Karen’s Killer Book Bench #International #Sleuth #Mystery: A COLLECTION OF LIES, A Kate Hamilton Mystery by Connie Berry

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A Kate Hamilton Mystery


“In USA Today bestselling author Connie Berry’s fifth Kate Hamilton mystery, American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton follows bloodstained clues to discover the truth about the murder of a modern-day Victorian gentleman.

As Kate Hamilton and her new husband, DI Tom Mallory, honeymoon in Devon, a local history museum asks them to trace the provenance of a bloodstained dress said to belong to a Victorian lacemaker accused of murder. If genuine, the dress and its puzzling connections to a nineteenth-century Romani family who camped on Dartmoor will be the centerpiece of a new historic crimes exhibit—exactly Kate’s kind of mystery. But matters turn deadly when a shot is fired during a fundraising gala, injuring the man who donated the dress.

The injured donor, Gideon Littlejohn, is a cybersecurity expert who lives and dresses as a Victorian gentleman, but everyone believes the real target of the attack to be another attendee—a controversial politician intent on rooting out local corruption. This belief is overturned when Gideon is found dead in a pool of blood. But then the politician receives a death threat.

Who was the real target? Who would want to kill both a man with an obsession for history and a tough-on-crime politician? When asked to assist in the investigation, Kate races to discover the truth, as it becomes clear the killer isn’t going to come quietly.”


A Kate Hamilton Mystery


Thursday, January 2

The Old Bell Inn, Devon, England

“Murderers can be perfectly ordinary people.” Tom was stretched out atop the duvet, bare chested and wearing his navy sweatpants. He looked at me over his reading glasses. “I’m serious, Kate. They’re often people you’d never suspect. Small irritations build up, and then one day they just snap. I once arrested a pensioner for stabbing her neighbor to death with a garden trowel because she was sure some of the weed killer he was spraying had drifted onto her prize roses.”

I started to laugh, and my coffee went down the wrong way.

“That’s not funny.” He looked slightly hurt.

I thumped my chest, trying to breathe. “I’m sorry, but do you think all newlyweds chat about murder on their honeymoon?”

To be fair, the topic was hardly surprising. Tom was a detective inspector in the Suffolk Constabulary. But I was an antiques dealer and appraiser. Not a particularly treacherous profession.

“I was leading up to something.” Tom reached over and placed his mug of coffee on the bedside table. He picked up a blue folder. “We’ll be on Dartmoor tomorrow. It’s time to think about our investigation. Listen to this: ‘Of all the crimes in Devon’s history, the most mysterious may be the case of Nancy Thorne, a thirty-year-old lacemaker from the lost Dartmoor village of Widdecombe Throop.’”

“Wait a minute,” I interrupted him. “What do you mean by ‘lost village’? How can an entire village be lost?”

“Lots of reasons. Climate change, for one. Settlements that thrived during the Medieval Warm Period were abandoned as the climate cooled. And during World War II, there were villages that—”

I gave him a playful shove. “In other words, you don’t know. Keep reading.”

Tom grinned at me. “‘At one AM on the night of seventh September 1885, Nancy returned to the cottage she shared with her sister, a seamstress, in a state of incoherence. Her hair was disheveled. Her dress was torn and soaked with what appeared to be blood. For reasons never explained, neither the village doctor nor the local constable was called.’”

“This happened in 1885?” I propped myself on one elbow. “When was the piece written?”

“Nineteen forty-two. It’s the script of a radio documentary on crimes in Devon.”

“Hardly an eyewitness account, then. Go on.” I kissed his shoulder.

“‘Witnesses testified that Nancy arrived as usual for the six o’clock service at the village church but left soon afterwards. The vicar, Edward Quick, assumed she had been taken ill. Later, concerned for Nancy’s well-being, he called at the cottage, where her sister, Sally, told him Nancy had not returned home. She wasn’t concerned, however, as Nancy often stopped after evening service to visit a friend, a local widow who’d been housebound. The widow, when questioned later, said she had indeed been home but had not seen Nancy Thorne in several days. When Nancy finally did appear, she claimed to have no memory of the events of that night and could offer no explanation for the blood on her frock. The police launched an investigation, but as no person in the surrounding area had gone missing and no body, human or animal, was ever discovered, the case was closed. Nancy died at the age of forty-six without ever speaking of the events that occurred that night.’” Tom closed the folder. “Well, that’s the case.”

“Please don’t tell me we’re expected to solve a hundred-and-forty year-old murder.”


“Well, then, what does Grahame Nash expect us to do?”

Nash, Tom’s friend from his early days in the Suffolk Constabulary, ran an international private investigations firm based in Toronto. He’d been trying for at least a year to convince Tom to take early retirement from the police force and join his firm—an idea that appealed to me no end. When I weighed the dangers of discreet private investigations against drugs, domestic violence, organized crime, and terrorism, there was no contest. I had a new husband, and I didn’t want to lose him.

About Author Connie Berry

Connie Berry is the author of the Kate Hamilton mysteries, set in the UK and featuring an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. Like her protagonist, Connie was raised by antiques dealers who instilled in her a passion for history, fine art, and travel. During college she studied at the University of Freiburg in Germany and St. Clare’s College, Oxford, where she fell under the spell of the British Isles. In 2019 Connie won the IPPY Gold Medal for Mystery and was a finalist for the Agatha Award’s Best Debut. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and is on the board of the Guppies and her local Sisters in Crime chapter. Besides reading and writing mysteries, Connie loves history, foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable Shih Tzu, Emmie.


Links to Connie’s websites, blogs, books, #ad etc.:


Special Giveaway: Connie  will gift a print copy (US Only) of A COLLECTION OF LIES to one lucky reader who comments on her Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog. Good luck!

Happy Reading!


Thanks, Connie, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!



11 thoughts on “Karen’s Killer Book Bench #International #Sleuth #Mystery: A COLLECTION OF LIES, A Kate Hamilton Mystery by Connie Berry”

  1. It sounds interesting, but it’s a part of a series. Since I haven’t read the rest of the series, I wonder if the books are stand alone, or if they need to be read in order. Thanks for the opportunity to maybe win one of your books.

  2. Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench, Connie. I love cold case mysteries. There are so many old clues that are likely to be compromised by the length of time that has passed. I love seeing how the mystery is solved around that. Of course, modern technology does help these days. This promises to be a good read. Thanks for sharing your book with us today!

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