasn't connected with after her husband's death on the isle three years ago. The country house that seems like a castle, stories of Jacobites, Culloden and Bonnie Prince Charlie--thank goodness I have read Outlander to be on top of certain areas of Scottish history! When a murder is discovered after the ball, and mimics the murder of a young bride named Flora 200 years earlier. The isle is full of suspects and no shortage of atmosphere. I can't wait to turn the next page with Kate in another story.
MeezCarrie 18 days ago
“On the Isle of Glenroth, memories and regrets lay as thick on the ground as yellow gorse in autumn.” I love traditional British mysteries – they’re a different level of cozy mystery because you just want to cozy up with them in front of a roaring fire and a warm quilt. Debut novelist Connie Berry has crafted a delicious, atmospheric mystery with rich language, a relatable heroine, and a tangible setting. Did I mention it’s set on an island in Scotland and there’s a yummy British detective who is staying at the inn too? The opening sentences (including the one I quoted above) immediately drew me in, and the pages that followed kept me riveted to the almost poetic word-crafting and the complex & intriguing plot. Antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is a middle-aged heroine who is returning to the island where her husband died a tragic death three years before, returning after a frantic summons from her estranged sister-in-law. But before Elenor can explain why she needed Kate’s help, more tragedy strikes and soon Kate finds herself drawn into an investigation where “every question raised others. Every clue deepened the confusion.” Berry cleverly weaves together a tapestry of suspects that kept me guessing every time I thought I had it figured out, and readers shouldn’t relax until the very last word has been read. There’s also a bit of a split-time angle as well that serves to further enhance both the atmosphere and the mystery. Bottom Line: Berry’s debut novel is a warm, cozy delight from start to finish, embodying everything that is lovely about British mysteries while adding an American flair as well, courtesy of the easy-to-love heroine Kate Hamilton. I am definitely looking forward to more books in this series, to seeing where Kate’s amateur sleuthing – and relationships – take her next, and to the treat of every well-placed word and subtle notes of grace in future books by this author. (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
Rockport_rocker 19 days ago
This is my first book by Connie Berry but it sure won't be my last. A Dream of Death is a wonderfully presented balance between the cozy world and that of a modern gothic mystery. In addition to a well plotted mystery, Ms. Berry has given us characters to whom we can attach and for whom we will root. I look forward to seeing how the future plays out for Kate Hamilton and can't wait to see what characters might play a role in her future. The mystery allows us to see history played out in the island in the Scottish Highlands as we watch the American antique dealer try to solve the puzzle of her sister-in-law's death. There are so many people who had good reason to resent the woman that the suspect list is long. While Kate tries to suss out the suspect with the most motive for murder, she develops an ambivalent connection with an English detective on vacation who assists the local police in their investigation. In a world of character versus mystery A Dream of Death falls in to both worlds with fascinating characters and a complex mystery.
BlueCrabBooks 3 months ago
What a great setting for a contemp mystery, plus all the historical mentions of Bonnie Prince Charlie and what I'd read in Outlander - and the plot and characters are just as great! Kate is an antiques expert, and being mysteriously called over from the States by her sister-in-law gets the ball rolling on this cracking good adventure. I loved it, and am looking forward to book 2. Highly recommend!
CozyUpWithKathy 3 months ago
an atmospheric backdrop, authentic characters, and historical depth A DREAM OF DEATH by Connie Berry The First Kate Hamilton Mystery Kate Hamilton never intended to return to Glenroth, but a call for help from her estranged sister-in-law brings Kate back to the Scottish isle where her husband was not only born, but died just three years earlier. Now she's faced with a best selling novel about a two hundred year old unsolved murder, a surprise engagement, and news that Elenor has sold the family home, now a posh hotel. But before Elenor can tell Kate the reason for her call, she's murdered in the same manner of young Flora Arnott in 1810. What was Elenor afraid of? Did it have something to do with the ornate antique casket? Or did she push the wrong person too far? As Kate finds herself in the midst of the investigation she'll have to use all her wits else she become the murderer's next target. I loved just about everything in this first Kate Hamilton Mystery. There is a strong cast of characters, deeply developed and multi dimensional. Kate is an engaging and likeable protagonist with a good head on her shoulders. Not only is she forced to deal with a murder, but she has to relive her husband's last days and deal with feelings she's starting to develop for a man for the first time since she became a widow. Connie Berry ingeniously entwines history with a contemporary plot. It was fascinating to read from Flora Arnott's diary and I was as invested in her murder as I was in Elenor's! The attention to detail brought crisp imagery and almost made it seem as if I was watching a film. A DREAM OF DEATH is a fantastic start to what looks to be an amazing series. There's action, suspense, and a hint of romance. Combined with an atmospheric backdrop, authentic characters, and historical depth, A DREAM OF DEATH is a standout. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Atmospheric ~ Enjoyable ~ A Page-Turner tl;dr: Old mysteries have a funny way of coming back This is a solid mystery, with one foot in the past and one in the present. It reads like a few other similar books set in the British Isles. But, it is still worth reading if you enjoy mystery novels set in Scotland, mysteries on islands, or mysteries where characters use artifacts, like books, to explore historical mysteries. The pacing was good, the characters enjoyable, and the ending satisfying. Solid mystery. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
KrisAnderson_TAR 3 months ago
A Dream of Death has an interesting premise and setting. Kate travels from Ohio to the Isle of Glenroth. If she had not promised her deceased husband, Bill that she would take care of Elenor if anything ever happened to him (I bet she is regretting it now) she would never set foot on remote island again since it is where her husband died in a sailing accident. Kate owns an antique shop in Jackson Falls, Ohio that her mother is currently watching while she is away. DI Tom Mallory is the only other guest at Elenor’s Glenroth House Hotel and Kate finds herself attracted to him. Elenor’s murder gives the pair the opportunity to spend more time together since Kate is determined to investigate despite being told several times to leave the case to the professionals. I admit to having a hard time liking our main character, but I am hopeful for improvement. Her behavior was off-putting at times as she jumped to conclusions and make sudden decisions based on little evidence or facts. Kate’s behavior reminds me of a younger woman instead of someone in their 40s (now, I am assuming she is in her 40s since she has two children in college. We are never really told her age). There are some lovely secondary characters that I liked, and I felt bad for Bo (such a sweet man). The Isle of Glenroth is a unique and beautiful setting. I loved the descriptions of this Scottish island. I found this sentence compelling “Isle of Glenroth rose before me like Brigadoon materializing in the Highland mist”. The mystery was clever and thought out with misdirection that will send readers down the rabbit hole. There is a lack of clues to help readers in solving the crime. I like how the two hundred year old unsolved murders were worked into the story. It added depth to A Dream of Death. I appreciated that all threads of the whodunit were wrapped up at the end of the book. The paranormal element was miniscule. I wanted more of it and I did not like how Kate wrote it off (disappointing). The “romance” between Kate and Tom was lacking. It needed more development or build up earlier in the book so what happened at the end would make more sense. The author was overly descriptive of food, clothing and mundane details (like washing hair, drying it with towel, combing it behind ears, putting on lotion, etc.). My favorite phrase from A Dream of Death is “don’t let your yesterdays define you”. A Dream of Death is a good beginning to A Kate Hamilton Mystery series. A Dream of Death has an intriguing mystery, quaint Scottish isle, disappearing antiques, a dashing inspector and a determined antiques dealer.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Librarirun 3 months ago
Widow Kate Hamilton, an antique shop owner from Ohio, has spent the past three years picking up the pieces of her life following the unexpected death of her husband Bill. When she receives a frantic call for help from her frightened, estranged sister-in-law Elenor Spurgeon, proprietor of the Glenroth House Hotel, Kate returns to the Isle of Glenroth with a heavy heart and much trepidation. It was on this small Hebridean Island that her beloved Bill was both born and died. The isle is also a popular tourist destination, having gained notoriety for its connection to Bonnie Prince Charlie as well as the centuries-old unsolved murders of two young women. Kate arrives on the eve of the annual Tartan Ball, amid a flurry of activity and impending major announcements that will affect the future of the community. In the wee hours of the morning following the ball, the body of an islander is discovered in the snow. Curiously, the murder scene is a recreation of the first long-ago death. When a second victim turns up a few days later in a restaging of the second long-ago killing, Kate can’t help but wonder if there is a connection between the murders despite them having been committed two centuries apart. As the police investigate the current crimes, Kate explores clues that might tie the present to the past. In collaboration with hotel guest Tom Mallory, a vacationing detective inspector with Great Britain’s Suffolk Constabulary, Kate unravels the complex history between the islanders and uncovers long-held grievances. What she discovers puts her own safety in jeopardy. Will the killer be caught before Kate becomes the next victim? And can the island's residents finally put the past to rest? A Dream of Death, with its cast of eccentric islanders and remote atmospheric setting, is a captivating story infused with Scottish lore, a budding romance, and the elements of a classic British mystery novel. Its resilient heroine Kate Hamilton is a woman who has adjusted to great changes in her life. Will her life change yet again having met Tom Mallory? There is definitely chemistry between them. It remains to be seen where their relationship is heading and whether these two souls will find a way to bridge the vast physical distance between the American Midwest and the British Midlands. For this reason I’m already eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.
4GranJan 3 months ago
Scottish Castles and Antiques and Murder This is a wonderful cozy mystery that takes place on a Scottish Isle. The mystery involves Scottish history an old manor a centuries-old murder and Bonnie Prince Charles. It is fantastic for anyone who enjoys a good mystery mixed with history. The author does a very good job of dealing with all of the aspects of this story and portrays the characters realistically. I will be looking for more of this author's work. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
DanieleK 4 months ago
A DREAM OF DEATH is one of the best cozy mysteries I have read in quite a while. Its strong mystery, gothic feel, and touch of romance come together to make a splendid read. Kate Hamilton answers her somewhat estranged sister-in-law’s call to come to her home turned hotel on a Scottish island. Elenor drops quite the bombshell at the annual Tartan Ball when she tells the attendees that she has sold the hotel and is newly engaged to Hugh, the author of the tourist drawing novel about Flora Arnott and her two hundred year old murder. Elenor is murdered, in the same manner as Flora, before she can tell Kate why she summoned her and what was frightening her. Secrets abound. A DREAM OF DEATH seamlessly melds the centuries old mystery with the current murder investigation. The characters are well developed, and Kate is quite appealing. She is a widow in her mid-forties, still dealing with her grief, and antique dealer. Intelligent and loyal, she makes a smart amateur sleuth. Fellow hotel guest DI Tom Mallory is alluring, making both a believable law enforcement liaison and love interest for Kate. The supporting characters are varied, and I did not want any of them to be the killer; they are endearing. The mystery is compelling and well executed. The Scottish castle island backdrop is an ideal setting. I look forward to reading more by Connie Berry. Highly recommended. I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley and voluntarily shared my uninfluenced thoughts here.
Carstairs38 4 months ago
Kate Hamilton has returned to the Isle of Glenroth off the coast of Scotland, something she swore she would never do after the death of her husband three years ago. She’s come in response to a plea for help from her sister-in-law, Elenor, but Elenor won’t say more until after the Tartan Ball she is hosting for island residence the night Kate arrives. Elenor makes a couple of shocking announcements during the ball and then turns up murdered the next morning. Kate sees parallels to a 200-year-old crime from the island’s past that has recently been brought to back to prominence thanks to a bestselling novel. The police dismiss the similarity as a coincidence, but is Kate on to something? I was hesitant to pick up this book because of all the books already on my to be read mountain range, but I’m glad I did. This book has a lot going on with a possible ghost, an old house, and the mystery from the past that might be leading to the murder in the present all coming into play. Coupled with the dreary weather, and I got a Gothic feel as I read this book. That atmosphere is enhanced by characters who are all strong, giving us plenty of suspects with motives and secrets all their own. With everything going on, the pace never lags, and I was frustrated every time I had to put the book down. Even though Kate isn’t at home for this book, we still got a glimpse of her family, and I hope we get to see more of them in future books. Kate owns an antique shop, and her knowledge of antiques came into play here in an interesting way. This is a strong debut that needs to be on your to be read list.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Believable characters and plot. Very enjoyable read.
chefdt 4 months ago
A Dream Of Death is the first book in the Kate Hamilton Mystery series. It’s been three years since Kate Hamilton’s husband Bill had passed away in a tragic boating accident off the coast of a Scottish island where he had lived prior to his marriage, with his sister in the family home. After his marriage to Kate, he had sold his interest in the family estate to his sister and she had turned it into a luxury hotel. Bill’s sister, Elenor, and Kate had never gotten along and the last person Kate expected to hear was Elenor. Elenor calls, begging Kate to come to Glenroth for that annual Tartan Ball. She also adds that she really needs her help. When Kate arrives, Elenor is busy putting the finishing touches to the Tartan Ball to really talk with Kate about what is bothering her but does tell Kate that there is a package that she wants Kate to look at as soon as she gets to her cottage. The package that is awaiting Kate is a miniature casket. Kate who has an antique store back in the states can tell that it definitely is an antique. Also, she finds a copy of The Diary of Flora Arnott, Volume One by Dr. Hugh Parker Guthrie, a local author. The Arnott’s were the first settlers on Glenroth and Kate is somewhat familiar with the story. That evening things are going nicely at the Tartan Ball until Elenor makes a couple of announcements that shock everyone at the ball. First, she will be selling the hotel and second, she has recently gotten engaged to Dr. Guthrie. The next morning Elenor is found dead with an arrow in her neck. As Kate begins to read the book Elenor gave her, she learns that Flora Arnott had died the same way. There are many suspects as Elenor was not well liked by many of the residents of the island. Plus, some of the descendants of the original owners of the house, have for some time questioned whether the sale was legal. There is only one guest at the hotel at the time the story begins, Tom Mallory a policeman from Scotland who claims to be on holiday. She is able to convince him that some ideas as to what might have happened seem possible and begin to share information and attempt to uncover the killer. This is a very enjoyable beginning to a new series. The story proceeds at a steady pace, is well-plotted and has many red herrings and kept me guessing until the end. I will be looking forward to learning more about the residents of the island in future books.
Tangen 4 months ago
cosy-mystery, law-enforcement, Scotland, amateur-sleuth, women-sleuths, murder, suspense I was hooked when Kate's luggage including the phone charger went to warmer climes well south of Cleveland instead of the Scottish Isles where they were supposed to go. A widowed antique dealer who grew up in Wisconsin, she has come at her self absorbed sister in law's begging to the place where she spent her honeymoon more than twenty years ago, and three years ago saw her husband die suddenly. Said sister in law is beloved by few, but there are many who remember Kate fondly. On her first night there she meets a vacationing CID detective inspector from Suffolk also staying at the inn. Later that night the first body is found and the danger and sleuthing begin. Well, the first murder this century. The characters certainly are and the plot twists and red herrings abound. An excellent read that kept me up way too late! Can't claim to be unbiased as Kate and I both come from Southeast Wisconsin, have ties to both Cleveland and the North Sea, and have a love for antiques. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
ArizonaJo 4 months ago
A Dream of Death by Connie Berry was a suspenseful mystery that kept me turning the pages until the end. Ms. Berry is a "new to me" author but I will be looking forward to more of her books in the future. Her descriptive writing regarding the Scottish island, the home and characters made me feel as if I was with Kate every step of the way. I liked Kate and admired her tenacity as she tried to ferret out clues in order to prove that the gentle handyman, who was her husband Bill's oldest friend, didn't commit the murder. The plot was smoothly paced with well hidden clues, red herrings, few suspects and enough twists to keep me guessing until the dramatic reveal. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
CozyOnUp 4 months ago
Kate Hamilton, Antique dealer, Mom, and widow flies from Ohio to Scotland to help her estranged sister in law, Elenor, who says she urgently needs Kate’s help. Staying at her late husband’s family estate, turned hotel, Kate has to face the loss of her husband here several years ago as well as the loss of her sister in law in less than 24 hours since her arrival. What was it that had Elenor so frightened? Unfortunately Kate never got a chance for Elenor to tell her. All she has is a book Elenor asked her to read, a few old newspaper clippings, and a note written in code that means nothing to Kate. While Kate and Elenor were never close, Kate feels she owes it to her sister in law to figure out what had her so frightened. 
Why was Elenor murdered? Was it a local upset when she announced that she was selling the hotel? Did it have something to do with a historic and unsolved murder that took place at the hotel centuries ago? Kate isn’t sure who to trust as everyone had a bone to pick with Elenor, but are they enough to kill over? It's been awhile since I've read a first book from a new author and been completely immersed right from the very start, but Connie Berry has changed that. The setting is dreamy, the characters are well defined and written and the mystery is well though out and full of red herrings. If you’re a cozy lover, the one is for you! Smart, snarky and totally relatable, I will be keep