Sunday, April 4, 2010

It Had to Be You by Jill Churchill

Book Details
It Had to Be You by Jill Churchill
Paperback, 256 pages
2005, Avon
ISBN: 0060528443
Series: Book 5 in the Grace & Favor Mystery series

The plucky siblings Robert and Lily may live in Grace & Favor Cottage, on the Hudson, in 1933, but they must work to keep it. A local woman has turned her own home into a nursing home, and both Robert and Lily are hired to replace a sick nurse. When a difficult and crabby inmate is murdered only days from his expected natural death, the siblings join forces with the local police to try to solve the case.

It Had to Be You is a charming cozy mystery set in the 1930's, back when mysteries weren't hampered by modern technology and forensics. The Grace & Favor series reminds me of Agatha Christie's mysteries that featured Tommy & Tuppence. Both contain a male/female amateur detecting team operating in approximately the same time period. Jill Churchill captures the feel of the 30's well, especially having her main characters suffering a great financial loss from the stock market crash of 1929. In It Had to Be You, FDR's presidential inauguration and the repeal of prohibition are experienced, lending authenticity to the atmosphere.

The mystery in It Had to Be You was who killed a gravely ill man, but the much more important question was why would someone even bother killing this man when he was going to die naturally in a matter of days or even hours. The killer is found and proves to be a surprise, but the question as to why kill him at all isn't really answered even though many characters brought the point up at different times in the book. It's a baffling question and the novel feels incomplete without a solid explanation.

It Had to Be You is a short and sweet mystery that isn't particularly gripping. The story flows along nicely, but there wasn't anything happening that would entice the reader to continue. If put down, I doubt anyone would be anxious about getting back to it.


Jill Churchill's website


  1. I'm guessing this might not be my kind of book. Thanks for the honest review though :D

  2. Sounds like it might be fun. I have to admit though, the that the cover doesn't seem to reflect the sort of story you are saying that the book is... what did you think?

  3. 'Charming oozy mystery' sounds nice. Besides,I love the cute cover :)

  4. Never heard of it, but I like the cover!

  5. Thank you for the honest review. I need to check this one out from the library.