Augusta Hawke

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Pub Date 5 Jul 2022 | Archive Date 30 Jun 2022

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Description

Sometimes it's safer not to know your neighbors' secrets.

Where are Niko and Zora Norman? Crime writer Augusta Hawke puts her sleuthing skills to the test to solve the mystery of her disappearing neighbors in the first entry in a new series.

While Augusta Hawke is a successful author of eighteen crime novels, since her husband's death she's been living vicariously through her Jules Maigret-like detective Claude and his assistant Caroline. Then a handsome police detective appears investigating a real-life mystery.

Where are her neighbors, the Normans? No one has a clue what's happened - except Augusta. Although she isn't nosy, spending all day staring out the windows for inspiration means she does notice things. Like the Normans arguing. And that they've been missing a week.

Once the Normans' car is found abandoned, Augusta senses material for a bestseller and calls on the investigatory skills she's developed as a crime writer. But she soon uncovers long-hidden secrets and finds herself facing real-life dangers her characters never faced . . . ones she can't write her way out of.

Sometimes it's safer not to know your neighbors' secrets.

Where are Niko and Zora Norman? Crime writer Augusta Hawke puts her sleuthing skills to the test to solve the mystery of her disappearing...


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ISBN 9781448306022
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Featured Reviews

I have read G.M.Malliet for years and have loved them all and Augusta Hawke is no different. This new character is engaging and very likeable and the plot was interesting in how her career as an author was used. I hope this will be the start of a new series and I highly recommend this book.

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A Treat…
A new direction for this talented author with this new series featuring sleuthing crime writer Augusta Hawke. With eighteen novels down, widowed Augusta lives somewhat vicariously through her own fictional detective Claude. Augusta also spends much of her time window gazing. Not that she’s nosy, of course. Simply…observant. For her books. However, she has noticed that something is very amiss with her neighbours, the Normans. Like the fact that they’re missing. Is this simply to be some inspiration for her next bestseller or will Augusta be thrust into a mystery with an attractive detective and find herself in danger? Wholly enjoyable mystery with a perfectly crafted protagonist in Augusta and a colourful cast of supporting characters. Entertaining and compelling as well as being a more than promising start to a new series.

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Augusta Hawke is the first book in what I hope will be a new series by G.M. Malliet. I have thoroughly enjoyed her previous series and was intrigued by the plot of her new book. When I first started the book I wasn’t sure where it was going but the more I read the more I enjoyed it. This a contemporary mystery that takes place in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. The protagonist Augusta is a mystery writer who has the habit of looking into the homes of her neighbors. When one of the couples go missing leaving behind their baby Augusta is sure there is foul play and using the thought process of her fictional crime characters she sets off to solve the mystery. The book has lots of pithy observations and a sort of mad cap sensibility but it drew me in. The authors first hand knowledge of the area is evident in this present day cozy mystery.

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In the first in a new mystery series by GM Malliet, I enjoyed getting to know Augusta in the first few chapters. Once I got into the rhythm of the first-person narrative, I was enthusiastically along for the ride.

The author successfully uses her own experience as a prolific writer to infuse her protagonist with authenticity. When we discover Augusta is writing the 19th in her long-running series, it is a surprise and a thrill. We hear about her own protagonist, French detective Claude, and his sidekick, Caroline. The latter is a favorite with readers of the series, to the point where Augusta sometimes has to ask herself what Caroline would do in fraught situations.

As a successful author, Augusta lives in an upscale neighborhood where she can't help noticing that her close neighbors, a married couple, have suddenly disappeared, leaving their baby behind with a family member. Intrigued and looking for something to distract her from her lagging work-in-progress, Augusta can't help doing some investigating on her own, to the initial disgust and eventual respect of a police detective assigned to the case.

There is a lot to admire in this book--the author's unique voice, a convoluted case with a host of potential persons of interest, a dollop of humor, and an ending that, while it resolves the case, leaves things open for more fascinating stories and the potential for romantic interest in future entries in the series. I'll be looking for the next one.

My thanks for NetGalley and Severn House for affording me the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.

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G. M. Malliet has brought us a new central character and a thoroughly modern setting in her latest entry into mystery fiction, Augusta Hawke. Augusta is a fabulously successful writer of mysteries that seem to fall closer to the thriller/adventure/spy novel than anything else. She is a dedicated writer, and has her regular routine of writing four pages per day. The rest of her time is primarily spent inside her exclusive townhome in the Old Town section of Washington, D.C. Some of her time is spent watching the neighbors, gazing out the back of her home, across a green expanse, and into the homes of people who live across the green. Her watching is fairly mild, and not intended to be intrusive, she simply has this as a primary source of entertainment. While Augusta would likely deny the characterizations, she has come as close to being a recluse as anyone can who still travels for book-related activities.

The entertainment factor of her neighborhood watch turns into much more when the couple she primarily watches disappears, leaving their son behind with his grandparents. Questions arise, with everyone asking were they both kidnapped, was one kidnapped by the other, are they both dead? Augusta becomes intrigued by these questions and the desire to know, and plagued by having heard a short scream just prior to their disappearance which, when she finally tells the police about, they seem to pass off as unimportant

Deciding she needs to investigate, Augusta begins her own questioning of various people, enlisting the occasional help of her friend Misaki. She boldly wanders into homes and businesses where people who might be involved or who might know something can be found, and asks questions trying to discover what happened to the couple.

The book is told in a conversational style, as though Augusta is relating a lengthy story to the reader. There is little anxiety or violence throughout the book, rather a strong story that creates interest in the reader to find out what happens next.The pace is consistent, and the plot is well crafted and intriguing. The story draws the reader in, and it is easy to want to read just one more chapter, or two or three for that matter, before returning to the real world. While the reader can put it down and pick it up at leisure, it can stay in the back of the reader’s mind and offer a consistent tug back to the book as soon as possible. The pace does pick up in the final chapters of the book as Augusta closes in on the guilty parties. It is refreshing that she does not require a man to rush in and save her, at the same time the police detective who has been called in on the first cast does have a part in the successful conclusion of the situation.

I’ve read two other series written by Malliett, both of which took place in Europe, although that was the end of their similarity. This is the first series that I know about which takes place in the United States with American characters throughout. It is very entertaining, and demonstrates the ability of Maliett to create a wide variety of characters and locations. It is impossible to know where the series is headed, but I will be watching for the next book with eager anticipation. While the mystery is contained within this book, the reader may find themselves hoping to meet some of the secondary characters, such as the detective and Misaki, in future books.

My thanks to Severn House Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy for this review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Almost a five star. I have enjoyed all the G.M. Malliet books so I was excited to read Augusta Hawke, which I gather will be a new series. I was not disappointed. Malliet has created a hilarious character. Augusta is a well-known mystery writer/widow who lives in Old Town Alexandria. Her townhome is positioned so that she can see inside other townhomes (think Rear Window). One day the police begin the disappearance of Zora and Niko, an affluent couple who Augusta has seen on occasion. Augusta quickly begins her own investigation, along with her neighbor and quirky friend. She also meets a handsome police detective. Could there be a romance in store for Augusta? The fun in the book rests with the superb writing and not so much with the mystery. I know I have a winner when I read aloud particularly funny paragraphs to my husband. Can't wait for the next book.

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Augusta Hawke lives a solitary life, writing mysteries for a living and spying on her neighbors as a hobby.

When the beautiful young neighbors across the courtyard disappear, leaving their cat and child behind, "Gus" uses the investigative skills honed by her fictious character to mount a search. She dresses herself as a Southern belle shafted by her honey to gain access to the firm of divorce lawyers to which the husband belonged. The wife's mother grants an interview because she's a fan.

G.M. Malliet, author of the entertaining Max Tudor mysteries, begins a new series with "Augusta Hawke." The new characters are just as quirky as Max Tudor's friends, promising a compelling new series.

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"Sometimes it's safer not to know your neighbors' secrets.

Where are Niko and Zora Norman? Crime writer Augusta Hawke puts her sleuthing skills to the test to solve the mystery of her disappearing neighbors in the first entry in a new series.

While Augusta Hawke is a successful author of eighteen crime novels, since her husband's death she's been living vicariously through her Jules Maigret-like detective Claude and his assistant Caroline. Then a handsome police detective appears investigating a real-life mystery.

Where are her neighbors, the Normans? No one has a clue what's happened - except Augusta. Although she isn't nosy, spending all day staring out the windows for inspiration means she does notice things. Like the Normans arguing. And that they've been missing a week.

Once the Normans' car is found abandoned, Augusta senses material for a bestseller and calls on the investigatory skills she's developed as a crime writer. But she soon uncovers long-hidden secrets and finds herself facing real-life dangers her characters never faced...ones she can't write her way out of."

Shades of Jessica Fletcher eat your heart out!

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Rating: 4.0/5

Although it has some occasional elements that are a little grittier than you would usually find in the genre this new series opener from G.M. Malliet is essentially a cosy mystery - and a very engaging and well-written one it is too.

Augusta Hawke, the eponymous central character, is a writer of crime fiction, but when her neighbours mysteriously disappear, it isn't long before Augusta finds herself putting her knowledge of fictional crime to use in a real mystery. Now this is not the first time that a writer has made use of this scenario. There are a few examples that spring quite readily to mind, though perhaps the one with the highest profile would be Jessica Fletcher from the long-running television programme, "Murder, She Wrote". There are certainly some echoes of that in this novel, but I would venture to say that "Augusta Hawke" is not only much wittier, but it is also much better in general.

If a book series is going to be successful, then it really has to have engaging central characters. That is probably even more true of a crime series and especially one of the more cosy variety. As far as that aspect is concerned, G.M. Malliet has nailed it. There are other appealing players too, but the key central protagonist, Augusta, is a gem of a creation. She is witty and easy to warm to, with numerous examples of self-deprecating humour and amusing observations of the world of writing and publishing.

The story itself has a perfectly sound mystery at its heart that generally holds together pretty well. There are some instances that would be a little hard to swallow in a pure crime story and that an author could only really get away with in a cosy mystery, but those occasions are certainly forgivable in the overall context of the book. The central section is a little on the slow side in terms of plot development, but the pleasing characterisation continues to hold the attention during this phase until the pace of the action picks up in the latter stages of the novel.

Overall, this is definitely worth a read and sets up the new series well.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for supplying an ARC in return for an honest review.

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Augusta Hawke is a fantastic narrator. She self-aware but doesn’t let that stop her from snooping. I previewed this title here: https://www.mwgerard.com/books-for-june-22/

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Thank you, NetGalley, and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review "Augusta Hawke" by G.M. Malliet.
Having read a number of this author's "Max Tudor" series, I naturally jumped at the chance to read what is the start of a promising new series.
Of course, there are no shortage of 'amateur sleuth' mysteries out there, but Augusta Hawke is one-of-a-kind: a prolific mystery writer with no real need to make a change, who is thrown into a 'real life' mystery when her neighbours suddenly vanish, leaving behind a young child (and a cat).
Since her Washington DC-area house backs onto the street from where the couple have vanished, Augusta finds herself in a position to possibly be of some help to the investigating detectives (one of whom is, of course, very handsome and to whom Augusta is immediately drawn).
Ms. Malliet pulls out all of the tropes in this one: the next door neighbour, eager to help investigate; the wealthy parents who are eager for anyone to find and return their daughter; and the co-workers who may or may not also be involved in some way with the missing husband. Throw in a fellow writer who is also a Private Investigator, and you have all the elements of a classic whodunit.
Ms. Malliet pulls it off nicely, and I expect that the following books will continue in the same vein (and possibly some romance with a handsome detective?). Highly entertaining and recommended.

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I really enjoyed reading this book, having read several GM Malliet books previously and always having liked her writing.

This novel centres on the title character, Augusta Hawke, who lives by herself in what seems to be a fairly posh area. I loved how Malliet writes the character and how we get little insights into Hawke's insecurities about herself and her life.

We get the impression that Hawke doesn't have much of a "life" in the sense that we're supposed to have one. She doesn't do a lot or have many friends or go out much. So she kind of keeps a keen eye on her neighbours and what they're up to. But when two of them go missing, leaving behind a baby, Hawke is drawn into the investigation to find out what happened to them.

The pace of the novel is good - not too slow and enough interesting characters and detail on Hawke's internal worryings to keep it all interesting. Hawke as a mystery writer kind of reminded me a little of Ariadne Oliver in Agatha Christie's Poirot. Her friend Misaki is a good character too, as is the main cop investigating the disappearance.

Bits of this are honestly laugh out loud funny, particularly the dialogue between Misaki and Hawke, and bits of Hawke's internal conversations with herself.

There are truly creepy parts of the book - including when Hawke ends up in real danger as a result of trying to track down her missing neighbours. We get a good feeling of how a character apparently bland on the outside can slowly appear to be much more sinister and threatening, and none of this is written in an over-the-top way, simply as a description of Hawke's shenanigans.

This is a great, easy to read novel that I would recommend to anyone and if Malliet writes a further book involving Hawke I will definitely be reading it.

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Augusta Hawke is the first title in what will most likely become a series written by G. M. Malliet. Augusta is a widow living on the outskirts of Washington, D. C., the author of a well-established series of mystery novels set in Italy and financially independent due to the success of her writing. Augusta notices thigs. She certainly isn't a "village busybody" but she does pay attention to the neighbors living close around her, just doing so from afar. The beginning of this story gave me a decided "Rear Window" vibe, but the story soon takes off in a direction of its own. This novel is presented as a first-person narrative which requires a steady handed author to keep it from dissolving into a messy muddle. Having the location of Augusta's fiction novels set in Italy helped keep the information regarding fiction and real crimes firmly separated.

For me a first novel in a series or even a standalone book requires that I hand over control of my tendency to be critical until I've given the author a chance to sink or swim. So far I like the Augusta Hawke character even though I did get to the point of wishing she wasn't quite so chipper all the time. Maybe dial that back just a tad and I wouldn't cringe so often. The mystery is very well constructed, and I was genuinely surprised when the culprit was revealed. I'm looking forward to another Augusta Hawke, maybe next year.

Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House Publishing for an e-galley of this novel.

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Augusta Hawke is the introduction to a new series that left me wanting more. With its theme of someone sitting at a window watching the comings and goings of the neighbors, some readers may think of A.J. Finn's The Woman at the Window. If you're vintage like me, you might think of Alfred Hitchcock's classic Rear Window. At least Augusta is looking out the window while she's writing one of her books, and not being an idle curtain-twitching busybody.

Since the death of her husband, Augusta has, for the most part, shut herself away in her suburban Washington, DC townhouse. Her life revolves around writing her long-running police procedural set in the south of France and those vignettes she sees of her neighbors' lives. Once the police start investigating the disappearance of Mr. and Mrs. Norman, Augusta's writing radar begins to ping. There could be a bestseller in this! What's fun is watching how her investigation begins to pull her back into the real world with face-to-face interactions with real people.

Although I did deduce what was going on, it didn't bother me a bit because Augusta had a stranglehold on me. Malliet really made me like the woman. I was sad that she'd shut herself away and then happy when she began getting out and investigating. In no time at all, I found myself caring about what happened to her.

The story, the main character, and the wit are first-rate, and another facet of the book that I loved was the inclusion of all the insider information on the publishing world and the Washington, DC area. One of Augusta's comments that mentioned James Patterson had me crowing with laughter, so not only does she make me care about her, but she also makes me laugh. You can't beat a combination like that.

Now that I've met Augusta Hawke and want to invite her over for coffee, there's only one thing left to do: wait months for her next adventure. It will be worth the wait, I'm sure.

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