Lucy Harrington

(creator: Catherine Lloyd)


Catherine Lloyd
Lucy Harrington is the 25-year-old eldest daughter of the five children of the selfish widowed Rector of St Mary in the little village of Kurland St Mary. Her mother had died seven years ago "because she had too many children. She was simply worn out with it." Her father always said that Lucy "was far too intelligent for a girl, but he'd never stopped her from reading any of the books she requested, even the slightly scandalous ones." But he wanted her to stay at home and look after him, so she was afraid she was destined to become a spinster aunt.

Catherine Lloyd was born just outside London, England, into what she describes as a large family of dreamers, artists, and history lovers. She was awarded a Master's degree in History at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth then worked in finance before moving to the United States in 2000. It then took her five years to get her first book published, but she became the author of an extensive series of erotic historicals (with titles like Simply Sexual) under the name of Kate Pearce, before publishing Death Comes to the Village (reviewed below) which is intended as the first of a Kurland St Mary series. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and four children.

Death Comes to the Village (2013)
Death Comes to the Village is set in 1816 in the sleepy little village of Kurland St Mary, and is our introduction to spinster Lucy Harrington, who is the local Rector's daughter, and to bed-ridden hero and lord of the manor, 35-year-old Major Robert Kurland, who had been heroically wounded at Waterloo. Major Kurland is stuck in bed with very limited mobility. So when one night he spies a mysterious figure near the parish church carrying a heavy load, and suspects foul play, he turns to his old childhood acquaintance, Lucy Harrington, to carry out the active part of the investigation.

When Lucy mentions the recent disappearance of two young serving girls, Robert wonders if one of the girls has met with a terrible end. He "stared out of the window as if he was reconstructing the events in his head", then gives her his orders that she dutifully writes down for "she was loath to interrupt his flow of enthusiasm". As they struggle to solve the mystery, the unlikely pair begin to build up a new relationship, so she is dismayed to find that he turns out to be engaged to the thoroughly unpleasant Miss Chingford, an unconvincing villain straight out of an old-time Romance novel. By now Lucy was "more willing than usual to express her own opinions". But will setting a trap to force a confession out of the suspected murderer put them both in mortal danger?

It makes an interesting story that holds the attention even if some of the narrative sounds rather stilted as when we are told that 'trying to sympathise about his current condition would only arouse his (the Major's) ire", or when the Major talks about his "damned bed" and Lucy tells him, "I know that you are scarcely at your best, Major, but perhaps you might refrain from using such language in front of a lady. It is the fourth time you have cursed this morning", or when she describes herself as "my father's spiritual representative in this matter", and tells him, "I am only doing my Christian duty, sire."
"Your Christian duty?" he repeated."Where is your esteemed father today?"
Somehow it does not sound quite right.

Lucy's ambition is to be allowed to go to London, but, although her father is ready to send her younger sister there, he tells her, "I will need you here more than ever". But after she's been hit on the head by a mysterious assailant, she becomes even more determined to find out "exactly what was going on in Kurland village". And so is the major who is now trying to get around in his own home-made wheelchair, spurred on by Lucy who is even prepared to wage him £5 that he will one day be able to ride a horse and call on his neighbours on foot. Obviously Romance is in the air, but, equally obviously, there'll be all sorts of problems before true love can find its way.

The climax, in which an unlikely killer manages to entomb her, is over-the-top, even if it does lead the Major to concede, "Being shut up in a tomb with a corpse would be enough to shake even the strongest constitution". In the end, he does make her an offer, even if it's not the one she wants. And when he sees her disappointment, he just laughs. Just what you'd expect in a romantic novel. But there are all those sequels still to come ...

The truth is that Lucy, although quite an interesting character, is not really much of a detective - nor does much of her clerical background seem to have rubbed onto her.



The author has her own website and there is a brief interview with her on Melissa's blog. Also see her Kate Pearce site.



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Death Comes to the Village cover
The cover looks a bit too "pretty pretty".
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Holmes