Grace Wheaton, the assistant curator at the 150-room Marshfield Manor filled with priceless art in Julie Hyzy’s Grace under Pressure, has just finished dealing with a troublemaker in an issue that required the use of all the security guards when a message comes over the radio that shots have been fired in Bennett Marshfield’s office. Rushing up there along with Marshfield, Grace discovers that the curator, Abe Vargas, has been shot. Learning that Abe was scheduled to meet with Marshfield over a threatening letter, Grace suspects that he has been killed in mistake for Marshfield, probably by the letter writer. Then, Grace learns that Marshfield testified that morning against Taft, a man who scammed thousands of people in a giant Ponzi scheme and against which Marshfield blew the whistle. So could one of his victims, who blame Marshfield for the loss of their money, have gone after him when the perpetrator is in jail and inaccessible?
Many twists to the case arise, creating all sorts of intriguing details to make the book really fascinating. Grace has so many things come up that she must deal with, struggling to work with Francis, her hostile and nosy assistant, trying to figure out which employees she can trust, and dealing with some astonishing family business.
I like the character of Grace and really feel that I have come to know the manor personally. I think I would love to get to visit this incredible-sounding place. Grace also has a pair of well-drawn roommates, Scott and Bruce, who own a wine shop and help her cope with the difficulties of life. It is very unusual to find gay characters, let alone significant characters, in a cozy mystery, so I found this detail refreshing.
Emily Durante narrates the audio version of this book. I have enjoyed her performances in the past and appreciated it in this book too.
I thoroughly enjoyed Grace under Pressure at least as much as I have enjoyed Hyzy’s other series I have read and loved. It has a strong mystery plot, great characters, and a lot of enjoyable details. I highly recommend this book and give it five stars!
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