Book Review: Misery Hates Company by Elizabeth Hobbs

I am always fond of a good murder mystery. I am especially keen on mysteries where the narrator’s voice shine’s through in exquisite detail, throwing me into a specific time or place as well as into the character’s thoughts. Misery Hates Company did this quite well, and I applaud the author for that.

This book follows Marigold Manners as she sets out for Great Misery Island to stay with some distant relatives after the death of her parents. Marigold is eminently practical, intelligent, and capable, a New Woman at the turn of the century. However, her family, the Hatchets, might prove to be a challenge even she cannot overcome, as they seem to be hiding a number of secrets. When her cousin is murdered, Marigold must figure out who did the deed. Or rather, who didn’t.

I started this book and was immediately drawn in by the language and narration. Marigold is a fantastic character to read (I am a sucker for a capable, logical woman) and her interactions with all the other characters was absolutely wonderful. I will admit that I really liked Cab and was hoping things might progress a bit more there, though the way that it was resolved did fit the story and character perfectly. I also liked the variety of personality in every character, including those that weren’t on the page all that often. Everyone felt unique and real.

I will say that I was a bit disappointed that the actual murder part of the mystery didn’t occur until the last third of the book. Granted, this murder required quite a bit of set-up and I do not begrudge the amount of time that took. It just surprised me a bit to have a murder mystery focus more on the mystery than the murder. Still, I don’t think the story suffered for it.

I do wish that the solution to the mystery had been suggested a bit earlier throughout. Oh, there were clues and such, but the culprit deserved a bit more in the story, I feel. The reasoning for the murder was explained well, but I would have liked to see snippets of it throughout the story. Otherwise, it comes as a bit more of a surprise than I would have liked. (Yes, yes, I know that the whole point of a murder mystery is to stymie the readers. But I need clues earlier on!)

Overall, I enjoyed this book a great deal and would happily read the next book, should there prove to be one (please). An excellent read.