A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall

A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall

by Hannah Dennison

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Overview

When antique dealer Kat Stanford stumbles upon the partially mummified body of a young woman in an abandoned wing at Honeychurch Hall, suspicion falls on those who had been living there many years ago. And it appears that the deceased had been murdered. Given her mother Iris’s checkered past, Kat is not surprised to learn that Iris knew the victim.

Meanwhile, the unexpected appearance of former lothario Bryan Laney sets female hearts aflutter. Despite the passing years, time has not dampened his ardor for Iris, but the feeling is not reciprocated.

As Kat becomes embroiled once more in her mother’s mysterious and tumultuous bygone days, she comes to realize that life is never black and white, and sometimes it is necessary to risk your own life to protect the lives of the ones you love.

With stories of hidden treasure and secret chambers, past and present collide in Hannah Dennison's A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466872455
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/03/2016
Series: Honeychurch Hall , #3
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 139,932
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

HANNAH DENNISON began her writing career as a trainee reporter for a small West Country newspaper in Devon, England. Hannah is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the Willamette Writers, British Crime Writers' Association and Toastmasters International. Hannah Dennison is an especially big hit with librarians. Coincidentally her mother is a docent at Greenway, Agatha Christie's summer home, which has been turned into a museum. She is the author of Murder at Honeychurch.
HANNAH DENNISON began her writing career in 1977 as a trainee reporter for a small West Country newspaper in Devon, England. Hannah is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the Willamette Writers, British Crime Writers’ Association and Toastmasters International. She is the author of Murder at Honeychurch Hall and of the Vicky Hill mysteries.

Read an Excerpt

A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall


By Hannah Dennison

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 Hannah Dennison
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-7245-5


CHAPTER 1

"You are absolutely not selling William Dobson, Rupert!" The dowager countess, Lady Edith Honeychurch, was furious. Even Mr. Chips, her tan-and-white Jack Russell, seemed to bristle with indignation.

Edith's son looked pained. "Do we have to go through this again, Mother?"

For emphasis, Edith slapped her riding crop against the side of her leather boot. "As long as I am alive, this is still my house!"

"Mother," Rupert hissed and gestured to where Mum and I were standing in the doorway. "Not in front of ..."

"The servants?" Mum chimed in cheerfully. "Don't mind us. We're always arguing — aren't we, Kat?"

I gave a polite smile, but Rupert looked even more uncomfortable.

"Why don't we come back later?" I said and grabbed Mum's arm but she stood her ground and pulled her secondhand mink coat even closer. It really was freezing cold.

"Who is William Dobson?" Mum asked. "Is he for hire? Maybe he can help Kat hang her bathroom cabinet?"

"I think Edith is referring to the seventeenth-century artist, William Dobson —"

"An artist who painted one of our ancestors who saved the Hall from being razed to the ground in the English Civil War," Edith said angrily. "And now Rupert wants to sell it and he's asked you, Katherine, to take it off for auction, so I hear!"

"No," Rupert lied. "I just wanted to show Katherine and Iris the damaged ceiling."

"Nonsense. You thought you could sneak them in through the Tudor courtyard without my knowing but you seem to forget that Cropper never misses a trick."

Cropper, of course, was the old butler. Although he rarely spoke he seemed to have an uncanny gift of being everywhere at once.

The truth was, I'd also thought it odd that Rupert had arranged to meet us at the end of the half-mile-long pergola walk on the far southwest corner of the Hall. Covered in ancient wisteria with roots as big as my arm, I'd never noticed the old wooden gate that led to a narrow passageway. At the end, a pretty archway opened into a small cobbled courtyard. Mullioned casement windows took up three sides and on the fourth were two doors. It was there that Edith had been waiting.

Edith raised a quizzical eyebrow at me. "Why are you holding those padded blankets, Katherine? And what is in that canvas bag?"

I'd brought the padded blankets to wrap up the painting and my canvas bag was full of my tools.

Mum and I both looked to Rupert for the answer.

"Did he ask you to value the Dobson, Katherine?" Edith demanded.

Of course he had! Rupert had phoned that morning to say that something "catastrophic" had happened in the Tudor wing and that they needed to sell a painting.

I was only too happy to oblige. I was still trying to get my antiques business going. Despite having moved all my stock into the two gatehouses that flanked the main entrance, Kat's Collectibles & Valuation Services was slow in getting off the ground.

"You're right," said Rupert defiantly. "I did. Katherine told me that the last Dobson sold for around three hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Luxton's of Newton Abbot has a sale of old masters and British paintings coming up —"

"I knew it!" Edith exclaimed.

"Mother!" Rupert ran his fingers through his thinning hair, clearly exasperated. "We have to do something and unless you can think of a way to raise thousands and thousands of pounds at the drop of a hat, I'm all ears."

"But surely it can't be that bad," said Mum.

"The plasterwork ceiling is Elizabethan and very rare," Edith said. "There is only one other like it in Devon at Holcombe Rogus."

"Presumably you're going to apply for a grant?" I said to Rupert. "The Historic Houses Association runs all kinds of maintenance and restoration programs. I have a contact there."

"Alfred is very good at decorating," Mum said suddenly.

It was true. Mum's stepbrother had helped paint the Carriage House.

"Repairing a plasterwork ceiling needs specific materials that can only be applied by skilled craftsmen," I said gently.

"That wouldn't faze my Alfred. He's got a real gift for making a copy look like the real thing." And of course, she was right. This so-called gift of Alfred's had sent him to prison more times than I could count.

Edith smiled. "Very kind of you to offer, Iris. But I'm sure that Alfred is far too busy overseeing the horses."

"Perhaps there is something else that might be worth selling?" I said, anxious to change the subject.

"I'm not sure if you remember, your ladyship," said Mum, "but if there's one person who knows what sells well it's my Katherine. She was the TV host of Fakes & Treasures."

"And I can assure you that there is nothing fake in this house," Edith said frostily.

"Perhaps you could sell your snuff box collection?" said Rupert with a hint of malice. To be honest, the thought had crossed my mind as well. Edith had more snuff boxes than I could shake a stick at and many were extremely valuable.

"Never!" Edith declared. "I will decide what needs to be sold. And may I remind you, Rupert, you are not the one who makes the decisions around here."

"I know!" said Rupert.

Mum started humming to herself. It was a peculiar habit she'd picked up when she was feeling embarrassed. I gave her a discreet nudge and she stopped.

"Really, we can come back another day," I said.

"Repairs need to be started right away," said Rupert. "Katherine says that this sale is one of the best in the country. But naturally, whatever you feel is best, Mother."

"Very well." Edith turned to me. "Rupert, take Katherine to the King's Parlor. Show her the Hollar drawings of Honeychurch Hall. They might do — oh!" Suddenly, Edith switched her gaze onto my mother. "What on earth are you wearing, Iris?"

Mum reddened. "It's a mink coat, m'lady."

"I can see that."

Ever since Mum had bought the old coat at the Chillingford Court sale, she'd worn it everywhere regardless of the occasion or whether we were inside or out. Apparently, it had been one of her dreams to own one and she hated to let it out of her sight. I teased her and called it Truly Scrumptious in honor of my mother's fictional Pekinese dog that was splashed over her website. I still found it hard to believe that my mother was the international best-selling romance writer, Krystalle Storm.

Edith stepped closer. I got a whiff of horse and lavender water that always surrounded her like an atmosphere. "Turn around," she commanded.

After a moment's hesitation, Mum gave a twirl. Although I detested fur coats of any description, I had to admit this was quite magnificent despite the all-pervasive smell of mothballs.

"I thought so," said Edith. "That coat belonged to my friend, Alice."

Mum's face lit up. "Yes! That's right. Princess Alice, the Countess of Athlone. How did you know?"

"I recognized the red paint on the back of the collar," said Edith.

"Oh." Mum seemed annoyed. "I didn't think anyone could see it." Needless to say, I had pointed the stain out to her before the coat went under the hammer but Mum's mind was made up. She had to have it.

"Activists, no doubt," said Edith. "Rabbit fur is much safer. So extraordinary to want to wear someone's castoffs."

"It's not that obvious," I whispered to Mum who looked utterly crestfallen.

"But speaking of paint, Katherine, how are you getting on at Jane's Cottage? I would have thought you would have moved in by now."

"The painting is all done, and most of the curtains and blinds are up," I said. "I just need a few mirrors hung and new shelves in the kitchen pantry ..."

"She put an ad in the post office for someone to do a spot of D-I-Y," Mum put in.

"The wood burner stove goes in next week."

"Central heating? Whatever for?" Edith exclaimed. "Well, I'm sure that's all very interesting. Rupert, show Katherine the Hollar drawings but I repeat, do not do anything without talking to me first." And, with a snap of her fingers, she called Mr. Chips to heel and the pair headed off.

For a moment, Rupert just stood there. The fifteenth Earl of Grenville appeared years older than his fifty-two. Dark smudges lay beneath red-rimmed eyes and even his neat, military mustache had lost its crispness. Rupert wasn't even wearing his customary tie, choosing a pair of uncharacteristically scruffy jeans and an old moth-eaten sweater. For the first time, I realized just how much pressure he was under to keep the Hall afloat. Edith may rule the roost but it fell to him to manage the day-to-day running of the estate and handle all the bills.

A blast of cold air and the slam of an outside door brought Rupert to his senses. Mum shivered and pulled her mink coat closer. "It's like the arctic in here," she said. "I'm so happy I'm wearing my mink."

"As you gathered, Mother doesn't believe in central heating. If she had, perhaps the pipes wouldn't have burst and brought down the ceiling and we wouldn't be having this problem. Please, after you." Rupert ushered us ahead. "Down the passage and through the door at the end."

"I remember when the whole house was open," Mum said. "How many rooms are there, m'lord? One hundred? Two, perhaps?"

"I've never counted," said Rupert.

"How did you find out about the burst pipes?" Mum asked.

"Fortunately Harry's room shares a wall with the original house." Rupert cracked his first smile. "He was convinced the Germans had dropped a bomb."

Knowing Harry's obsession with Squadron Leader James Bigglesworth, the famous World War I flying ace, it was just the sort of thing he'd say. "And I bet he told you which kind."

"Yes." Rupert grinned. "Harry said it was a minenwerfer."

"A what?" Mum frowned.

"A high-power trench mortar shell that apparently makes no noise coming through the air."

"So if Harry had been away at boarding school," Mum said pointedly. "You would never have known."

Rupert scowled. "I'd rather have burst pipes."

"Thanks Mum," I muttered. It was common knowledge that none of the Honeychurches had been happy about Harry breaking the family tradition and going to the local school — and it had been my idea.

Rupert threw open the end door and ushered us into a screens passage. We passed through the first of two archways and into the Great Hall.

"Oh!" Mum gasped. "I know exactly where we are. Good heavens! I haven't been here for years!"

CHAPTER 2

"My father closed off this part of the house before I was born," said Rupert.

"Yes, I remember it all," said Mum. "My brothers and I loved to go exploring."

I made a note to ask her about this so-called exploring. Mum was prone to change her version of events to suit the occasion. She'd often told me that "her kind" was never allowed inside the main house and that the closest she got was the servants' quarters and kitchens.

Like many medieval houses, as years passed and architectural fashions changed, the spirit of the house evolved, too. I was reminded of Charles Ryder, in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited, who summed up my feelings perfectly by saying how much he "loved buildings that grew silently with the centuries, catching and keeping the best of each generation."

It was exactly what made the destruction of such magnificent houses so tragic. Each loss was a loss to history. I couldn't help wondering if Harry, as the future heir, would fight hard to keep the Hall going.

The Great Hall wasn't large by the standard of other great houses in England. The long rectangular room was typical of its time with a spectacular hammer beam roof. On one side were floor to ceiling stained glass windows showing knights in battle. On the other, an enormous stone fireplace bore an elaborate overmantel decorated with the Grenville coat of arms and the family motto: ad perseverate est ad triumphum —" To Endure is to Triumph."

Above the screens passage behind us was a minstrels' gallery. At the far end was a long oak refectory table atop a dais that spanned the width of the room. Two beautiful paneled back chairs with scrolled cresting and earpieces stood behind.

Covering the stone walls that flanked the fireplace was an impressive collection of weapons dating from the English Civil War. There were a variety of polearms and halberds; muskets, vicious stiletto knives, rapiers and basket-hilted two-edged mortuary swords.

"Yes." Mum nodded again. "I remember all this."

"Wow," I exclaimed. "What a collection! Have you ever considered ...?"

"These are not for sale," said Rupert as if reading my mind. "As you know, most of the suits of armor were moved into the modern wing. That is, if you can call our nineteenth-century façade modern."

"Have you ever thought about opening the Hall to the public?" I suggested. "It doesn't have to be like the National Trust or British Heritage, but the Historic Houses Association conducts open houses to private homes."

"Can you imagine my mother playing the gracious hostess?" said Rupert.

"Not really," I admitted.

"Every summer there was a bit of a do on midsummer night for her ladyship's birthday," said Mum, who was clearly walking down memory lane. "Her brother — that would be your uncle, m'lord, the thirteenth Earl of Grenville — would host a costume ball. Beautiful costumes, they were. And the games! Lots of games! People running all over the house playing charades and squashed sardines."

"What on earth are squashed sardines?" Rupert asked.

"It's a form of hide-and-seek," Mum enthused. "Only it's the other way around. One person hides and the others must find him and hide with him and the last person to find them must pay a forfeit."

"Oh, you mean Smee," said Rupert. "That's what we call it."

I hated it when Rupert pulled his upper-class card. He seemed to deliberately want to put Mum in her place.

"Wasn't there a ghost story called Smee?" I said.

"You know it?" Rupert sounded surprised. "It was written by A. M. Burrage. Nanny used to read it to me at night and frighten me half to death."

"The hiding places get incredibly cramped and as you can imagine," Mum went on, oblivious, "there was quite a lot of hanky-panky going on." She turned to the minstrels' gallery. "And a band played up there."

"For someone who wasn't invited to the ball," I said, "you seem to know a lot of details."

"Alfred, Billy and I used to sneak in," Mum continued. "There was one of those peephole things where we could watch everything." She laughed. "Oh, begging your pardon, m'lord."

"I'm sure you did," said Rupert dryly.

"What these walls must have seen," said Mum. "How exciting to know your ancestors lived here, m'lord. To be able to trace your lineage all the way back to when Henry V created the first Earl of Grenville — that's just wonderful."

"Good heavens, you've been looking at all that?" Rupert exclaimed.

"I'm becoming quite an expert on your family history."

Rupert gave a polite smile. "I can't imagine why."

I suppose for him, it was normal but Mum had really gotten involved in studying the family trees of both those who resided upstairs, and down. I felt a twinge of something that felt like inferiority! Maybe that was why the English aristocracy carried a sense of entitlement and assurance. They knew their roots. Portraits of their ancestors lined the walls of countless country estates. But for me, an only child, I'd never met my father's parents — in fact, they were a bit of a mystery. Mum's background was just plain murky. She claimed to have been adopted by a traveling fairground and spent her life on the road. Perhaps I did regard the "toffs" as Mum liked to call them, as different from us, after all.

It also brought up feelings about this new life I was embarking upon. Much as I disliked the fame that my celebrity status had brought me, it had given me a sense of identity. Even being the girlfriend of David Wynne, an international art investigator, had reinforced that. Now that I was starting over, I felt a little lost and unsure of myself.

"Why the long face?" said Mum, bringing me out of my thoughts.

"I was just thinking about the Dobson painting," I lied. "Wasn't he the principal painter to King Charles I after van Dyck died?"

"She's a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, is my Katherine," said Mum proudly.

"I'm sure she is." Rupert turned us back into the screens passage and toward the open oak door at the end. "The King's Parlor is through here."

"Oh! I must write this down." Mum withdrew a block of Post-it Notes from her mink coat pocket and a pen. "So King Charles actually stayed here? How thrilling!"

"One of my ancestors was commissioned under the great Seal of England to mint coins for King Charles. The Royalists needed the money to raise troops for the king."

"They made coins here?" Mum said.

Rupert nodded. "Yes. The Honeychurch mint."

"Fancy being able to make your own money," said Mum. "Alfred would have been in his element."

We entered the King's Parlor and I couldn't hide my dismay. "Harry was right when he said he thought someone had dropped a bomb."

Water from the burst pipe above had brought down a quarter of the ornamental plasterwork ceiling. Chunks of plaster had been swept into the corner with a broom and an attempt had been made to save the Aubusson rug by pushing it away from the sludge that still covered half of the floor.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison. Copyright © 2016 Hannah Dennison. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
L_Cejka More than 1 year ago
I picked up a copy of Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall in the recent arrivals area of the library. I am a big fan of cozy mysteries and the hardcover book was beautiful. I didn't know it was the third in a series, but I didn't have a hard time keeping the characters straight. This book starts out with a very old murder, it was a nice change of pace for me. There were questions, lots of old mysteries, but not a lot of immediate danger...not at first. Then everything changed. I was hooked. I sometimes get tired of the books that make the heroine "in danger" constantly, or the books that have the main character take stupid risks every time you turn around. This book has none of that, If you are looking for a good cozy to read, I recommend you give this book a try. I loved it.
ABCollins More than 1 year ago
This was my first foray into the Honeychurch Hall Mystery series, and I fell head over heels for the story, the setting, and the delightfully eccentric characters. As an avid fan of all stories set in Great Britain, how could I not become a fan? The author, Hannah Dennison, truly brought the setting and characters to life in this book, and her voice sucked me right into this cozy mystery story. Since it’s the third in the series, I had to play catch-up on who everyone is, but it was really easy to do. In the manor house there are secret rooms within secret rooms! Personally, I’d love to explore this old manor house. But our heroine Kat Stanford, an antique dealer and former TV host, stumbles over the partially mummified body of a woman in that double secret room, and the game is afoot. As she and the local police start trying to figure out who the dead woman is, secrets begin coming to light, and they lead straight to Kat’s own mother, Iris. Not only does Iris keep her current secret (no one knows she’s really a very famous romance author!), but she doesn’t want anyone to know what happened when she was a teenager – the same year the woman was killed and stuffed in the secret room. I totally fell in love with the young boy on the estate, Harry. He loves to pretend he’s a famous World War I flying ace. And Kat plays along with him, pretending to be one of his soldiers. While the grown-ups are trying to keep their secrets and solve a couple of murders, young Harry’s pretend world takes it all in stride, even revealing clues along the way as his alter ego is out on patrol. The story flows along effortlessly, bringing the reader deeper and deeper into this fictional world. It would make a wonderful TV series shown on PBS. I highly suggest reading this series and see if you don’t fall in love with this world Ms. Dennison has created. I’m ready for more stories! I received a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Michelle_Palmer More than 1 year ago
A cozy for those who enjoy Downton Abbey. The characters in this book are interesting. They provide for a lot of drama when they are together. The newcomer, Kat, is a former television personality who had an Antiques Roadshow type of show based in London. She is now trying to open an antique store of her own in small town England. She moved there to be near her mother, Iris, a woman who is full of secrets. The family who owns the local manor house is rather eccentric. Dowager countess, current Earl and his wife and son all make for an entertaining upstairs. The longtime cook, her husband the butler, and Iris' stepbrother taking care of the stables make for a wild downstairs. Throw in a nosy young reporter, small town police, a long time Lothario, and several other characters and you have the makings of an interesting story. The setting is typical modern day rural England. The mystery revolves around a forgotten priest hole in the manor house and a long dead body discovered in it. Old secrets are uncovered, new ones are shared. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
MarshaG More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it. So much so that I plan to go back and read the two books that came before this one. The setting is unique and the people are colorful. Her characters are likable, even the upper class ones who at times come off snobbish are somewhat likable overall. It's nice that the main character is a little older not too young and not geriatric. The writing moves at a good pace and it is easy to get lost in the story losing track of time. I have to say my favorite character is Harry.I love the fact that the child is not too cutesy or bratty. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair review.
Griperang72a More than 1 year ago
This was the first book in this series that I have read and the first book by this author. I did enjoy it and was able to read it as a stand alone but will be going back to read the first two in the series. I found the characters to be likeable and I even liked that there was a bit of history thrown into the story. The author did a good job of keeping you guessing up until the end of the book which always good in a mystery book. I also enjoyed the setting of this book - the nice little English town sounds like one that would be a nice getaway - as long as no murders happen while you are there. You also get a little of the Downton Abbey feel while reading this book only in a modern way. If you love English stories as I do then this is a fun book for you to pick up. I am looking forward to more books in this series.
swksjhawk42 More than 1 year ago
Kat Stanford, a 40 something woman, didn't mean to get herself involved in a murder investigation, she simply "fell" into it. Kat and her mother, a former traveling sideshow performer, have simply come to Honeychurch Hall to collect a painting for an art auction that Kat hopes will get her fledgling antique business off the ground. But when they arrive, Edith, the dowager duchess, is adamantly refusing to sell the painting, even though a water leak has caused the ceiling in one of the rooms to collapse and is in dire need or repair. As a compromise, Edith offers a set of drawings to be sold at the art auction instead. In the course of trying to remove the drawings from the wall, Kat unknowingly pushes a lever that lands her in a priest hole, which is not uncommon for manor houses like Honeychurch Hall, but what is uncommon is the dead body of a woman in the priest hole. Through the course of the ensuing murder investigation, family secrets of both the Honeychurch family and Kat's own family are brought to light and someone is willing to kill to keep those secrets hidden. This was an engaging and easy to read story and the first British mystery I have read. I enjoyed it very much, especially the dynamic that is beginning to develop between Kat and Shawn, the police inspector. I plan on reading the first two books in the series now as well. I received this book from the author at no charge for a fair and honest review.
momelaine More than 1 year ago
I have not read the first two books in the series but when I was offered the chance to read this one, I couldn't pass it up. I have been wanting to read this series. I did feel a little behind on the characters until I was well into the book. But that didn't ruin it for me. This was somewhat of a madcap romp through the Honeychurch estate. (I would like to see those Hollar drawings to see exactly where the buildings are located on the estate.) Kat and her mother have an unusual relationship but it is fun to see how they interact. And the secrets we learned from Kat's Mum! I look forward to reading more about Honeychurch! I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Nancy0708 More than 1 year ago
If you are a historical mystery or mystery fan this book is for you. Set in England, Kat Stanford, antique dealer and appraiser, literally falls into a decades old murder after finding a priest hole in Honeychurch Hall. The Dowager Countess is famous for covering up any negative happenings at the hall but this time Kat wants the truth to be known since her mother is at the top of the suspect list. This is the third book in the series but could be read as a stand alone. I received a complimentary book from the author in exchange for a honest review.
Abby-F More than 1 year ago
I didn't think I was interested in books set in England. At least not the ones that include giant houses that have around 200 bedrooms! I thought it would be hard to memorize the people's titles, and I thought they would bore me. I was totally wrong!!! Kat ( the main character) and her mother Iris work at the hall. They live very close by. There is a cast of eccentric personallities. Among my favorites are Harry, Rupert's (Rupert is the 15th the Earl of Grenville) son. Then there is Alfred, Iris's step brother. There was a great ongoing under tone of comedy. The mystery was very well done. They find a body that has been hidden in the hall for fifty something years, so it's a cold house. I didn't figure out who did it until the characters did. I am looking foward to returing to Little Dipperton, England.
C_Fowler More than 1 year ago
A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall is the third book in the immensely enjoyable Honeychurch Hall Mysteries. It is a rollicking ride in the countryside around Little Dipperton Devon with Kat Stanford and her mother Iris, and of course the residents of Honeychurch Hall, with a few new characters added to the mix. Iris is still a woman of secrets -- will Kat ever really know her mother -- and my favorite character, Harry/Biggles is truly a delight. If you are a bit of an Anglophile like me, you will enjoy every word and description in this wonderful book as well as the foibles of the "toffs" at Honeychurch Hall and the people who live around them. This book can definitely stand alone, but I have read the first book in the series, which I would highly recommend just so you can have an introduction to Honeychurch and its characters. I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Antique dealer Kat Stanford can't keep out of trouble. When she goes to the Hall to value several paintings to be put up for auction, she accidentally finds a double-hide (a secret room behind a secret room) with a body inside. The police determine that the victim is Pandora Haslam-Grimley, an American heiress, who disappeared in 1958. Suddenly Kat's mother is the prime suspect since she knew the woman and disliked her. Now the tabloid press is printing salacious stories. Another murder and a kidnapping ramp up the tension. Kat needs to find the killer. Will she be successful? Honeychurch Hall and the English countryside are a perfect backdrop for this addictive cozy. I love historic houses so I was hooked by the setting. I quickly discovered an amazing story. I liked the characters and their determination. Kat has her hands full, but she won't stop. She needs to clear her mother who has always been mysterious about her past. Detective Inspector Shawn Cropper is on the job. He knows that Kat is up to something. He keeps her on her toes. I loved the hint of attraction between these two. He's a gallant hero but he's no fool. A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall is my cup of tea. I like the characters, the dialogue and the story which had so many unexpected twists. I couldn't stop reading until I knew who the culprit was and their motive. My hat is off to Hannah Dennison. I loved this book!
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
A Killer Ball in Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison is the third book in the Honeychurch Hall Mystery series. Katherine “Kat” Stanford is starting out her new business Kat’s Collectibles and Valuation Services. Kat has been called up to the hall to evaluate and crate up a William Dobson painting (they need the money). The ceiling in the King’s Parlor has suffered severe water damage and is in desperate need of repair (it is Elizabethan and will need a specialist to fix it). While looking around Kat discovers a priest hole (a hidden room). Upon entering Kat stumbles and discovers another hidey hole (it is called a double hide) and a dead body. The body is that of a woman and it looks like she has been there for some time. Who is this woman and how did she end up the double hide? The priest hole is usually only told to the owner of the house who then passes it along to his heir. Detective Inspector Shawn Cropper is called out. Upon investigation it is discovered that this woman disappeared in June of 1958. This leads the investigation towards Kat’s mum, Iris. Iris is known for her secrets and not telling the truth. Iris needs to be more forthcoming this time or she could end up in jail. Kat will have her work cut out for her finding the real killer. A Killer Ball in Honeychurch Hall is not a stand-alone book. You do need to read other books in the series, otherwise the story can be confusing. Some things are explained (from prior books), but not everything. The mother, Iris was not likeable to me. I think she is supposed to come across as humorous (and mysterious), but I just found Iris annoying. She was too over-the-top (and not in a good way). Secrets and lies are all Iris tells even to her daughter (and everyone else). The murder mystery was simple, and I solved it early in the book. There are quite a few characters in the book which can be befuddling and there is quite a bit going on. I just told you about the murder. There is a man sneaking about the property; Harry, the Earl’s son, is having trouble in school and everyone blames Kat because she convinced them to let Harry go to the local school; Alfred, Iris’ brother, is a thief and forger (and up to no good) are just a few things going on in A Killer Ball in Honeychurch Hall. I give A Killer Ball in Honeychurch Hall 3 out of 5 stars. It was okay (just not for me). The book is easy to read and has a good pace. I am just not a fan of this type of humor and the quirky, exaggerated characters (I have no problem with quirky but do they have to be so overstated). But many readers will enjoy it (especially if you are a fan of the series or if you like comedies). I received a complimentary copy of the novel from NetGalley and the publisher (through the Cozy Mystery Review Crew) in exchange for an honest evaluation of the book.
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall - Honeychurch Hall Mystery Book 3 Author: Hannah Dennison Publisher: St. Martin's Press Published: 5-3-2016 Pages: 301 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub-Genre: Amateur Sleuths; British Cozy; Women Sleuths ISBN: 9781250065506 ASIN: B016IAPW2Q Reviewed For NetGalley and St Martin's Press Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.5 Stars In this delightful new mystery our heroine Kat Stanford stumbles upon a hidden room in an abandoned wing at Honeychurch Hall. However, Kat's initial excitement soon ends in horror. There, lying on the cold, stone floor, Kat comes across the body of a young woman dressed in an Egyptian toga and wearing a tawdry fairground trinket around her broken neck. Suspicion falls on some of those who live at the Hall--both upstairs and down--and even those who are just been passing through. Matters come to a head as a killer lurks amid the aristocracy, and Downton Abbey fans will want more Killer Balls at Honeychurch Hall The third offerring by Hannah Dennison. A promise of once you start you will not want to put the book down.Fast paced and descriptive writing bring the story to life and allow the reader to immerse themselves in the story. My rating of "A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall" is out of 5 stars.
brookeblogs More than 1 year ago
A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison is the third book in this fantastic English-set cozy series. This series just keeps getting better and better. In this installment, Kat ends up almost in over her head when she discovers a body right in Honeychurch Hall! Mystery and intrigue abound as Kat tries to follow the clues and figure out who the perpetrator is. I couldn't put this one down. This series is on my must-read list, and I can't wait for more! I received a copy of this book for review purposes. My review was not influenced in any way.
carol223CS More than 1 year ago
Hannah Dennison's Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall is located in the countryside outside of Little Dipperton Devon. Once this stately mansion had been in the best of shape but now it is falling into disrepair. In order to get the money For repairs, His lordship is allowing Kat Stanford ,an antique dealer to remove art work to sell at auction. While she was removing the first artwork, Kat trips a knob which opened a secret panel leading into secret room. Then Kat falls into a bookcase inside the room which dumps her down into another secret room. It is here Kat discovers a mummified body from decades ago. And thus the story takes off at a galloping pace……. Mummified body, secret rooms and entrances throughout the mansion, secrets among the staff from the past and present, a murdered mysterious Lothario, a kidnapped reporter, a stolen car, stolen and fraudulent artwork, Kat’s mother who is a secret, romance writer with a notorious past, an uncle who is fresh from prison, Missing coins made at the mansion during war time, findings while horseback riding, mansion dogs and a handsome police detective. Beside having vivid, well-described, feisty and zany characters, there are more twists and turns to peak the readers interest plus a lot of humor!!!!! This is the third book in the Honeychurch Hall Mystery Series but the first I read. The book can be read as a stand alone. Great read!!! Thanks to the author via Facebook’s Cozy Mystery Review for the book. My opinion is my own.
debforb56 More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy a fun, fast paced, unique and quirky cozy mystery you won't want to miss A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison. Kat who is an appraiser and antique dealer has been summoned to look at some paintings to see about selling them to help with repairs at Honeychurch Hall. When Kat stumbles onto a body from many years before the suspicion seems to point at Iris her mother. Who killed this woman years ago, how did her mother fit into this mystery and what is she hiding from Kat? How can Kat help discover the story behind this murder and maybe clear her mother while trying to keep the suspicion off of her and trying to keep her mother Iris and Iris's brother Alfred out of trouble. Then when Bryan Laney, who mysteriously shows up at the estate just when the body is found, is murdered it looks like Iris or Alfred or even Kat could be the prime suspects. How can Kat keep herself and her mother out of jail and prove they didn't have anything to do with the murders before something else happens and can they find the silver that was suppose to have been minted at Honeychurch Hall years ago? I love British mysteries so I was looking forward to reading this book. It is a very interesting take on the British mystery because it envelops the story of the Lords and Ladys with the servants and travelers which keeeps you wondering who really is the murderer and why. I just love Iris because she is fun, quirky as well as unique and spunky. She probably makes the story for me with her whimsical ways of looking at things and yet her toughness. The interaction between her and the Honeychurch Hall Lord's and Lady's sparks an added dimension to the story. This book is fun but more than that it is a good plot with enough twists and suspects that makes it interesting and unpredictable. It is a puzzle within a puzzle with a surprise ending. I really enjoyed this book. If you are a fan of British mysteries or a fan of Downton Abby you probably will really like this book. It was a little slow at times but well worth reading. I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion and review. If you want to learn more about this book, the author or her other books go to: http://www.hannahdennison.com/ If you would like to purchase this book you can at: http://www.amazon.com/Killer-Ball-Honeychurch-Hall/dp/125006550X?ie=UTF8&keywords=a%20killer%20ball%20at%20honeychurch%20hall&qid=1464615681&ref_=sr_1_1_twi_har_2&s=books&sr=1-1 UNTIL NEXT TIME: GRAB A CUP OF COFFEE OR TEA, SOME CHOCOLATE, A GOOD BOOK AND KEEP ON READING!
C_Fowler More than 1 year ago
A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall is the third book in the immensely enjoyable Honeychurch Hall Mysteries. It is a rollicking ride in the countryside around Little Dipperton Devon with Kat Stanford and her mother Iris, and of course the residents of Honeychurch Hall, with a few new characters added to the mix. Iris is still a woman of secrets -- will Kat ever really know her mother -- and my favorite character, Harry/Biggles is truly a delight. If you are a bit of an Anglophile like me, you will enjoy every word and description in this wonderful book as well as the foibles of the "toffs" at Honeychurch Hall and the people who live around them. This book can definitely stand alone, but I have read the first book in the series, which I would highly recommend just so you can have an introduction to Honeychurch and its characters. I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Servedogmom More than 1 year ago
A Killer Ball in Honeychurch Hall is the third book in the Honeychurch Hall Mystery series by Hannah Dennison. A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall is the first book I’ve read by Hannah Dennison. Even though this can be read as a stand-alone book, I believe if I had read the previous books in the series I would have had a better understanding of the character’s relationships and personalities and the history of Honeychurch Hall. I love British mysteries, particularly those of the Golden Age in aristocratic Europe. This book reminds me of a modern Downton Abbey or Upstairs Downstairs rolled into one tightly woven plot that that kept me in suspense. The cast of characters are eclectic, eccentric, quirky, over-the-top, zany, very British... and there are a lot of them! Ms. Dennison interjects humor which kept the story light with some laugh-out-loud moments. Katherine “Kat” Stanford, an antique appraiser and former TV star, is starting a new business Kat’s Collectibles and Valuation Services. Kat. She resides at the Honeychurch Hall estate with her mother, Iris. This uniquely crafted plot includes a body hidden for decades in a priest hole, missing coins of the realm, learning Kat’s mother was raised in a traveling carnival and feels one doesn’t have to be honest, a missing/kidnapped reporter, missing art, stolen cars and too many secrets to count. Welcome to life at Honeychurch Hall. This book wouldn’t be considered one of my favorite cozy mysteries, but I did enjoy it. I hope to read the earlier books in the series and I’m looking forward to seeing how Kat’s business develops. This book is perfect for those who enjoy history (including the English Civil War) old and new, charming buildings, interesting characters, murder and treasure hunting. With historical accuracy, Ms. Dennison provides insight into how the aristocracy protect their legacy including lords, ladies, and commoners as they relive the glory days of the estate while touching upon class distinctions. If you appreciate the cozy mystery genre, or you’re just looking for a well-written old-fashioned mystery you will enjoy A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison. Full Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed in this review are my own.
BeagleGirl123 More than 1 year ago
I love Little Dipperton, I love Honeychurch Hall, and I love Kat and Iris Stanford! A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall is the 3rd installment in the series, and it did not disappoint. After devouring the first two books in the series, I anxiously awaited its release (I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest review, and to be truthful the series is so charming that I would have purchased it anyway!!!), and it was everything I'd hoped it would be! Once again, the reader is transported to the town of Little Dipperton in rural England, where the village's residents are involved in yet another murder and the mystery surrounding it, and thrown back in time to a long ago ball held at the Hall. Hannah Dennison is simply brilliant in her writing and descriptions, and I must highly recommend this book to one and all - especially those who are fans of the cozy mystery genre, or those just looking for a well-written old-fashioned mystery. A+
weluvdopey More than 1 year ago
This is a great book; this book is part of the Honeychurch Hall Mystery series by Hannah Dennison. This book can be read as a standalone, but if you read this one you will want to go back and read the others. Kat Stanford is an antiques dealer. She stumbles upon a partially mummified body of a young woman in an abandoned wing at Honeychurch Hall. When it appears that the deceased had been murdered, Kat is not surprised that her mother, Iris knew the victim. The more Kat searches for the truth, she becomes embroiled once more in her mother’s mysterious and tumultuous past. If you are looking for a great book, then you need to read this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book by this great author. A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.
TessT More than 1 year ago
A Killer Ball At Honeychurch Hall is Hannah Dennison"s Honeychurch Hall series. Although I have read a previous book in this series, I had some trouble getting "into" this one. I am not a quitter and will revisit this book in the future. FTC Full Disclosure - A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
CozyMysteryLover1 More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read in this series. I enjoyed it very much, however, it did take me a while to figure out who everyone was. The plot was interesting and I enjoyed the author's style of writing. I will definitely look for more in this series. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.