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Atherton, Nancy (Nancy Atherton)

Nancy Atherton, a paradox wrapped in an enigma, covered with a beaming American smile. Contrary to what her Cotswold-village flavored narratives might lead you to believe, Nancy isn't a wizened British woman sipping Earl Grey and munching on scones. Nope, she's a dynamo in denim from Colorado Springs. If you were to bump into her at a convention, as SFcrowsnest aficionados often do, you'd find her more in line with a hyperactive gerbil than a stately grande dame. And she wouldn't have it any other way.

Now, let's talk about her illustrious Aunt Dimity series. Imagine, if you will, a mystery series that's less Agatha Christie's "Murder on the Orient Express" and more like "Nancy Drew Goes to the Cotswolds." Our American protagonist, Lori Shepherd, somehow manages to solve mysteries with posthumous help from Aunt Dimity, who seems to have nothing better to do in the afterlife than communicate through a blue leather-bound journal. Think of it as spectral texting. It's like having your cake and eating it too, except the cake is a pastry recipe included in every book. Because what's a Cotswolds mystery without a touch of the Bake Off?

The books primarily take place in a fictional village that's more British than a queue for afternoon tea. But the series occasionally ventures out of the idyllic UK for some international escapades. With over twenty-five volumes and counting, Atherton offers a smorgasbord of village mysteries, complete with spiritual life advice and baked goods. Ah, who wouldn't want an undead British aunt who can not only help you solve crimes but also bake? You can search the Nest for articles on Atherton, Nancy (Nancy Atherton) over at