Author: Diana Xarissa
Aunt Bessie Assumes by Diana Xarissa is an Isle of Man Cozy Mystery.
Elizabeth Cubbon, known as Aunt Bessie to her friends, is the Isle of Man’s answer to Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. Never married, Aunt Bessie is the generous yet firm aunt to the people around. This book, the first in a series, is the first time she stumbles into sleuthing.
While out on a walk on the beach, she literally stumbles over a dead body. It turns out to be that of Danny Pierce, the older son of the fabulously wealthy Pierces, whose summer cottage is located on the island. Danny’s death throws up a number of potential suspects. The widow is a gold digger, younger brother, Donny, has financial woes, and there seems to be a hint of a drug problem that Danny had.
Having discovered the body, Aunt Bessie develops a keen interest in the investigation. Before long, she is making her own deductions, and sharing them with John Rockwell, the chief inspector of the CID, and Hugh Watterson, a young policeman. Her friend, Doona, who works at the police station, is also part of the quartet.
They mystery deepens slightly when Donny’s girlfriend, Samantha, hints at a controversy being afoot, but before she can speak of her suspicions to Aunt Bessie, she is killed too.
It’s a cosy mystery, so there isn’t much of danger in the air, except for a time, when in true detective mystery tradition, the killer tries to eliminate Aunt Bessie because he thinks she knows too much. Ironically, until the killer actually admits to the crime, Aunt Bessie has not really caught on to the person’s identity. We, on the other hand, have already managed to suspect this person, simply because there aren’t too many suspicious characters floating around these pages anyway.
I liked the character of Aunt Bessie. She is tough and independent and does not react kindly to those who hold ageist and sexist beliefs, and she likes reading mystery novels. Naturally, it isn’t quite that long before she unconsciously begins to attempt to solve the mystery herself.
This book doesn’t tax your grey cells but it is pleasant reading nonetheless.