Monday, May 9, 2016

Amory Ames is on the Case!

What's there NOT to like in murder, intrigue, post-war British grandeur, and a bit of romance?  This is what you get with Amory and Milo Ames. Picture Downton Abbey meets Agatha Christie's Tommy and Tuppence series and you get the Amory Ames mystery series.  Written by Louisiana librarian, Ashley Weaver, the Amory Ames series follows Amory, a young British socialite who is navigating the turbulent waters of British high society, her tumultuous marriage, and the occasional murder thrown in. Weaver, a librarian from Allen Parish, Louisiana, sets her mysteries in the boisterous, extravagant background of post-WWI England, where parties, high society, and a devil-may-care attitude reign supreme in the lives of the Ameses and their social circles.  Despite being a 21st century American, Weaver does an excellent job in recreating what English high society was and how it could be fraught with secrets, intrigue, and back-stabbing, not to mention shallowness, vanity, and superficiality that marked the 1920's in European high society.
Keep an eye out for Amory and
Milo's third adventure, 
A Most Novel Revenge,
October 11, 2016!

These are definitely cozy mysteries (great ones, a facet that is sometimes lacking in the genre), ones with fun antics, daring, and a neatly tied up ending; these are the ultimate beach books, ones that transport you to 1920's England with all the fancy trappings, but also involve you in a well-plotted, intriguing mystery. Amory and her handsome, playboy, there's-more-to-him-than-we-know, husband, Milo, are wealthy, beautiful, and have a knack for getting sucked into mysteries that often involve corpses.  Although reluctant to admit it, Amory enjoys playing detective, much the chagrin of the local police and Milo. Once engrossed in a mystery, Amory uses her social status, her wit, and her attention to detail to figure out clues and the whodunit on the sly.  Amory is your typical cozy mystery detective: fun, beautiful, bright, and keen, a British grown-up Nancy Drew. Although formulaic, Amory is still very engaging and is fun to follow through her sometimes dangerous exploits.

It is her husband Milo who breaks the mold of the cozy mystery husband, who is stereotypically doting and willing to take the backseat to the quick wits of his stubborn, but brilliant wife. Not Milo Ames.  He is a rogue, doing what he wants when he wants to.  He is a tabloid magnet, usually spotted with women who are not Amory and is usually gallivanting around the hot spots in Europe.  He adores Amory but makes no excuses for his apparent bad behavior, instead placating her with vague reassurances about his innocence and solemn promises of his love for her.  Milo is ridiculously handsome and knows it; he uses his looks and charms to assist Amory in her investigations, prying out clues and statements from unsuspecting suspects.  He is reluctant for Amory to get involved out of concerns for her safety, but is unable to resist the intrigue and the pull of being a detective alongside her.  Milo is possibly the best part of these books; he is witty, funny, and smart, both in mind and in looks.  There is much speculation about Milo and his vagueness about his whereabouts, his company he keeps, and why his exploits are in such contradiction with his seemingly sincere love and devotion for Amory.  Is he a spy?  Is he a criminal?  What is Milo hiding behind his apparent (but untrue?) philandering and playboy lifestyle?  Milo is the true mystery of the books and Weaver makes sure to keep the mystique of Milo alive while whirling his and Amory's relationship around the actual murder mystery taking place.
Louisiana Author, Ashley Weaver,
courtesy of http://www.ashley-weaver.com/

This is one of the best cozy mystery series currently out there.  It has all the elements of a great mystery and Weaver does an excellent job of condensing it down to a manageable read.  The books are great mysteries without being campy, a trap that many cozies fall into.  The plot lines has character and detail and draw the reader into the conflict and ruckus without becoming overbearing.  There is melodrama without being ridiculous and there is a sense of macabre without being gory.  Weaver tows the line of intriguing mystery and cozy mystery perfectly.  This series is definitely a relaxing but fun read, and the whodunit factor will keep you turning the pages (or swiping the screen!) until Amory and Milo solve the day!

Calcasieu Parish Public Library System would like to congratulate Ashley Weaver, from their LSW partner Allen Parish, on her success!  It is awesome to see a local librarian go to the big leagues!!!! :-)