Death Comes to Dartmoor

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Death Comes to Dartmoor is the 2nd book in the Merriweather and Royston Mystery Series by Vivian Conroy.  The story centers around the mysterious murder of a girl, whom the villagers immediately believe was killed by Merula's and Raven's current host, Oaks.  Oaks is known for his house full of zoological specimens and its existence stirs fears, gossip, and rumors in the nearby village.  Merula and Raven wish to help their host out and find the real culprit, so they use their knowledge, power and deduction to help find clues and whittle down the list of suspects.

For me, what always sets these type of mysteries apart from one another are two things:  1) are there other stories and plots occuring outside of the main mystery and 2) how is the mystery actually solved within the story - meaning is it just told to us or do we as readers get to look at the clues ourselves and make assumptions and guesses, even if the characters can't hear our ideas.

In this story, there are additional stories or subplots that occur that help the readers take a mental break from the mystery at hand as well as help us get to know the characters better and what is important to them.  In this book, this mainly includes a potential romance for Lamb and some clues to Merula's parentage.  I am always thankful when there are backstories and subplots in mysteries as it makes it more enjoyable for me and helps me to care more about the characters as well know who they in different situations.

As with any mystery story, writing a review can be difficult since you don't want to spoil anything.  So, what I will say is that I did enjoy the mystery as well as enjoyed seeing the world a little differently than how I see it in my 2019 eyes.  We have so much knowledge and information now right at our fingertips, but at the time of this mystery there was still much learning occurring - in this case zoologically speaking - and no internet to help provide answers to questions that arise.  As far as the mystery goes, the main issue that did call out to me as I read it was that toward the end of the story the main characters seemed to throw out random guesses at the potential culprit without any proof in the hopes to see what would stick.  Although that kind detective work does occur, it seemed to happen too frequently within a short reading time span and the characters didn't really have too much to go on when they did it.  So, all in all I would have liked a little more 'fact' going into that section of the book.
.
This novel is a delightful read and one of the best things about this mystery is how easy it is to enjoy.  This is what I call a Sunday afternoon read - it is pleasant, enjoyable, and entertaining.  I hadn't read the first in the series and there were at times I wished I had in order to help me understand the relationship between Merula and Raven better, but it never kept me from enjoying the book  I do recommend this book and I myself will look forward to reading the next in the series.
Was this review helpful?
The following appeared on my book review blog this morning:

Who doesn’t love a period book set against a vast English countryside complete with a sweeping country manor and a couple of amateur sleuths that are eager to get a break from Victorian London and the murder mystery that they just solved?

A MERRIWEATHER AND ROYSTON MYSTERY
Death Comes to Dartmoor is the second installment of the Merriweather and Royston Mysteries. The novel picks up on the heels of the first book. That said, this installment is hard to get into and fully understand the backstory if you have not read, The Butterfly Conspiracy. It is beneficial to read the first book of this series before you begin Death Comes to Dartmoor or you might be lost and not be able to get into the mystery that unfolds for our pair of zoologists whose vacation doesn’t go anywhere near as planned.

MURDER IN THE VILLAGE
I don’t know what it is about Devon, maybe it’s the moors and the overall vibe of the village, but there are so many novels like And Then There Were None and even The Hounds of the Baskervilles that use the moors and Devon as their setting. Much like stories before, our main characters Merula Merriweather and Lord Rayven Royston arrive in Devon with Merriweather’s maid, Lamb, and Royston’s valet, Bowspirit only to find that their idyllic country getaway is going to be far from what they expected.

Oaks, their host, is acting incredibly strange. The specimens that he collects are thought to be coming back to life and then, his maid disappears. Oaks is bordering on delusional and the villagers are calling for his blood. Almost inevitably, the maid turns up dead and Oaks is the main suspect, leaving Merriweather and Royston to delve into the mystery that they have walked into and prove Oaks’ innocence.

CONTINUING STORY LINE
In The Butterfly Conspiracy, we learn that Merriweather does not know who her parents are. She has lived with an aunt and uncle who have loved and raised her, but she is still determined to find out where she comes from. Merriweather’s parental lineage comes into play again when she encounters a man from a traveling theater company at a local gathering who makes the comment that she looks so much like her mother. Merriweather is given a lead into her mother’s past that she is eager to flesh out and it will be interesting to see what the story of her parents are and how she reacts when she finally uncovers the truth behind her parents’ past and how it will play out in future books within this series.

BOOK INFORMATION
Death Comes to Dartmoor: A Merriweather and Royston Mystery by Vivian Conroy will be released on August 13, 2019, from Crooked Lane Books with ISBN 9781643850092. This review corresponds to an advanced electronic galley that was supplied by the publisher in exchange for this review. To snag special pre-order pricing click the link above!
Was this review helpful?
I just couldn’t get into this book. Others have said that it stands alone, but I found that I was a bit lost in chapter one instead of hooked. Instead of immediately getting to know the characters, I found myself wondering over and over what I had missed. I recommend that readers start at the beginning of this series.

I follow the GoodReads rating system. Please note that this means even the 3-star books are ones I liked.
1 star – didn’t like it
2 stars – it was OK
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was amazing; I’ll read it over and over and/or it will impact my daily life.
Was this review helpful?
I chose this book on Netgalley for the attractive cover and because I like historical detectives.
The story was entertaining enough but I found the characters rather shallow and the story had little depth.
Interesting enough to read the book to the end but I don't think I will read the other episodes in the series.

2,5 stars, but will round up to 3

I want to thank Netgalley for providing me with an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a fun historical romp! I enjoyed the setting, characters, and dialogue - however I did not realize this was a sequel. I think I would have enjoyed the book and the characters more intimately, had I known I had an opportunity to get to know them prior to this novel. I will be going back and reading the first book, and look forward to giving this book another go after that point in time! It was an overall fun read - great for a sunny day or a rainy day curled under a blanket.
Was this review helpful?
Death Comes to Dartmoor by Vivian Conroy is the second in the Merriweather and Royston Mystery series. You will get a better backstory and understand some events that are mentioned by reading the first book, The Butterfly Conspiracy, but it’s not necessary to have read it to enjoy this one. In Death Comes to Dartmoor our two main characters, Merula Merriweather and Lord Raven Royston are travelling together to visit a friend, Lord Oak, who has invited them to see his zoological collection. This should be a welcome break for both after the taxing events of the first book, but their idea of a peaceful holiday is immediately shattered.

Upon arrival they find that there has been a murder, villagers are baying for the blood of their friend and there’s a mystery about an escaped beast. The main storyline is an investigative journey to find the real killer and free their friend from his jail cell, but there’s also an ongoing side story of Merula’s investigation into her own mysterious past. It’s hard to review a cosy mystery without any spoilers, so all I will say that this is an enjoyable and intriguing read, with some fun folklore and a nod to The Hound of the Baskervilles that will appeal to fans of the cosy genre. I’ll definitely be reading book three!
Was this review helpful?
On my! This books has everything I love! History and mystery! I felt like I was there living right along side the characters. This is a book I will read again. I will recommend to fellow readers!
Was this review helpful?
This was a greatly entertaining read. I have not read the the first in this series , but  The story was fine as a read alone , the characters and plot moved along smoothly so much so that when finished reading this one I will be looking for the first in the series. I thank NetGallery for the opportunity to read this and for the introduction to this author.
Was this review helpful?
This is the second in the Merriweather and Royston mystery series.

Merriweather is in fact Merula Merriweather, who saved her Uncle from falsely being hanged for murder in the first book. A trip to Dartmoor is prescribed to blow away the cobwebs and soothe the nerves.

Royston is in fact Lord Rayven Royston a zoologist who is using natural history as his last vestige of respectability after some dubious events. Royston helped Merriweather with the exoneration of her uncle. He agrees to accompany her on her trip.

To maintain the air of respectability there is also Lamb, Merriweather's maid and Bowspirit, Royston's valet.

Surely Victorian Devon is going to be less dangerous than Victorian London....

But when they get to the house they are meant to be staying at, after being diverted by the wreckmaster high up on the moor, all is not as it seems. Oaks, their host seems to be in some sort of delirium, his maid has disappeared, the natural history specimens he collects seem to be coming to life and the local villagers are baying for his blood.

Then the maid's body turns up and it looks like Oaks is responsible.

This is not the quiet respite that Merriweather and Royston were after. And it looks like their unlikely detective partnership is going to have to be used again to solve the mystery.

I think to understand in more depth the relationship between the two main characters you needed to have read the first book, I am sure that would have made the second book, this one, more enjoyable for me. An interesting concept as a series of novels and I thoroughly enjoyed the setting and the landscape descriptions. I think the series can develop but there was something just missing from the storytelling which just didn't grab me and make me want to read more. I really wish I knew what it was.

An acceptable book to while away a few hours in front of the fire and escape from the present day.
Was this review helpful?
The second installment of the Merriweather and Royston series and a new author. I will read this author again. 
Merula Merriweather and a zoologist, Lord Raven Royston have accepted an invitation to visit a friend of his to see his collection of zoological species that include a Kraken, a sea monster that pulls ships into the seas and will eat people. As they near the home, they are stopped by the wreckmaster that road was closed and they need to use the road that passes through Cranley. They find that the affairs of his friend are not right and tried to help him and at one party a visitor to the area tells Merula she looks just like her Mother. Merula is determined to find out what he knows about her background. Will she succeed? I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: Thanks to Crooked Lane Books for a copy through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
3 likes
Was this review helpful?
Merula and Lord Ralston or Raven rode smack dab into an unthinkable situation of which their host was threatened with a lynching. When the hanging party almost broke down the door to get in the following morning, Merula and Ralston along with their valet and maid went in search for answers. Their sleuthing upturn a hornet's nest, in a village full of angry residents ready to take the law into their own hands, off of someone’s wicked and evil conspiracy for money. Merula was also in search of answers as to her birth parents seeing as she is an orphan. This book was not what I expected at all, Dartmoor sounds so boring, I thought it was going to be one of those without much excitement. But its storyline was a surprisingly intriguing and captivating one, the characters are awesome, making this book an entertaining and engaging package.
Was this review helpful?
Death Comes to Dartmoor is a fabulous mystery that is well written and with great characters.  I loved this book and can't wait to read more from this author.
Was this review helpful?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were interesting and had depth, the many plot threads kept me guessing and the ending was satisfying.  It’s very well written,

I really appreciate a book where you feel obliged to think as you go, I love it when I get some aspects right, but there are still some surprising twists in the story. I look forward to reading more of the books in the series.

With many thanks to the author, the publishers, Crooked Lane Books. and NetGalley for my free copy to review
Was this review helpful?
A well-written story that I enjoyed from beginning to end. The author sets the scene by (re)introducing us to the four characters (Raven, Merula and their servants). on their journey to visit an odd friend with an odd house in Dartmoor. What they face there (superstitions, traditions) and what they struggle to prove (their friend's innocence) become a battle between resisting and embracing progress. But, before taking sides, they must solve the murder at hand: building theories, eliminating suspects... 
Merula finding out very small bits about her family's past muddies the waters even more and leaves you wishing for more (looking forward to reading the next volume)
Was this review helpful?
Interesting premise, but the book never really grabbed me.  I just didn’t feel invested in the characters and the relationship that was developing between them.  I just didn’t care about their fate.
Was this review helpful?
I received a copy of this title from the publisher for an honest review.  Death Comes to Dartmoor is the second title featuring Merula Merriweather and Lord Raven Royston.  Following the events of the Butterfly Conspiracy, Merula and Raven are leaving London to visit an acquaintance of Raven's in Dartmoor to give Merula some time to rest and recover.  Upon arrival, it becomes clear that something is not right in the neighborhood; after leaving the train and transferring to carriage, their carriage is stopped and forced to go the longer route round through a local village.  While traveling through the village, the pair hears of a missing local girl.  Upon finally arriving at his friend's house, Merula and Raven finally arrive at Oak's house and find him behaving oddly.  Early the following morning, a mob wakes them looking for Oak and threatening to burn down his home after the body of the missing girl has been found and he is believed to be responsible for her death.  The mystery over who and why the girl was killed was well done and entertaining; there were enough twists and turns to keep me changing my mind about who the murderer was several times.  The book also continues the storyline introduced in the previous book about Merula's heritage as she was orphaned young and doesn't know her parents.  A local traveling theater company offers Merula a lead into her mother's past when a man she encounters at a local gathering comments on how much she looks like her mother.  I'm curious to see how the story about her past unfolds.  Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable way to pass a weekend and am hoping for many more titles in the series.
Was this review helpful?
This is a solid, well written mystery story from start to finish. Lots of twists and more than its fair share of red herrings! The plot is really interesting and quite unlike anything I have read before (not a spoiler but it involves an alleged Kraken) and the growing field of zoology. I am a fan of this author and this one did not disappoint. Thank you NetGalley for the advanced reader copy for review.
Was this review helpful?
suspense, superstitions, action, whodunit, scary-good, folklore, England  *****  

Dartmoor. The very name conjures up darkness, fears, and folklore. This story embodies all that and more! I found it rather Sherlockian in its relentless search for the realities that fed the fear of the locals as well as the misdirection and astounding plot twists. Which is my way of saying that I loved it! The publisher's blurb is better than most, and spoilers are disrespectful to the author, so I can only suggest that if it looks intriguing, you won't regret reading it. 
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Crooked Lane Books via NetGalley. Thanks again!
Was this review helpful?
I really wanted to like this book.  The characters sounded interesting, and I’m a fan of Victorian Era mysteries.  However, this one didn’t hold my attention.  There was a great deal of talking rather than showing, and the heroine seemed more interested in her own past than in finding the murderer.  Her lady’s maid had to be one of the more annoying characters I’ve encountered.  The series has definite possibilities, but the author simply hasn’t perfected her style yet.
Was this review helpful?
I found this a slow starter but it picked up later, who killed a young woman from the village strangled it seems by a Kraken but how could this be.  That is the answer Merula and her friends are trying to find, amongst all the legends and stories that abound in this boggy section of England.. Though Merula had another reason to search for answers that have nothing to do with the murder.
Was this review helpful?