For my next book I choose the first in the Aunt Dimity series, Aunt Dimity’s Death. The was a reread for me, I read it the first time many years ago- I can’t even remember how many years ago now. With the exception of a few very favorite books- Wuthering Heights, Madensky Square, Pride and Prejudice, Frenchman’s Creek and Practical Magic come to mind- I have never been too much of a rereader. There are just so many good books to read for the first time. But I am rethinking the practice of rereading. If we love something, it bears immersing ourselves in it again and again I think. But not only that, I think rereading gives us the opportunity to revisit ourselves too, to revisit the person we were the last time we read the book, and to see if it still fits and perhaps regain a little different perspective on who we were at that time, and how we’ve developed.
I just wanted to say that because it’s been on my mind in relation to reading, I don’t know that anything so lofty was afoot when I reread Aunt Dimity’s Death. The first time around, I made it through about half the series, and I was thinking of picking it back up again and thought I would reread just the first one before deciding whether to carry on. I remembered these as being very comforting and gentle mysteries where often no one even dies. There is no murder or murderer, but another kind of perplexing puzzle to be solved. This was very good for me at the time I originally read them because we had experienced a very tragic and traumatic death in my immediate family and I was much too upset to read about murder for entertainment, even in my beloved golden age mysteries.
Well, I remember liking Aunt Dimity’s Death the best of all the stories because it is almost like a fairy tale for grown-ups (and we need them too). Main character Lori Shepard, down on her luck, destitute and having lost everything dear to her, finds that she has a kind of fairy godmother in Aunt Dimity. I never like to say too much and spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t read it. But it’s a comfort read for sure, and I am in true need of those kinds of books just now. I also remembered thinking that Lori Shepard is not the most likable character in the world as she has got a bit of a chip on her shoulder about all her hardships. And this is quite understandable and it must be rather difficult for an author to put in that very real human response to hardship and tragedy while still keeping the character likeable, and Atherton may not have completely achieved that balance with Lori in this story. I thought that the first time and felt the same upon my rereading- she is not an easy character to fully embrace. But there is enough else to like to keep the book very enjoyable- the descriptions of houses, fancy hotels and the like, the friendship between Dimity and Lori’s mother, the mystery itself and the many other lovely characters who are kind and helpful and gently funny. So I was glad I reread it and I may have to figure out where I was in the series and take it up again. I am still deciding about that and in the meantime have many other books to look forward to reading….