Category Archives: Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. Murder at the Holiday Flotilla. Greensboro, NC: Magnolia Mysteries, 2010.

Both Ashley and Melanie are filled with happiness as this latest novel in the Murder in Wilmington Series opens.  Melanie is about to become the president of the North Carolina Association of Realtors, a post that she has long desired.  Ashley is a new mother, with twin boys who delight her and Jon and their extended family–Melanie and her husband Cam, half-sister Scarlett, and Aunt Ruby and her husband Binkie.  Family is much on Ashley’s mind, and she is tickled to learn that her sons’ pediatrician, Amy Wood, may also be kin.

Dr. Wood lives on land across the river in Brunswick County that has been in the Wood family for generations.  Ashley hopes to explore her kinship connection–and family tales of hidden treasure–when she helps Dr. Wood restore the house on the property.  But when Ashley and Jon’s first visit to the house is interrupted by an ugly confrontation between Dr. Wood and a neighbor, the reader is alerted to the fact that something is up.  That something involves animal cruelty, land speculation, dirty politics, and old documents that point to the truth about those stories of hidden treasure.  Melanie’s professional goals are put in jeopardy when she is connected to two murders, but once again the sisters emerge relatively unscathed in this cheerful, history-rich mystery.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Brunswick, Coast, Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. Murder on the Cape Fear. Greensboro, NC: Magnolia Mysteries, 2007.

Since Ashley Wilkes works as an historic preservationist, it’s natural that stories from the past enter into Ashely’s present.  Ashley’s sister, Melanie, who is a high-end real estate agent, is more concerned with the present, although she knows the history of any house in the historic district that goes on the market.  Often their professional worlds collide and the sisters are forced to put their heads together to solve minor and not-so-minor crimes that occur in their beloved Wilmington.

This novel open with a bang.  The sister’s Aunt Ruby has recently married. Her new husband, retired history professor Benjamin (Binky) Higgins, is a respected researcher and writer on local history.  Binky has a new book out and the book signing at the Two Sister Bookery (an actual Wilmington bookstore) attracts a crowd. Only when the signing is over does Binky notice that his briefcase is missing.  Searching the store, Ashley finds the briefcase is a store room under the body of a man who has been stabbed.  That man is a wealthy Brit who was one of Melanie’s clients.  He had been looking to buy an historic house and Ashley hoped it would be the Captain Pettigrew house, a structure that Ashley and her partner Jon are restoring.

While the police investigate the murder, Binky has time to examine a journal that may be what the murderer was after.  Knowing that Binky has the journal, the murderer terrorizes Binky and Ruby.  Meanwhile Ashley and Melanie cope with a demanding client, suspicious police,  the structural–and other–surprises in the captain’s house, and Ashley’s soon-to-be-ex-husband, who wants one more chance.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Coast, Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. Murder at the Bellamy Mansion. Greensboro, NC: Magnolia Mysteries, 2009.

What woman wants her honeymoon cut short?!?  The Wilkes sister–Ashley and Melanie–both experience this unhappy turn of events.  Melanie’s husband, Cam, is called away from his seaboard honeymoon by the theatrics of his elderly mother, whose heart conveniently acts up just as he and Melanie are enjoying some marital bliss.  For Ashley and Jon the event that calls them back to Wilmington is far more serious.  Their company has been hired to restore the belvedere on the Bellamy Mansion.  When their general contractor is at the mansion assessing the condition of the windows on New Year’s Day, he is shot by a sniper.  He survives, but his shooting is just one of the crimes or controversies focused at the mansion.  Although Ashley has the contract to work on the mansion, Melanie becomes involved when a wealthy (and thoroughly unlikable) foreign client wants to purchase the mansion. Wait, the mansion is not for sale. Well, maybe it is.  It seems that liens relating to the mansion’s construction in the 1860s have just surfaced, and a local lawyer (who happens to be the estranged nephew of the assaulted contractor) is hellbent on collecting on that old debt.

As in the previous novels in this series, the friends and relatives of the sisters have their parts in the action.  Ashley’s ex-husband, homicide detective Nick Yost, and his partner are investigating the shooting (the fraught conversations between Ashley and Nick are possibly the best scenes in the book), and Aunt Ruby is roped into arranging the wedding of the sister’s newly-discovered half-sister, Scarlett.  Wilmington itself is a character, and a nice mix of Wilmington history and more recent economic and social issues figure in the plot.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coast, Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. Murder at Wrightsville Beach. Greensboro, NC: Magnolia Mysteries, 2005.

It’s mid-August, so Ashley Wilkes succumbs to the lure of the beach.  Sister Melanie has rented a large “cottage” (sleeps fourteen) at Wrightsville Beach. Ashley knows that she should stay in Wilmington and finish a 1920s house that she is restoring, but she needs a rest.  Rest is just what she doesn’t get.  Melanie’s rental is stocked to the roof with guests, including super-model Kelly Lauder.  On a visit to the local art gallery, Ashley, Melanie, and Kelly find the owner dead, and it’s off from there.  As Ashley fends off an unwanted suitor and begins to think that the killer may be after her, she worries about her husband Nick who has been hard to contact since he went on a special job for the CIA.

Hunter weaves in elements from other novels in the series, including Wilmington’s historic neighborhoods, sea turtle protection, and Ashley’s efforts to juggle her personal and professional responsibilities. Readers who enjoy these novels for the bits of area lore that they contain will be interested in the information on the use of German POWs on area farms during World War II.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2005, Coast, Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. Christmas Wedding. Greensboro, NC: Magnolia Mysteries, 2007.

Ashley and Melanie have each found true love, and they are ready to marry their beaus. Ultra-organized Melanie has arranged every detail of the Christmas-themed double wedding, but that will not stop things from spinning out of control as relatives start acting strangely, a Melanie-double is seen around town, and a bridesmaid reads impending disaster in the tarot cards.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Coast, Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. The Murder in Wilmington Series.

It should come as no surprise that old houses hold secrets, but readers need to be prepared for a mix of old crimes and new ones in this series featuring historic preservationist and old house restorer Ashley Wilkes.  Ashley and her sister Melanie are part of Wilmington’s social elite.  As such they attend seasonal events around town, from the Azalea Festival to the Cape Fear Crime Festival to the Olde Wilmington Candlelight Tour, and also many posh parties related to these events.  No matter how nice the event, murders have a way of happening when Ashley is present.  Each novel is a happy mix of fun and danger, featuring Ashley and the interesting characters in her family and circle of friends.   The books also contain a good dose of Wilmington history and lore, and many readers will recognize places and businesses mentioned in the novels.

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Filed under 2000-2009, Coast, Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series, Series